The changing meaning of joy

A good friend doesn’t have to aspire to become a great friend. It’s not a competition. If you are very lucky, you will find a good friend who is actually your great friend. But because of years of conditioning from school days, you thought of them as your best friend: two of the finest words to marry out of academics. However, as life progresses, you make and forget and break friendships, only to end up with a handful of people who genuinely care about you. They are your good friends. And if you stick around long enough, one of them, if not more, will turn into your great friend without either of you realizing it. 

I’ve been thinking about the concept of love for a long while now and my recent conclusion—and this is bound to change, like everything else in life—is that we don’t accept the love we think we deserve. Sorry, Stephen Chbosky. We merely embody the love we are fully capable of. When we do so, we hope against hope that we are reciprocated in the same way. Sometimes, we are fortunate enough to find somebody who fills the gap and sometimes, we don’t. That’s a roulette called life. No way we can escape the game. Gotta keep loving.

If there is one book that you must read, simply because you were born a human being, then it has to be Upanishads. It’s quite easy to say a simple thing in a complicated way but it’s extremely difficult to say something complicated in the simplest way possible. And that’s what this timeless compendium accomplishes in a beat. From mere observations and autonomy of celestial perspectives, it puts forth so many theories and conclusions that you wonder why doesn’t it have an author in the first place. Why would anyone forgo the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy? Well, because the message is bigger than messenger. The messengers come and go but the message remains. When the Upanishads explain the nature of nature by showing you how a river continues to move forward no matter what happens—drawing equivalence to life—you concede why some Eastern cultures continue to see a mother in their rivers. And so much more. 

Even after the leaf has left the tree, it doesn't forgo its responsibility towards the world. It continues to do what it’s supposed to do. It doesn’t log out per se. Even in its downfall, the surrounding continues to celebrate its presence as well as absence. That’s the sort of history each one of us must aspire to achieve with our present. 

Do you know who holds the record in planking? I do. It’s a 62-year-old ex-US marine fellow who held onto his plank position for—believe it or not—8 hours, 15 mins and 15 seconds. That’s the longest abdominal plank in recorded history. That’s longer than my longest sleep since 2011, the year I entered journalism. I am constantly amazed by human endurance but this shit is next level. It’s so monumental that I feel one can only stand in awe. How is it even possible to stretch oneself that long? Damn. I can hold my plank for barely 75 seconds, before my body trembles and my muscles give in as if I am in Siberia. 8 hours? This should be outlawed. 

According to my friend, happiness is joy in motion. Why she believes so? Because we are constantly chasing happiness. Those fleeting instances that temporarily relieve us from the chain of expectations before we climb back onto the treadmill of hope and perseverance. That inescapable motion is what drives oxygen into our lungs, right? The day we stop being a part of this setup is the day we stop being a living entity. All creatures are supposed to keep moving, keep fighting, keep losing and keep winning. That’s the jungle law even though there is no jungle left for us. In this scenario, one can ask: so, what exactly is joy then? Well, according to my friend, it’s happiness at rest. Makes sense, no? 

What transforms a house into a home? Many things, actually. The most important factor being freedom. When you are home, you are at your freest. Which, again, is ironic because you are actually inside a cage and if a bird were to peep in through your window, it might be wondering why the hell would you put yourself inside a cage on your own. But then, that’s its innocence, not yours. For you, a house becomes home when you are invested in the colours of its walls as well as the utility/design of the resulting furniture, etc. When you love something, you pour a part of you in it and a house built of mortar and bricks is no different. Which brings us to my original doubt: do empty houses that once had people living in them miss them? If you ask me, the answer lies in a paradox, the house would miss them if they had turned it into their home. But then, if they had turned into their home, why the fuck would they leave it? 

Nowadays, my blogpost is incomplete without mentioning my father. He will say the most haphazard thing in the smoothest way possible. Our conversations occur in Tulu so I’ll share the translated version. 

Me: “Are you going for your morning walks?”

Pappa: “Yes, every morning.”

Me: “Aren’t the policemen stopping people from entering the local park?”

Pappa: “Yes, they do.”

Me: “Then how are you walking?”

Pappa: “I walk around the park from outside.” 

If you are young and feel foolish all the time, let me share some thoughts that might be useful. First thing first, you are bound to fail. Life is a euphemism for failure. All those self-help books and TED talkers spend too much time on glorifying the sweet nectar of success, when in reality, failure is going to be your constant companion. Without failing, you won’t be able to find yourself. Forget success. Success is secondary; you are primary. Finding you is more important. In our failures lay hidden our true self. Find it and then embrace it. Good luck. 

Nothing breaks my heart like the news of a decent person suffering. A dear friend of mine recently went through hell on the health front and somehow surfaced to share her tale. Such individuals are the reason why we must continue to believe in the power of goodness, the force of righteousness, and the beauty of karma. Of course, this doesn’t mean that one must wish bad things for relatively evil people. No, you shouldn’t do that. Let time take care of them. Focus your energy on the brighter side. The darkness knows what to do with itself. 

As you must be aware by now, I am a YouTube sensation in the making. With about 900 subscribers and about 70 videos and less than 5 comments on each of them with measly total views, I am truly breaking grounds. To be fair, I don’t really see the value in spending time there. Yet, the idea was to get out of my shy mode and put my face in front of the camera and learn to look straight at the lens and speak. It was a personal challenge that I presented myself in March this year. So, I believe it’s perfectly all right to continue doing that for the time being.