In the journey of our life, we often feel lonely and empty. As if no one can ever understand our perennial battles. We look at the cheerful faces of others and assume what blessed lives they are leading. And then, in this world of relativity, we easily forget our share of joys and amplify our worries. Our grief appears like a lone black mountain in stark contrast to their happiness which appears like lush green meadows adorned with colourful flowers and sparkling streams.
But how wrong are we in thinking this way! The surface of the ocean never reveals what’s hidden in its depths.
My last post was an eye-opener to me in many ways. When I received the numerous comments about how so many of you have gone through such horrifying situations, it shook me. True, I had been healed from my agonising memories; but everytime I read your story, my heart sank and I became numb again.
The situation out there is much worse than I had ever imagined. I wasn’t the only sufferer, almost every other child had to endure the pain secretly, too. All these years, I kept drowning in self-pity… If only I could have extended my loving hand to someone else, that would have helped me rise above it.
The pouring responses to the post gave me a mixed feeling: While I felt happy that the message was very well received, generated much awareness and helped many shed the hurt they had been carrying for years, I also felt bad for evoking so many turbulent memories that had been pushed into oblivion and for the tears that flowed afterwords.
How much I wish I could take away your pain, erase those memories and lighten you up.
And it got me thinking, what could I do to bring smiles to your beautiful faces. We are all unique, growing under different circumstances in different locations; yet so similar at the core easily relating to each other’s joys and sorrows. So, I traversed down my memory lanes, carefully searching every nook and corner to pick the top three little joys that I hope would strike a chord with your hearts.
Remember those childhood days when you discovered a litter near your home in the most secluded corner? And then it became your go-to place, to watch those tiny furballs crawl, suckle and play.
How could our magnanimous hearts be content watching them roll in dirt and mud, surviving only on momma’s milk? ‘We must intervene for giving the puppies a good comfortable life’ — thus came the unanimous decision amongst us (ever-fighting siblings), followed by laborious construction work. Bricks, wooden planks, old clothes, blankets and bowls were collected in no time to create the plushest home for the puppies.
Ah! and then the joy of lifting those soft breathing masses diligently when mommy wasn’t around and putting them inside their new home. Sometimes when the mother came back during our game with those puppies, she would simply lie down calmly, keeping her vigil from a distance. As if she understood that the intentions in our little hearts were all for the good of her children and that the puppies too enjoyed our care and attention.
As I write this, three cute puppies (one black and white, one jet black with brown ears and leg, and the other, wheatish brown) are squealing and somersaulting on their parents in the field next to my home. I am glued watching them, my heart dances with joy as they jump on each other. I feel their ecstasy; life without a worry, safe in the lap of their mother, playing in the gentle autumn sun and cool wind.
Can I do anything today to make them more comfortable? Perhaps not, and I don’t even wish to. Nature has given them the best and I am most happy observing them rejoice in themselves.
I have nothing more to offer, but they have been gifting me something most valuable since the past few days — an inexplicable happiness devoid of any give and take, and I am most thankful for this precious opportunity of getting to watch them.
Vacations and villages 🏡
As a kid, I would look forward to the summer vacations with great excitement. We would spend the month at my maternal grandmother’s village, which meant no studies and unlimited fun in the fields, ponds and orchards. The village folks, with their gentle, loving hearts and simple lifestyles would make me feel one of their own in no time.
Even when I went to a villager’s house for the first time, they would serve me so generously with their homemade delicacies that I would be amazed. There was no calculation, no hesitation (as is the case with most educated urban folks); just the pure intention of giving from their limited resources made them immensely rich humans in my eyes.
I loved spending more time outdoors and at others’ homes than my own place. The mangoes, berries and guavas plucked from the trees tasted heavenly, the swings grandpa put up on huge trees delighted me more than the best rides in the city parks, splashing in the ponds and rivers was much more adventurous and thrilling than any waterpark. And all of those came absolutely free of cost and without any restrictions.
I preserve those precious little joys in my heart with great care. A great reminder for me that money can’t buy happiness and freedom; rather a simple life with basic amenities can be much more fulfilling than a lavish, overworked, rushed life.
Balloons and fairs 🎈🎆🎈
Hailing from the silver city of Cuttack famous for Baliyatra (literally meaning sand-fair, it’s a huge fair held on the banks of river Mahanadi annually), I have enjoyed going to fairs even before my earliest memories. I often visualise my parents carrying me as a baby on their shoulders when I was about a year old, and perhaps that was when the sight of big colourful balloons caught my fascination for the first time.
Thereafter, it became a ritual for me. Whenever I went to any mela, it wasn’t the food or rides that excited me; rather it was the prospect of buying balloons. Once money and the balloon had exchanged hands, I would be on high guard every moment in order to give it the maximum possible lifespan. I wouldn’t let my siblings or cousins come anywhere close because of their destructive intentions.
Even three decades later, my love for balloons continues undiminished. Not the small birthday balloons that you pump up at home, but the big pretty round ones that vendors sell at fairs and busy streets. Their sight evokes a surreal joy in me. My heart feels light as the balloons and starts soaring freely, higher and higher into the unseen realms of happiness.
Today, I would love to gift you something — a virtual balloon, one in your favourite colour, inflated personally with love, light and peace. Hope it succeeds in forging a bright smile on your face, a flutter in your heart and lifts your spirit high up in the air.
Don’t you concur that we all are blessed with many such little joys that make our lives beautiful? The very thought and memories of which transport us to another world, where we happily lose ourselves. Let’s cherish them, be grateful, and wade through the ocean of life gracefully.
So, what’s that precious little joy you are reminiscing right now? Wanna share with me?