Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Happiness is a warm puppy, a pack of milk, even a photo opportunity.

The first time when I really thought about what happiness really meant was when I read a Charlie Brown strip in which he proclaimed, while Snoopy slept in his lap, "Happiness is a warm puppy."

Is it? I was once going through terrible, terrible blues in life. Not even Jimmy Page cheered me up -- Led Zep was great to have a couple of beers over, but not very peppy otherwise in life. I played tennis four morning a week and football with a bunch of real good players on Sunday evenings (possibly the best way to exercise and work out, for me) but it still left me wanting something at the end of the sessions. I used to trek every other week to the Sahyadris, sometime to beautiful destinations, but the feeling never left me. My blue moons lasted whole months.

Then I decided that I had to do something about it. So I started spending money on things. I started with furniture for the house thinking I would feel better coming home if I had a decent place to come to. I had the place so furnished that any bachelor would have puked at the sight of it -- I could have re-rented the flat to a married couple and they would not have needed to buy anything more. I then bought a new music system and loads of CDs. But, surprise, surprise! I still felt the same. I was still low.

One of those days, while I drove to work early in the morning, I passed a portion of road lined by huts on both sides. To my left I noticed a small grocery shop where a visibly poor, very poor at that, woman carried a child and paid for something she had just bought. That something happened to be a half litre packet of milk, which the woman's daughter -- she might have been no more than four or five years old -- ran across the road with. She had the expression of joy on her face which I had not felt in weeks. Happiness to her was not a warm puppy -- it was the daily packet of milk. The fact that something so mundane, so trivial that I could have bought thousands of those packets for the money I spent in my pursuit of happiness, knocked the wind out of me. Instead of going to the office I went to Monginis and thought about the child. I realized, for the first time in life, that it was possible to be happy over small thing. In fact, it must be possible to be happy about nothing at all. Yes, happiness could be a warm Cheshire cat! Since that day, I have noticed people happy over the smallest things and I have been happier.

One particular afternoon, I was walking around in Koregaon Park, trying to find subjects to photographs. I was in the process of framing a dilapidated motorbike resting against a wall when I heard giggling behind me. I turned and shot a picture of these kids without spending too much time in composing and setting the photo up. Despite its obvious flaws, this photo is very precious to me. It shows two kids happy about nothing.


Happiness is a stranger stopping to shoot your picture.

Hell, I need to write more about this thing, but I will have to defer that to a later time. I need to get back to work, I need to go running today (it's been ages since I did that) and I need to publish this post.

Cheers. Happiness is also a long run, work you enjoy, a lovely wife and a warm beer. :))

23 Comments:

At 5:46 AM, Anonymous charu said...

lovely post - "happiness is a warm puppy" - it is anything that brings a smile on your face as you see it or even think about it - it is in the small things in life - which we totally miss in pursuit of the 'larger' things
by the way, my first time at this blog

 
At 9:49 AM, Anonymous munna said...

the pics on my desktop

 
At 10:28 AM, Blogger Satya said...

you know man ... lookin at your last two posts one can't say it's the same guy writin it... finally an indian blog which dosent talk crap and crap... welcome to My dawg pound dude !!

 
At 7:31 PM, Blogger Mint Chutney said...

Wonderful post Anurag...and the picture caps it off perfectly.

 
At 8:45 PM, Blogger Anurag said...

Charu: Welcome to my blog. I remember you from Ryze. How are things? And you are absolutely right about missing the small things in life...

Munna: I'm flattered.

Satya: That's some compliment, dude. Thanks.

Mint C: Glad you like the pic.

 
At 10:15 PM, Blogger eM said...

Happiness is updated blogs :)
And excellent pic, btw.

 
At 11:15 PM, Blogger Arun said...

I believe in the statement "Happiness is a state of mind". And I think that's one of the points your post drives home.

Some of the things which make/have made me really happy were:
1. Walking aimlessly amidst a heavy downpour.
2. Watching the happiness on an old lady's when I offered her my seat in a bus(this was 2 yrs back but I can never forget the expression on her face).
3. Bumping into a long-lost friend at the most unexpected place.

I could go on like this with lotsa other instances/situations I guess..
Btw, its a wonderful post and one that all of us can relate with..:-)

 
At 11:59 PM, Blogger Words Worth said...

very impressive blog. sigh!

 
At 2:20 AM, Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

Hey, lovely pic. Why not run over to Bombay sometime and let's share pix of kids? (Happy kids). I have one that yours reminds me of so much, I'm almost certain some of my kids are in yours! You think they moved from here to Pune and stopped growing for, oh, about 8 years?

 
At 2:38 AM, Blogger Senthil said...

Bloody good post... and an excellent pic, too. I'm getting repetitive, eh? Can't help it.
And I noticed your new face on the blog... couldn't be more apt. ;)

 
At 5:23 AM, Blogger Anurag said...

eM: Thanks. :))

Arun: I just wrote what I felt. I'm glad others think the same way too.

Words worth: I like your name. :)

Dilip: You into photography too? You must drop me a line if you are ever in Pune. Actually, one of the things I have been thinking of for a long time and which I should do soon is to go to an orphanage and take pictures of kids. Just spend the time with them, have them choose who they want to have their pics take with and the like.

Senthil: You are just saying that because I paid for your lunch. Or was it the other way round? :)) Snoopy rocks, BTW.

 
At 8:27 AM, Blogger Chicken Little said...

Thanks for the reminder :)

 
At 2:07 PM, Blogger GettingThere said...

Happiness is going to a preliminary interview and being called for the final interview the very next day :D:D:D

 
At 10:02 PM, Blogger Anurag said...

Addict: Yeah, I tend to keep forgetting this myself. :)

Gettingthere: Congratulations and all the best.

 
At 12:39 AM, Blogger Tan said...

Yeah, happiness is surely a warm puppy... Btw, how about getting one?

A warm, fuzzy bundle of love...with it's wet nose and small paws... Awwww...They're so adorable!

 
At 3:19 AM, Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

Anurag, I love photography. I have at least four cameras, much gear, did it a lot some years ago, and have quite a collection of photos I'm proud of. Very disorganized. But I do it much less now, and primarily of the kids. Still, your idea (orphanage) sounds excellent. I would love to join up.

I will let you know if I'm in Pune.

 
At 4:15 AM, Blogger KM said...

gosh you just HAVE to smile when you see a lovely picture like that!

 
At 9:38 PM, Anonymous charu said...

after this, I had to find you on ryze - I did - and I have left a message for you there :)

 
At 3:36 AM, Blogger Vignesh said...

Im kinda right now, at the decorate the apartment stage.

I guess I will get there. Eventually.

Look for the pictures.

 
At 3:07 AM, Anonymous Shrik said...

A warm beer? Really? In this heat? Next you'll be liking fish and chips...

 
At 9:59 PM, Blogger Swathi said...

am going thro' the exact shade of blues mentioned in ur blog n watever i do i seem not to get over it, yes sometimes it jus takes a small incident to suddenly wake u up but i havent yet found my reason(to b happy i mean)

 
At 4:53 AM, Anonymous calvin said...

wonderful snap..

 
At 10:07 AM, Blogger Den said...

Hi, I was just surfing around and found your page!
Very cool,I didn't know you could find all this interesting stuff.
If you are interested, go see my small motorbike related site.
It isnt anything special but you might still find something of interest.

 

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