Many Hues of Happiness | The Daily Star
12:04 AM, June 14, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:35 PM, June 13, 2013


Many Hues of Happiness

Happiness in its elemental term is a state of mind. There are no constraints in such a state. When happiness descends a sense of ease and well-being envelops the mind and the body - Ah! The taste of life is so sweet!

Happiness can come from little things but in great measures. There is a gentleman who shuttles between Dallas and Dhaka once every three months. His wife and two sons are settled in Dallas. I asked him how his wife finds happiness when he is always set to take the flight. He reminds me of his other interest his daily singing lessons be it in Dhaka or Dallas. In Dallas when he sits down with his harmonium and his book of songs to practice singing lessons first thing in the morning after breakfast, his wife arrives with two cups of hot tea and sits down beside him. She listens to his songs looking up at him with loving eyes. He tells me that this is their rendezvous with happiness in the life they share. The bond is still fresh like the morning tea.

It is a general perception that happiness takes two, spouses, a girl friend or a boyfriend for happiness to befriend. As a matter of convenience it is a fact, not a rule. Samuel Beckett the Nobel laureate advised, "Read the best book, keep the best company but learn to be happy alone". Interesting! One of my elderly friends who served in newspaper industry shared one of his memorable experiences. There was one C.R. Mitter the Get-a-Word manager of the then English daily Morning News. He was a confirmed bachelor and was always impeccably dressed being fastidious in his taste. Mitter loved to watch English films that were regularly shown in a chic theatre called Naz. My elderly friend was sent to collect two tickets, in the farthest corner of the last row so that he could be by himself! The gentleman always carried crisp currency notes. His breakfast consisted of a cup of tea till it was time for lunch which would arrive from Kasbah, a prestigious eating house. Whenever it was time for lunch and he happened to meet my elderly friend he gave him a crisp five Rupee note to take something good.  He happily enjoyed his ways of life without the aid of a companion.

perceptionPresident Abraham Lincoln is known to always sport a melancholy look; he was in the midst of the stressful time of American Civil War. Duty took its toll, he aged early, yet he received his dollops of happiness in the company of his four boys. He was very fond of children and the White House was not a dull house with formalities. He lwas fond of reading and loved to read to his boys who would sit around him. There is a famous photograph of Lincoln reading from a book with Willie his third favourite son seated on the chair and the eldest Robert standing nearby and Mama Mary also there. Lincoln was informal from the beginning. When he was working as a store clerk he used to fold his long legs and lie down on the counter reading books. He kept his casual habit in the White House too. That happiness was Lincoln's time.

I raised two dogs Lucky and Blackie. The latter was with us for nine years. A bond developed with me, her keeper. My happiness with Blackie is a fond episode for me. I would hold the ball and throw it commanding 'Fetch'. She would sprint towards it and bring it for me. I would say 'stand' and she would stand on her hind legs. When I relaxed on the terrace she would stay beside me spreading her fore legs forward. I am grateful to Blackie for the happiness she gave me.

In his book The Conquest of Happiness Bertrand Russell has made exploratory analysis of happiness. His way is to face the facts, fight the fears, and to repress thoughts of sin and to believe that life, in spite of all the trials, is still livable.

In her saintly eminence Mother Teresa has spoken of tutoring the mind in such a way that — it does not get burdened and to enable it to find happiness as a natural endowment. Mother Teresa spoke:

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centred;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway. …
— Mother Teresa

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