Diaries Magazine

Conditional Happiness

Posted on the 19 October 2020 by C. Suresh

You know, this happiness thing is really strange. Most things in life that you truly want, you are willing to bend over backwards to get them. Comes to happiness, though, it is funny how we seem to be so reluctant to invite the dratted thing in.

Like, yes, when you are a child, you are happy unless something actively makes you unhappy. Like a pain in the tummy, be it because of hunger or indigestion, or a mosquito bite or some such. I mean, you need an active cause for unhappiness to take you away from happiness.

The process of growing up - of 'maturing' as someone with a really nasty sense of humor named it - seems to primarily be a process of setting up a lot of conditions which have to be fulfilled before you will let happiness into your life. It starts at school where, in order to allow happiness a place in your life, you set the condition that your performance at school should meet the expectations of your parents and teachers. At that stage it is probably not you who are to blame for setting up the conditions. It is the adults around you who do and you, perforce, cannot be happy unless THEY are satisfied. Because they will ensure that what YOU consider legitimate reason for unhappiness will happen in your life as a consequence of not meeting THEIR expectations.

But, then, you have not matured yet. The process of maturity is where others do not need to give you a bad time. When you do it to yourself, end up giving yourself hell for not meeting those expectations...well, THEN you are mature. So, when happiness comes knocking, you say, "Till I buy a house of my own and have a car, I have no time for you."

Then you get the house and car and happiness comes over again and you say, "Ah! Well! What about my EMIs? I need to pay those off before I can let you in."

You pay them off and poor happiness comes again and knocks and you go, "Call THIS a house? A 2 BHK in THIS locality? Besides, the most I can do on a holiday is go to Manali. When I can afford to go to Switzerland..."

And so it goes.

It is not like you never get down to situations where you do not revert to the lower expectations of childhood. Break a bone and you feel, "If only I can get back to using this limb as usual, I'll be happy." Get gastroenteritis and spew noxious fluids from both ends and happiness seems only as far away as the day when your alimentary canal stops behaving like a leaky tap at both ends. And, once you are back in shape, poor happiness comes along and knocks timidly at the door and you snap, "What did I tell you? Don't bother me till I get my bungalow on Marine Drive!"

And, yet, ask anyone and he will claim that he wishes for happiness most ardently. After treating the poor thing like an unwanted relative who keeps popping up at the door-step to trouble you!

Till, finally, the time comes when your joints creak, your digestion gives way, your muscles never cease aching and you say, "If only I recover my health, I'll be happy."

Which is when Happiness completely gives up on you. For, this time, your wish can never come true.

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