I'm tired of reading depressing front-page news--of corrupt politicians, Michael Jackson's demise, the city facing water cuts and the country heading for a drought. Helpless senior citizens being murdered in their own homes. Children fighting to be the next toppers amidst cut-throat competition. I'm fed up of the daily grind. All of us pushing and shoving to reach the finishing line in this rat race of life. Rushing to reach work and then the tiring commute back home. Ragging through traffic. Sitting in pigeonholed cubicles. Scowling into computer screens. I need a break from it all. I think we all do.
So remembering Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, I wrote to all my friends around the world asking them to make a list of their favourite things. The tiny stuff that bring joy, even for an instant. Join me for the next few minutes. Forget those big dreams we spend our days, our months, our years chasing. Let's revel instead in those small, trivial, banal moments that bring us joy.
Here is what my friends sent in, in no particular order:
* Riding a cycle very early in the morning or late at night when the streets are empty and the air is cool and warm.
* A cuckoo singing outside the window
* Babies--their smell, their smile, their yawn and their tiny toes.
* An elderly couple taking a stroll hand in hand.
* Chocolate--rain or shine, day or night, happy or sad.
* Listening to the beautiful melody of the flute seller on Sunday mornings
* Buying flowers for no reason at all
* A good, tight hug
* A soft pillow and freshly laundered sheets
* Spending time with family and friends
* Reaching the platform just when the train pulls in
* Watching back to back movies on a Sunday when Monday is a holiday
* Finding a forgotten 100 Rupee note in your back pocket.
* The smell of freshly baked bread
* Singing aloud loudly to old songs
* Listening to someone else with headphones on singing loudly, oblivious to how off-key they are.
* Being welcomed home by your pet especially after a horrible day
* Eating fresh mangoes with vanilla ice cream
* Drinking a warm cup of hot chocolate or freshly ground coffee or a hot cup of pudina chai.
* Watching a child rip open a gift-wrap on a birthday present.
* Going to a class reunion and looking younger than most people there
* Putting off your mobile for a few hours
* Cooking a perfect sunny-side up egg
* Doing a tough Sudoku or crossword and getting it right
* Watching the unabandoned dancing of street children when a wedding procession goes by
* Reading a book that you can't put down, but you don't want it to end.
* Receiving an unexpected letter from an old friend
* The comforting smell of an old sweatshirt
* Walking in the rain, eating a spicy bhutta in the rain, curling up in the bed with a good book along with all the rain songs to keep you company
We all smile in the same language. It costs us nothing. One size that fits all. As one of my friends said, "Sometimes we get so tired of life's burdens that we forget how good smiling feels. Then a stranger we pass on the street or on a train grins at us. Reflexively, we smile back. Suddenly, our spirits lift." So stop reading this right now wherever you are, find something small that makes you and smile. Till then, have a superb day ahead!!