By Pooja Marwah
One of the many things I absolutely love about India is that each and every one of us is a self-proclaimed life guru, motivational guru, inspirational guru and so on! I mean which other country on earth would have the neighbourhood aunty, the old uncle next door, the local kirana store owner, the occasional postman, and even the vegetable vendor visit you with a new perception of life, reiterating their mantra for a happy life!! Where else would you find everyone around you offer you a guide to finding happiness… like it’s as easy as finding Nemo?
It is actually entertaining to listen, for they each come with their own set of experiences and what amuses me is that they propagate and emphasise on their point of view as though it were the only right way to live! So, what is the right way to live? How do we know when we fall in love? Why weren’t we ever told about heartbreaks? Where are all the sermons and ‘gyaan’ about life when we need them the most?
If there is one thing I have grown to realise, it is that there is no wrong way to do the right thing. Right to you may differ from its connotation to me, but then that is entirely up to your thought process. A criminal will always justify his crime, with as much ease as a judge will hold him guilty for it. Seema Aunty next door will stand by her belief that married women should behave in the 1960’s way she did when she was married to Khanna Uncle. Does it really matter that no one ever asked Khanna uncle if that was what he wanted? Did he want his wife all dolled up for him in Indian attire, fussing and pampering him, or did he want a partner in crime as he drove into the open air movie theatre, wanting to munch on popcorn and coke?
I think where we lack is in communicating in conversation. We often forget to even ask the other person – What is it that YOU want?
With the advent of social media engulfing our lives, life advice is available to all of us at the simple type of a keyword #life advice or #how can I stay happy. The internet is streaming with daily doses of motivation and positivity and yet, somehow, with all the jargon, deep inside we are still trying to figure out the million dollar question – what makes us truly happy.
Happiness is a feeling you get when you can be the person you want to be. There is no allowance or ration for doing the things that you wish. The only limits set are the ones you set for yourself. You can’t be coerced to feel happy just because the occasion demands it. Nor can you stay happy at the behest of another. Life is a series of experiences that define us. And as we cross over from one to the other, something inside us changes and it is this change that leads us to grow as individuals.
The inability to accept this changing you is what causes frustration and angst. The incapacitated feeling you feel when you see yourself losing control over a partner or a career are the triggers that lead you to Google’s search console. Life wasn’t meant to be lived on reins, self-imposed or forced upon. You don’t need anyone to tell you how to live a happy life… for that answer lies right within you.
I think I am just done with everyone across the spectrum wanting to teach me something. How to eat, how to live, how to breathe, how to fart, how to dress, how to walk… I mean at the end of the day, if we all were the same person, had the same mannerisms, with the same personality and character, wouldn’t we classify as robots?
Sometimes, I just want to let my hair down, my feet up and be me… I don’t want to learn anything. I don’t want to impress anyone. All I want to be on the outside – is the person I am within.
(Pooja Poddar Marwah is an award winning author and Blogger. She writes an contemporary living and offers incisive reflections on the world around us. Her blog, Random Conversations is a go to guide to deal with the myraid struggles we face each day.)