The hoax of happiness

There’s this John Lennon quote (misquoted probably) about how his goal in life was to be happy. Some of my friends, although unknown of The Beatles, also reply the same when I ask them. I understand that the ultimate goal of most of the humans would be to be happy. But sorry, it’s bullshit.

Firstly, what is happiness? How do you know you are happy? When people say ‘I’m happy’,  I have an irresistible desire to punch them in the face. Happiness is a final state, not something that can be achieved by twenty-somethings cofounding a startup.

There is this school of thought which associates madness to happiness. To these retarded creatures, do you feel ‘happy’ posting crazy pics on Instagram? Sure spontaneity is joyous but is that permanent? Some optimists also have this quixotic dream of having a house in the hills or on the beach later in life. Please enlighten how that makes you happy, I’ll invest in Himachal right away. I am saying this despite being one of the most ardent fans of nature. And there is also a large chunk of people associating happiness with inactivity, or in modern times, ‘chill’.

I think we have been following the wrong ideal. The discourse in our generation has been mostly about romanticising happiness and degrading pleasure/joy. Pleasure is associated with everything primal, and happiness, with everything spiritual. I was always baffled what to answer when someone asked if I were happy. Umm, all the people I love are safe and I am in a good health, I should be happy. But happiness is a permanent state. And I am in a transient relationship with life, at least in these formative years. I do feel joyous though. When I resumed cooking after coming to Europe, I felt joy. When I travel and see new places, I feel joy. When I get a terrific insight or hit an ace, I feel joy. It is these and more moments of joy that I am striving for. And it pains me that these are dismissed as ephemerals.

No one can be permanently happy (except by spiritual enlightenment may be).  People who love their jobs also love only a part of it, and the other part they endure, painfully or otherwise. It’s probably better to give up the much famed Pursuit of Happiness and instead look for the joys.

P.S. This article helped me in articulating my thoughts better.

Nishad is a member of LSD and likes to frequently bore people with deep philosophical musings.

The Thief

On the hot and dreary summer nights, as Amma slept after a hard day’s work, I would sneak out to the backyard and look at the stars. It was the only time I felt alive; as if the chains that bound me throughout the days dissolved away to let me live, truly and freely, for a few hours of solitude. Nighttime meant peace and a well-deserved break from the heat and the hardship of daily chores. Continue reading →

Some wounds refuse to heal

The vast fields look over the stretch of mountains that mingle with the horizon like it’s an everyday affair. The river cutting through the fields so seamlessly as if it’s part of an artist’s imagination.

The sunlight falls on the porch, neither too hot, nor too soft, just right. The soothing wind just makes the heat right.

A cowboy sits in the chair with his hat resting on his face. All dressed up in his attire, a cigarette lit in his left hand and a old crass book, unrecognizable at first, in his right.

This soothing weather doesn’t amuse him anymore, he’s been living in these lands all his life, inheriting it from his late uncle who was the former Sherrif of the county.

The thoughts of her come and go and disturb his peace. He takes a puff, a deep puff and holds it in for as long as possible. All kinds of pain feel like an escape now, he resorts to pain when the thoughts become overbearing.

Hers used to be a happy memory, she used to be a beautiful instance in his life, he had watched her grow from a cheerful chubby little girl to the tall and graceful woman she was now. There’s was a story that used to be discussed in every household, “How good they look together” used to be on everyone’s lips.
So good, so very good, but not all good things last, not all stories see completion.

“I should’ve been fucking careful”, he mumbles as he tries to forcibly read his book. Futile in his effort, he starts thinking again about that strange day, strange in so many ways.

To find your love, being forced by someone, that strange. To shoot her mistakenly in the heat of the moment, that strange. To run away and not get caught of a crime he wanted to get convicted for, that strange. To not being able to find the man who stole the life from his love, that strange.

