Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
I loved singing this song in middle school. Our teacher, Mrs. D’Souza had created a magical world for us in her singing period. Now that I think of it, it probably was because she took song requests. Every class she would ask us which song we wanted to sing, more often than not, she would try to cover everyone’s requests. We practically had a school authorized karaoke every week. For 9th and 10th graders living under the pressure of ICSE boards, these definitely were some of the happy memories. Everyone in class always had a smile on their face and a sparkle in their eye.
For a small period, after school got over, things were not so happy for me. There was a change in the environment and my company. I took up a personality development course and there I learned:
Just like we do not give our house key to everyone, we cannot give our key to happiness to anyone. As my key stays with me, it is my responsibility to make me happy. I must find small-small sources of happiness around me.
They asked me to make a list of things that made me happy. That is when I remembered the song from school. The first item on my list was dew drops on flowers and grass in the morning. I definitely got out of that semi-dark phase of life with this list. I would go cycling, eat my favorite chocolate or close the room and start dancing to Bollywood numbers. Though this happiness was short-lived, it did give me a boost of dopamine and serotonin.
It is almost like eating appetizers at a fancy restaurant. The portions are small, as their job is to be a smaller version of the meal. Small bites of happiness. They were actually designed so that we can experience them while having the ability to try new things. This actually helps me get multiple sources to make me happy. My father loves the plants at home, and he will take a picture of every flower that blooms, because every time he looks at it, he becomes happy. It is something so simple and regular yet so gratifying.
In the last few months, we have all had a scavenger hunt for happiness. The definition of so many things changed. I started settling for smaller and smaller portions of happiness. After a few months into being at home all day, all week, all month, I think I forgot about my small bites of happiness. I stopped making that list, I stopped doing things that made me happy. I cannot blame myself or anyone around me for it, it was just the situation we were in. In case something came my way, I would cherish the moment and enjoy the happiness, but I did not make an effort to be happy.
A couple of days back, I had to travel to Mumbai for some important work. Fortunately, I had a few hours to spare and catch up with a few friends from college. To ensure everyone’s safety, we decided to visit a remote part of Juhu Beach before peak hours. We had no intention of going into the water and ending up sitting on the sand, staring at the golden orange hues of the sun setting into the ocean. It was all very peaceful until we broke into a sand fight. I think I became too comfortable in the sand and announced – We are making a sandcastle!
A little backstory you must know, I was a sand baby! I remember as a little girl, I had a full set of toys that helped me make the most beautiful and magnificent of sandcastles ever! Every time my parents took me to the beach, I would spend all my time building the tallest sand structure insight. I knew there was a good chance the castle would not be there when I returned the next day, but adding the final touch – the flag on the tallest tower of my castle would fill my heart with happiness and content!
Coming back to Juhu beach, we did not have any fancy toys to make the sandcastle. My friends and I started using our hands. Honestly, we were just building some average looking mountains in the name of castles. Right there, at that moment, completely covered in sand particles and one hand submerged under a huge sand mountain, in that chaos, I felt a sense of calm and happiness. I got my sandy bite of happiness.
As soon as I got back, I starting making my list of small bites of happiness for myself. I started dancing, I started making crafts, I started writing blogs, I went on spontaneous drives and got myself some ice cream. I found extreme happiness in nature and started going to Puneri Tekdis every week.
While I was enjoying my small packets of happiness, a new chain of thoughts emerged to me. What about the things that give me tremendous happiness but aren’t small?
Originally Published at The Enterprise India Fellowship on 5th January, 2021