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Happy Illusion

The Quest for Happiness—Does it mean anything?


Are you happy? Tell me. Think. Are you feeling alive, cheerful, joyous, poised and the very many adjectives that describe the beautiful mood you’re in? You’re not? Why? For how long have you not been happy? Is it something bad? Did something happen? Do you care?

I am not happy. Its been a while since the last time I genuinely was. There are certain things that are stopping me from being cheerful about life. I have been working towards these things, but with little to no success. I can feel this lack of happiness effect those near me and my relationship with them. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can do about it. I can’t blame them, and I don’t want to blame myself. I’ve silently accepted this happiless existence. This is what life has become now.

However, from what I found out in the recent past, I’m not the only one. Everybody’s life today is devoid of the true happiness that we all crave for. The one thing that connects mankind today more than technology is probably the preclusion of happiness.

People today don’t seem to be content with life. Life is such an unpredictable character, you never know what it might throw at you. No matter who it is, there’s always something that ruins the picture-perfect life that they could potentially have.

It’s sad what we as humans have become. There used to be a time when we were all filled with hope. We would look forward towards improving our lives and strived towards attaining true satisfaction. However, now we all seem to have given up. We’re just disappointed with ourselves.

Recently, I was having a very casual conversation with a middle-aged man whom I’ve known for a couple of years now. Midway through the conversation, he said something that tweaked something inside me. I went silent on hearing his words, realizing how true they are. In case this piece of information serves any conceivable purpose, then I’ll let you know that that this man works for my father. I have a lot of casual conversations with him. So much so that at times I forget that I’m his boss’ son.

It was during one such conversation when he shook me from within. He said, “देखिए साब जी, आज कोई भी खुद से खुश नहीं है...”. This basically translates to: “Look, sir, today nobody is happy with himself/herself.” As I wrote earlier, I fell silent on hearing this. It’s true. It’s so true that it’s depressing. I wanted to counter him with examples, but I couldn’t find any to prove him wrong.

Then again, some people say happiness is a choice. Is it? Are they wrong? Are they right? I don’t really know. Now, I’m not talking about distracting oneself from the mundane ordeal of life by engaging in fun activities with friends and family because I think we all can agree that that isn’t true happiness. If anything, its nothing better than a facade. What I am aiming at is a form of happiness where nothing in life makes you feel despondent. Where the smile on one’s face isn’t a mask for some deep-rooted dejection, but rather a reflection of the true feelings within. Is happiness really a choice? I’ve known people who are unhappy with life for no specific reason. They themselves don’t know why they are unhappy. These people invite and push people away from their lives to fill the void that has been created by the absence of true happiness. However, even after the constant replacement and removal they don’t stand anywhere close to the level of happiness that they sought out to reach in the first place. When I look at them, I helplessly concede that maybe happiness isn’t a choice. Nonetheless, when I see such people actively surrounding themselves with a highly dispirited atmosphere, I beg to differ. When I see them making no real attempts at getting themselves out of the condition, circumstantially, I end up concluding that they are choosing not to be happy.

You might be wondering why I am so eager to know about true happiness. I’m just a 19-year-old boy and have almost an entire lifetime ahead of me to achieve all the happiness I want. However, here’s my question to you. Will I really achieve true happiness? I see my parents, who are both successful individuals, achieve most, if not all of the things that society thinks are the keys to happiness. Unfortunately, I can’t say that they are happy, not in the truest form of the word. And it's not just my parents. Nobody is truly happy in this world irrespective of what stage of life they are in. I see my friends and others who belong to my age group and none of them seem to be living an ideally happy life either. There is always some sense of inadequacy, loneliness, dissatisfaction prevalent within them. Even the feeble elderly people who are elder to me by at least 2 generations seem to be complaining that they feel their life’s been a waste for they too haven’t been able to achieve true happiness.

Seeing all these different people I can’t resist asking – does true happiness exist? Is it achievable? Or it is just an illusion that we have forced ourselves into believing in? For, indeed if it is an illusion, what is the point of all the struggles we go through in order to achieve it?

I can only wish and wonder.

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