Tag Archives: happiness

A Magical Day

There are days when you just feel good about life. Everything seems to fit perfectly into the grand scheme of life.

On these days, maybe someone tells you about how you add value to their lives, or help them out in tough situations.

Maybe an old friend walks up to you and you go for a cup of coffee or tea together.

Maybe you walk amongst the busy city streets, passing snail-like traffic and tree-lined avenues, the wind blowing your hair.

Maybe you pour your heart out in your writing.

Maybe you decide on a change in life.

Maybe you see a smile on someone else’s face, and you feel happy in their happiness.

These are days when it feels good to be on the face of Earth, even as the industries and cars blow smoke into the air, people die and hearts break. These are days that are just perfect.

Today was one such day.

The past that lingers on…

I am in my hometown, Durgapur, on a break for a week. It is the month of monsoon, and what greeted me first was the all-encompassing greenery and the damp weather. Durgapur primarily has a tropical climate: hot, sweaty, sticky. For the most of Summers the city is brown, but with the advent of monsoons, the shrubs and bushes and the trees claim the land – it is no short of an invasion. The bright, rich green is unashamed in its exploitation, and claims every inch of the land it can touch. It has a raw quality to it which soothes the eye and makes me remember the years in which human beings lived in jungles.

Durgapur is where I grew up, went to school, played with friends. It is a well planned city, with mostly good, wide roads lined with trees. The neigborhoods are calm and silent. Traditionally, people used to work in the steel plant that Durgapur is famous for. Nowadays, kids study and move out of the city all the time, settling down in different parts of the country, and sometimes, even the world. Durgapur has a few good schools which lay the foundation for good careers. Today, while I was on my morning walk, I saw schoolkids in variety of uniforms, in buses, pool cars, on parents’ scooters and bikes, rushing towards school. One of the girls was behind her father on the scooter and she had a bunch of papers in her hand that she was studying; probably for a test at school. This took me back to my school days, when I used to climb onto the school bus, and find myself a seat next to the window and go over the copies one more time before we reached school. The world has changed a lot since I graduated from schools: I did not own a mobile phone until I went to college. But to see that still some things remained same – some kids to this day are as studious that I used to be – was weirdly satisfying. Note that now that I am grown up and have seen how professional life works, I realize that the number of hours put in studying is not always proportional to professional success and I would probably not encourage my kids to study while we were dropping them to school, but nonetheless, it is interesting to see that my hometown to this day remains similar to how I saw it growing up.

On my morning walks, I also walk beside the fair ground which hosts the Annual Rath Yatra to celebrate Lord Jagannath’s visit to his aunt’s house. In my childhood, this ground used to be a place of wonders: lots of snacks places, shops which sold cheap jewellery: necklaces and rings with shiny stones, toy shops which sold trains and cars and dolls and tiny houses. There was also a book fair, which was my favorite haunt. I used to wait for the entire year to buy one book at the book fair and read it many times in the coming months, over a bowl of muri and samosas. Today, when I walk through the narrow lanes of the fair ground, all I can see is the amount of dirt on the sides of the road and the crowd. It bothers me, even though as a child I looked forward to it. Today, I feel more at peace at home, enjoying the silence of the rooms I grew up in, sometimes going through the diaries I kept when I was younger.

Every time I come home now, I discover a piece of myself in those old notes in the diaries; I understand the things which drove me as a child, the things which made me happy. I miss the prayer ceremonies at school, where all the school kids stood in lines, as per their classes and in order of their heights, singing songs that glorified the country and the state and the mother tongue. I miss the ceremonies we used to host in the school where I played the role of an anchor, guiding the ceremony to a successful end. I miss standing on the stage to make a speech (even though it was something that made me immensely uncomfortable). I miss dressing up in sarees and bangles and wearing make-up and flowers in the hair for the occasional dance performance. These things are no longer there in my life – somewhere, I have lost the creative influence that surrounded my childhood likes clouds around a snow-capped mountain. I miss it and I crave it and I want to become part of something similar again.

In all my writing, I have realized, there is a craving for the past, of something that exists in my memory (sometimes in the vague, muddy manner that is characteristic of dreams). It feels strange that I have lived through my childhood and it is really over, for in my heart, I somehow never grew up.

The Happiness Project | Day 30

From six to thirty: it’s a bigggggggggggggg jump! Yes, I am talking about the missing 24-odd days of blogging in The Happiness Project.

I know I promised to write every single day in May, and I failed miserably at it. I have also not been uploading any videos on my YouTube channel. There is a reason behind this: generating content is difficult. Especially, when you are also trying to live your life at the same time. Not everyday you’d have stuff that you can talk about to an audience. And I am the sort of person who does not like to pour out content just for the sake of it.

Living the twenties is hard, especially if you are on your own, out of a relationship and living far away from family and suck at forming and maintaining friendships. An interesting bit I found about myself: even though I want to be around people (because being lonely sucks), I also love silence a lot. I like thinking by myself, and recording my thoughts in a diary. If I go out for two weekends straight, I find myself craving just being at home, having to do nothing other than chill out. That’s me!

