Rituparna Goswami Pande
The girl in the green lehenga is a common sight in our neighbourhood, hardly in her twenties that tall lanky girl is often found taking a stroll along the pavement near the park talking animatedly to herself. I have also found her surreptitiously climbing over the locked gates of the park and making a run for it. She is always lost in her own world, albeit a happy world. It’s her happy spirit that draws me towards her. For the world is full of unhappy souls, and when a happy face shows up its like a beacon
shedding light in the hearts of darkness.
The girl in the green lehenga, I don’t know her name and she seems to be homeless, perhaps an orphan for I haven’t seen anyone accompanying her. Where does she eat, where does she sleep, I often wonder. And when curiosity got the better of me I had to enquire about her from the lady who had a little shop near the park. “The mother daughter duo stay at the pavement of the Sukreshwar temple, didi,” stated the lady. I was relieved to know that she had a mother and was not all alone in this tough world where able bodied, well to do, educated people find it hard to find happiness…. here was this poor, unlettered, lonely girl making the best of what she had and redefining the concepts of happiness.
We all seek happiness in our careers, in our professions, in our relationships but it seems to elude us no matter how hard you want it. Is it a tragic flaw in our dispositions that we defy the thoughts, the emotions that trigger the happiness hormone, do we expect more from lives even more than what we are capable of.
People often go into depression in the pursuit of happiness. More so due to the habit of comparing our lives with that of others. And adding fuel to fire to this trend is the growing exposure to social media which has turned into a platform of announcing all our successes – be it a promotion or an overseas vacation.
An economically sound person is a happy person, says who? For I have come across many a person who may be called pauper in terms of worldly possessions but definitely princely in terms of spirit and happiness. And there is a lot to learn from such people who face hardships with a smile, deal with problems and find time to smile even in adverse situations.
Economic factors also largely define our happiness quotient. Even experts have reiterated the fact that happiness does increase with wealth. But then there are those who seem to have an unquenchable urge for wealth. Therefore the more they earn the more they want hence unhappiness despite amassing tons of wealth. So how to find that alluding happiness?
Studies state that the things that is of primary importance in our path to happiness is our mental and physical health. The recent shooting in El Paso, Texas where a lone gunmen opened fire at a Walmart store killing twenty two people and injuring twenty four others has been termed as the seventh deadliest in modern US history. Interestingly researches have proved that most mass shooters have a history of domestic violence. Most perpetrators were suffering from depression or were on drugs.
Mental health affects our well being more than we can realize. Simply by changing our habits and actions we can improve many things in our lives. When we are happy we are better equipped to tackle any kind of challenges that come our way. We are even in a position to ward of negative emotions that may arise in this competitive existence. Mentionably, there is a close relation between substance abuse and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Many turn to alcohol and drugs when they are unable to deal with the pressures of life and living.
The world definitely needs to learn from the people of Bhutan, one of the smallest countries in the world that supports a policy of “Gross National Happiness”. Gross National Happiness is a philosophy that guides the government of Bhutan. It includes an index which is used to measure the collective happiness and well being of a population. We all need to find our happiness index and it lies somewhere between too much and too little. It is not a commodity that we buy but it is a habit that we need to inculcate in our lives.