Inauguration of The Happy Story Project

This is going to be where I post any good news if and when I come across it. The first of the following was sent to me by a friend. The rest I came across in social media.

1. Slow and steady wins the race. Perseverance pays. Don’t give up on your dreams. We have heard the message in various places in various forms. Presenting a gentleman who lived the message and proved the message.

2. Kingdom of Girls? Girls growing up with freedom? To freedom? Sounds good to me.

3. Fluffy dogs. Many of them. Saved from being butchered and eaten. By a lady who’s made a habit of doing this kind of work. My hearty thanks to her.



Faces in the Crowd

At night, before going to sleep, he asked his younger child to rub a bit of the pain-removing balm, the one with the wonderful scent of eucalyptus and a household brand name, on his forehead. And that is what triggered off the memory – this story.

As he sat outside the grocery store where they were compiling his orders, he was approached by a young girl, younger than his younger child. She was a salesgirl who had taken up her position for the day outside the pharmacy beside the grocery store. She was selling a spray version of the balm. Newly launched, the product was available at a discount if bought at the spot. Although young, she had had the common sense to approach elderly men as the most potential customers for pain-removing sprays. “You must be suffering from some ache or the other?” she asked him. It was a good guess, but he replied gently and untruthfully, “No, not really.” If you used this spray, you shall not only not have to rub it, like the old balm, but also, the pain won’t recur, explained the girl. He didn’t think he needed it, he explained. “Then you won’t take it?” asked the young salesgirl, younger than his younger child. “All right.”

But it wasn’t all right, he admitted later to his child, as the latter rubbed the balm on his forehead. “Younger than you,” he said, sadly, “and standing outside shops these hot days, trying to sell… Who knows how many she manages to sell? How much or how little commission does she earn? Does it even pay for a snack? I caught sight of her face as she said ‘All right’. I saw the disappointment in it. I cannot forget it.”

It reminded his child of a similar incident. Several years ago, a salesman had come to the door. It had been a sweltering summer afternoon. He had been selling incense sticks, the man, sweat pouring down his face, skin black under the sun. Out of sheer habit, the habit of automatically refusing salesmen and women without even ascertaining what was being sold, because nothing that was on offer was ever bought anyway, the child had shook the head, hardly opening the door fully. “No?” the salesman had asked, with an attempt at a smile, and the door had been closed. Within minutes, the child had been tormented with remorse. How much would incense sticks have cost? How poor could have been their quality? Why hadn’t there been a moment of thought, of consideration before the automatic ‘no’? But the salesman had disappeared.

Now, the child recounted the incident to the father, who could not get over the remorse of having refused a little salesgirl. “Had I needed it at all, I would have bought it. But I didn’t, not with all the pain-removing sprays already in the house,” he shook his head. “She approached another elderly man after me. He agreed to have it sprayed on his wrist, unlike me. Maybe he bought it,” he added hopefully. “Don’t worry, buy one the next time you see her,” suggested the child. “Even if I do, how much will that help her? How hard she must have to work. How terribly hard so many people must have to work for so terribly little. I don’t want to let my mind turn that way. For the questions are too difficult. One must be hard-hearted, my child, to survive in this world. Turn away from other people’s sufferings. For, once you start thinking: is this life all about me and my happiness, you cannot find an answer, a solution. You get lost.”

His child remained silent, knowing how little the speaker endorsed his own words. The child hoped, rather, that the man will find the young salesgirl some other day and buy a spray and feel better. Unfortunately, even if the salesman with the incense sticks reappeared, he wouldn’t be recognised.

Pleasure or Sorrow?

Translation of an original text by Rabindranath Tagore.

The writer’s scribe has unconsciously inclined slightly more towards the left – as if, in his mind, he has given more importance to sorrow. For, if the amount of pleasure is greater in this world, then the solution does not have a problem. When the expenditure is greater than the saving, the accounts do not balance. In the accounts of this world, if unhappiness turns out to be greater, then the world cannot be sorted out.

The merchants of religion blindly and forcefully try to deny the existence of sorrow. But that merely beguiles the simple-minded. To try and somehow explain away the part of sorrow in this world to those who have felt the pain of distress in their hearts, outside themselves and all around, is an extremely foolish idea. There are thousands of such griefs in this world in which human intelligence can discover no good purpose. There are several such sufferings and miseries which have no glory whatsoever, which makes a soul overwhelmed, narrow and stripped of beauty – there are many tyrannies perpetrated by the strong on the weak, by the inanimate on the animate, which throw the helpless into a black abyss of degradation – we can find no reason, no justification behind them. He who has unwavering faith in the dominance of goodness does not blush to politely admit his ignorance of these matters and deems it an audacity to take up a false advocacy on God’s side. Hence, I do not want to deny the existence of sorrow in this world.

But often, if we try to look at a thing individually, by isolating it from everything around it, then we give it undue importance. If we separate and gather misery, it becomes as unbearable and piled up as huge as a mountain, but in its own place it is not so heavy.

Fill a pitcher with water from the sea, and it is so heavy to carry. If we dive into the water, however, then thousands of pitchers of water flow over our head, but their weight feels quite insignificant. Just as the burden in this world is stupendous, so is the balance of burden limitless. Everything is balancing each other’s weight. Our body is not a very light thing to carry every day and all our lives. Measured individually, its weight may well seem impossible. But there is such a balance that we carry the weight effortlessly. Similarly, it is true that there is no end to sorrow in this world, but thousands of ways to alleviate them are also present. With the help of our imagination, we can isolate sorrow and build up a monstrous nightmare, but in this infinite life, it is spread much thinly. That is why, even in the midst of such an ocean of sadness, the entire world is floating so easily, evil is not being able to overwhelm the good, and happiness and beauty are blossoming everywhere.