The greatest pleasures of life are experienced in the smallest of things

I walked along the Churchgate seaface, pondering. The greatest pleasures of life are experienced in the smallest of things.

Do we really experience greater happiness over the smaller things?

Will I feel happier while sniffing the pages of a new book than while, say, giving birth to my firstborn?

Will eating a second helping of ice cream give me more joy than being awarded the Booker or the Pulitzer?

I don’t even know whether I am capable of winning an award half as prestigious as the Booker.  I am not very sure that I will ever write a complete 300-page book.  But why should I let that stop me being happy right now?

Why can’t I enjoy the cool breeze that smells of the sea and blows my hair all over the place? Or the way sunshine strokes my arm and takes away the cold bite of the wind?

Maybe some great achievement will make me feel better than looking at the waves as they chase the sea-foam to the shore. But the elation I will feel then is well, then. It is something that shall occur way into the future, if it does occur. I don’t want to be the person who waits to be happy. I don’t want to wait for miracles to happen. It is not every day that Buddha gets enlightenment or you get a letter from a school of magic and witchcraft.

Waiting for something to happen is wasting the time you have to make it happen.  Or if that is beyond you, then why not be content with what you have?

Life is a miracle in itself. It’s wonderful and filled with many great things that are tiny in size. A good hair day can make my day. Getting a seat in the crowded train makes me insanely happy. So does watching a child laugh with glee or a person with curly hair run his hand through it.

But that does not mean that I don’t wish to top my class or get published or win the lottery. Happiness is many things but it has its various kinds too. The happiness experienced by a mother when her child takes his first step is different from the way I feel every time I get a delivery from amazon.com.

It will be unfair to compare both.  The happiness every Indian felt today after India won the cricket match against Pakistan is more like exuberance. Curling up in a blanket and watching a romantic comedy on a cold, wintry day is a type of contentment. It is the feeling that life is good and not ‘Oh My God! Life is supermegafoxyawesomehot!’.

Contentment has an element of constancy about it, does it not? Events that you want to yell about from the rooftop happen finite times in a lifetime.  They happen, make you feel immensely happy, create some fond memories and then fade from the mind bit by bit.  The probability of them reoccurring is low. On the other hand, I can cuddle with my dog every day, whenever I want. Even if I do forget the feeling of her silky fur on my hands, I can always refresh my memory but snuggling up with her.

Moreover, all these great joys are made up of tiny fragments of all the wonderful little things. My mum says that the day I (and the day my sister…but let’s talk about me) was born was the best day of her life. But the happiness she felt because of my entrance into this world was spread over all these moments like when I opened my eyes for the first time or my first smile or my first word.  She has recorded all these moments in a diary. The happiness my sister and I have given her is made up of all these moments.

Life is not made up of scattered events that are a big deal. I think it is little things that actually make up life. Playing in the rain, the bittersweet taste of coffee, the spiciness of a paani-puri followed by the sweetness of sugarcane juice. The feels we in a bookstore or the happiness we get after a really good bargain.

They make up life.

 

***

This was my entry for a writing competition called ThoughtCast. I didn’t win but that’s okay. I can always put up my entry on my blog.

What do you think? Can smaller things really give greater joy? Or is it the milestones that make us happy?

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Things that make me happy 1: Amazon deliveries

Fifteen minutes ago, my doorbell rang. I opened the door and there stood the courier guy with a bigass box.

I paid him and danced around hugging my box.

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Then I got a pair of scissors and cut of the tapes to get my hands on the treasures that lay inside.

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YES!!! MY GAME OF THRONES BOOKS, MY DRAGONS HAVE ARRIVED!!!

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This is just the half of my order. Two books will be delivered by tomorrow.

A Dance with Dragons which is missing from the stack and Let it Snow.

I already own A Clash of Kings.

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The books were delivered with these weird smelling air pillows.

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My sister loves them but I wish it was bubblewrap instead. Popping bubblewrap is one of the most fun things anyone can do. It’s a big mystery why.

I wish I could start reading A Storm of Swords: Part 1 immediately.

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But I will have to wait for a week. Damn these exams! 

It’s just a week. Just a week. Breathe Mia. Breathe.

Meanwhile I’ll just bury my nose in each of these and breathe the amazing new book smell. It’s a ritual for me anyway. I sniffed The Fault in our Stars for two whole days before I read it.

Is that weird?

I love it!

Do you?

What would you think …

…if I told you it’s night and  I am sitting in the living room Indian style.  I’m sitting on the floor all alone and  facing the sofa. My back is resting against the wall unit. On my lap, there is a pair of jeans and a dress bought just tonight. To my left is my savings box and to my right is a water bottle about a quarter filled. I have my earphones on and I’m listening to Pavarotti in Italian. I’m also writing a blog post and yawning occasionally.

I couldn’t have been any happier.

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