He couldn’t find solace past that, he attended the funeral, he talked to the police with a solemn face, in grief. He did everything a lovelorn man is supposed to do.
But, he didn’t cry. He couldn’t, he wanted to, but the shock of the moment had pushed the tears back in his eyes.
Eyes, eyes that had seldom slept after that, that always were looking for that face, that memory of the man who had shattered his life.

Every day, he repeated the whole thing in his mind, to keep the memory fresh, to keep the diluted face from washing away even more. The fear of coming across the man and not recognizing him sent a chill down his spine. It would be a betrayal to his love..

Was it love anymore? His days were spent looking for him, his nights, thinking about him, his heart was consumed by the hatred, hatred of that day, of that moment, of himself..

Maybe this was how he was supposed to live now, alone and in remembrance of her, of the promises, promises of staying together, of colluding in the dreams and ambitions of each other, of making each day better than the last….

There are pretty love stories, there are sweet cuddly moments, there is the loss of the loved ones, there is the remorse of losing them, love, it can endure all that, but isn’t hate another manifestation of love itself? Hate is not the opposite of love, apathy is. Sometimes, when love is snatched away from a person, it leaves a deep scar and the wound refuses to heal, it becomes septic, so septic that only hate can survive there.

Love in the Time of Dengue

Priya ambled lazily across the wall towards the window. She’d always peep outside, but I thought she’d never leave. I had made my peace with this intruder to some extent. The vicious attacks with bug spray and a broom that just made her circumnavigate the room had been replaced with a weary tolerance.

The first time I saw Priya was during my first week at IIM-A. Plagued by homesickness and exhaustion, the presence of this lizard in my room drove me crazy. (I wanted to say ‘drove me up the wall’ but that’s where she was). I’d frequently shoo her out, but she’d always find her way back in.

I eventually had to choose between the little breeze Ahmedabad had to offer in July and this houseguest. Professor Pingali’s indifference curves with one desired and one undesired product made sense. The need for ventilation won out, and Priya set up residence in my room.

I developed my coping mechanisms- a quick scan of the room every time I walked in to locate her, avoiding the windows at night since that’s where she liked to take naps, and sleeping with one eye open and a broom next to me every time she wandered around my bed. Priya, on the other hand, treated my room like a childhood home, traversing every nook and cranny with a feeling of nostalgia and a sense of belonging.

This dysfunctional relationship continued till the monsoons arrived. The patch of trees behind my dorm turned into a little lake, mosquito nets in S-Mart went on sale, and the emails on malaria and dengue started pouring in. Priya. This meandering of a bored imagination, however, was true, and one day Rahul and Priya were nowhere to be found. They slithered off into the sunset I assume after Rahul wooed Priya with the tales of the feasts to be found in the waterlogged IIM campus.

Though I was happy to see Priya go, I could imagine her smiling sadistically at me when symptoms of malaria presented themselves. I’d like to think she is happy with Rahul, eating bugs and possibly starting a family. Just not in my room, though, I can’t stand the little lizards.

Sneha is a member of LSD. 



A different kind of heaven on Earth

Iceland is not a big country. It is about 500 km wide coast to coast and harbors a population downwards of 350,000. It is not a world power or a major influencer of global geopolitics. But the beauty of Iceland is not in its size or inhabitancy or clout; it lies in sheer natural landscape and terrain.


The never -ending road

A car and a road is the way to explore the island. Public transportation is minimal and the infrastructure is built for vehicles to ply on empty, smooth roads at high speeds though the law limits the speed to 90 km/hr. Straight paths covered with tar stretch for scores of kilometers without obstruction, occasionally ornamented by narrow bridges over shallow streams. When in the city, roundabouts ensure that one possibly cannot accelerate to one’s heart’s content, and for good measure. Wind speeds easily touching 35 km/hr make cars drift. The danger of doors getting blown away is real. Dense fogs reduce visibility to a few meters. It is a norm to drive with your headlights on. Halting without blinking parking lights is a sin. In the outskirts, the darkness makes the driver grateful for the one vehicle in front of him that he can follow. Continue reading →