Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The hiatus between happiness and success

In the past, there's always been some event that has kindled the spirit in me to write my next blog post. As it turns out to be, there is one behind this one  too. The topic in question here is something that I've long debated in my mind - Happiness vs Success. Before diving into it, let me tell you what made me write this post - it was an incident that happened yesterday while I was travelling in a bus.

After spending some overjoyed moments at hostel as I had got the output verified in my Computer Networks lab examination, I set out for home for the 'study' holidays, a week's vacation that the University generously gives all the students to have fun before exam (I'd call it for koothu adichifying). I boarded the bus to Trichy from my college with Anurag Mathur, a friend of mine. Aboard and almost immediately, I heard a bunch of people were singing something in chorus. I could barely understand the lyrics of what they were singing, but I could definitely figure out that it was a Telugu song, a folk song to be precise. As I made my way through the crowd in the bus, struggling with my backpack and the stroller bag in my hand, I handed out the money to Mathur and made a gesture to get the tickets for both of us as I was extremely curious to see those people who were singing. Mathur got a place to sit, while I stood for almost the whole journey. They were a bunch of daily wage earners who were speaking Telugu, probably migrated to Thanjavur to earn a livelihood. They had occupied three continuous rows in the bus, around six of them, mostly women. There were three kids, a boy and two girls respectively, and all seemed to be around 7-10 years of age. The kids played the songs on a mobile phone and switched between songs, and all of them, including the adults were singing along. Some time later along the hour and a half journey, they switched over to Tamil film songs and the kids were still singing, while their parents had no clue about those songs. I took keen interest in noticing a girl among the kids who was translating each and every line of the lyrics of the song into Telugu and explained to her mother, who probably did not understand Tamil. I realized that the laborers might have come down to Tamil Nadu and maybe the kids were born here, that made the kids understand and speak Tamil fluently. Almost everyone in the bus was watching them sing, and all those laborers, along with their kids, neither felt embarrassed  no cared to notice that everyone was looking at them. Rather, they just gave vent to their feelings from their heart.

Just another scene while travelling in a bus, you might think. To me, this incident made an everlasting impact in my mind. It makes me think, if rich and successful people who possess luxurious cars and lavishly furnished houses, living abroad are actually happier than these daily wage earners. Parents put their kids in coaching classes right from their 6th grade so that their kids can make their way into IITs and get a good job and get settled in their life. When their kids are grow up and actually get 'settled' in their lives, and when they've lost all their childhood and youth in preparing for competitive exams and scoring high grades, do these 'kids' look back at all those days and repent for it ? What do such people feel when they witness an incident like I did ? Does it hit them that they live their life only once and such a life is meant to be happier than just being successful ? If so, how does one define success and happiness ? I mean, is being successful in life happier or is being happy in life more successful ? Or, is there any optimal solution to balance them ? Money cannot buy happiness, but in today's world, there is no happiness without money. So how does one have to evaluate his/her choices ? I can spawn thousands of questions like this, which haunt me when I try to sleep in the night, and I don't think it's a good idea to bother you with them. You will have a hard time pondering over these.

"Those kids are irritating", Mathur said, as he turned back to see me.
"No, they aren't", I replied while I was still looking at them in amazement.
"Why do you say so ?", Mathur demanded. He was curious to know why I hadn't agreed with him.
"Buddy, because they are happier than we are" I replied.

As we reached Trichy, Anurag, I and all the other passengers got down. We parted with those laborers, and blended with the crowd, to never see them again.


Shashi Shekhar said...

this is genuinely awesome. I din know there has been such a philosophical guy among our seniors, or wud have contacted you much earlier.

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