Friday, August 14, 2015

Deconstructing Happiness and What Happens When Happiness Happens

I cannot tolerate happiness. Really. A moderate life with no major ups and downs is my concept of happiness. Let me deconstruct a situation that happened yesterday.

I went to my bank for some work (bank work!) yesterday. You know how banks (my banks) are at 9 in the morning. They are packed, people are waiting, typically the bank employees are not in the mood and for special requests like mine - it normally requires a visit and a half and a wait of an hour. My previous experience points to that.

But yesterday all my angels were in attendance. I entered the bank and found almost no one there - customers were on holiday it looked like. My merry heart sank - that means bank employees would be goofing off too right? I walked into the empty area that led to this particular counter. The lady there smiled at me and reached out for my book. It was like a dream. A fantasy really, comparable to those early morning ones when such wonderful things happen like these beautiful women reaching out to you etc. Normally it would have been an empty counter, a 'closed' board. I gave my book to her and she quickly did what was necessary. I then asked my dreaded question - needed a small print out (normally a huge favor done only if you are closely related to the bank employees). Could she do it? Another angelic smile. Just a moment, could you wait she said. She pointed at the empty chairs. Please be seated. Now I was convinced I was in heaven. The steel chair felt soft as cotton. I must wake up soon. I was losing touch with reality, unhinging.

When she finally gave me what I wanted and in double quick time, I was floating. Fully unhinged. Have I recovered my god-like status that I lost in my childhood? I smiled gratefully at her. She smiled back. I started back before something could go wrong. It was exactly ten minutes since I stepped in. Nothing happened. I went out, sat in the car and quickly went home before things changed.

When do I wake up? Why had my life become so perfect?

And then I realised it.

My glasses, which cost me a fortune, were missing. I searched. Then after a couple of moments remembered putting them on the counter in my happiness. Sometimes I do stuff like that when I am happy. I really test my happiness.

See, my mind said. You cannot handle happiness. Why do you even ask for it? For that one moment of happiness see what you have done. You have gone and lost your expensive glasses. Imagine if you get more happiness. Like a lottery or something. I can't imagine what you would do then. It admonished me.

I could not help but agree. All my experience and training had shown me that my mind was speaking sense. I could go back now to the bank. I know I will find a huge crowd there. But the glasses would be gone. A huge price for my happiness. (Sh would not smile anymore!)

For a change I told my over-critical, sarcastic and cynical mind that perhaps I might find the glasses yet. It smirked. I held my ground, weakly. The drive to the bank was another 15 minutes (that was enough punishment along with my mind's supercilious attitude). I walked in, bracing myself for the queues, bad tempers. I approached the counter which now had two other people waiting. The moment of truth. I saw the place where I had kept it. Empty. My heart sank.

Then my sad eye caught the eye of the girl at the counter. She saw me, held up the case. My heart flew again. She smiled. I smiled.

Maybe my life is changing. Maybe I can make peace with some happiness still.


Rajendra said...

through the looking glasses?

Harimohan said...

Yes Raja. And the world went fuzzy for a while!