As I was writing this, I revisited the first post in this series. The idea was to reconnect with the younger self of mine, who was more curious about things. I could not complete much of the things that I had listed down in that post, like growing plants and reading new books. But I definitely have started with a few things. There is no routine to anything yet, but I did make an effort to start.

For example, I got one of my previous teammates to come over at my place last weekend and help me with learning swimming. We also made cheesecake that evening, and it ended up being absolutely amazing. I also made an effort to go to a music school for guitar lessons. I did not really find the place worth joining at this point in time, but I did try doing something about learning an instrument.

I also started reading Mindy Kaling’s book, Is everything hanging out without me? I am making very slow progress, but I am at least getting somewhere.

Another interesting turn of events at work: I moved to a new project and am leading it. The last time I was really putting efforts in leading a team was around this time last year, and that time I was just pushed into the role because there was no one else to do the same thing. However, this year, I am a year older and have seen lot more stuff at work, and while I can’t say I am completely ready for the job, at least I have a few goals that I want to achieve in this role, and I trying my best to consciously work towards them.

So, as the clock strikes midnight and we step into brand new June of 2018, am I any happier? Well, definitely yes! Much more than I was when I began journaling this. Of course, not everything is perfect. I am feeling a bit weak physically this past week, and I am also waking up in the middle of the night every single day and am unable to fall asleep for an hour or two, and it scares me that the insomniac phase from the beginning of this year is returning again, but guess what? I try to not let that affect me. Yes, I would give anything to wake up earlier and get a lot more work done, but this is how it is. Maybe, something will change and my body clock with become right again. Maybe not. But I have to stay on top of my life.

So, what did I really learn in the past month?: Sometimes, breaking promises is good. Sometimes, letting yourself do what you feel like is good, even if they do not align to your goals. But in the other times, consciously trying to make 0.01% change towards your goals can lead to 10% increase in happiness. Okay, that’s a random number – but you get the point!

Thanks for being part of my journey! If you have been with me in this Happiness Project, I hope this concluding post makes up for the lack of the promised posts. Write to me in the Comments section – I love hearing from you guys!

What Nobody Told You About Happiness

Some days, you see/experience something that changes you in a fundamental way. Today happened to be one of those days.

For the last few days, I have been feeling restless. Heck, I have been restless all my life. I have an itch inside me which drives me to solve problems as soon as possible. I pay my bills almost as soon as they arrive in my email. I like to keep no debts. If a call has to be made, I would do it sooner than later. Finishing things make me happy. Accomplishments make me happy.

I am told multiple times that I talk too fast. Yes, I do. Because I trying to hard to keep up with the train of thoughts in my brain that is rushing so fast that I struggle to keep up with them.

I love flights. I love how quickly you can reach from a city that has burned you to a city that smells of love.

I am always in a hurry. Always. In. A. Hurry.

Today, I chanced upon a wonderful TEDx video of Saisha Srivastava from 2015 (when she was 20). Saisha is a dancer who collaborated with blind schools in Kolkata to teach visually impaired kids how to dance.

As I watched the video, the familiar sensation of time flying by held me and shook me up. She spoke fast, almost as fast as I speak when I am trying to catch up with my thoughts. And in those 17 minutes, I felt, once again, there is just so much left to be done in this life and I have probably not even started.

I keep watching these videos about solo travel, where people talk about staying the nights with random strangers and receiving kindness from the most unexpected places. That resonates with the core of my being. As humans, we die to hear good stories. It is ingrained in our genes – we live in our stories, we live through our stories.

We want more intriguing stories. We need more intriguing stories.

Saisha’s is a wonderful story to tell. Is yours?

If you have been part of something this beautiful, share your experience with me, down in the Comments.

See you in another blog.

Until then, either tell a story, or live one! ❤

 

The beauty of being a woman

This morning I was in my flatmate’s room and saw the wonderful wall designs she has recently put up. I found the room tastefully decorated and personalized, with a lot of pictures of hers and twinkling electric lights. With its warm curtains, the room had a feminine touch to it.

Which made me go down the winding lanes of thoughts, where I was seeking the beauty of being a woman.

A woman decorates: herself and her surroundings. A good part of a woman’s day might go into grooming herself. She wants to pick the right dress, the right color, the right make-up, the right hair-do: All in order to add a perceived sense of beauty about her being. She does not limit it to herself: she also cleans her surroundings, buys pieces of art to decorate, works on DIY project.

She also like to cook the tastiest of food. She picks the fresh vegetables, finds the right spice to go in the right food and weaves magic in the kitchen.

She also focuses on the people around her. She wants her parents to be happy, her siblings to be happy, her boyfriend/husband to be happy, her children to be happy. She finds her happiness in being around people, in others’ happiness. She wants to stay connected to the thick pulses of happiness that flows when people are content.

She travels the world: she sees the mountains and reflects on the serenity of life; she sees the oceans and reflects on the constant flow of life. She watches the tall city-scapes that the generations have built and wonders how on a minute place in the universe, on Planet Earth, such a sophisticated life form – Homo sapiens – came to exist.

She also works in a typically man’s world. She challenges ideas, she argues, she confidently puts forth her point of view. She leads teams of people, nurtures them, wants them to grow with her.

Sometimes, she had bad days too. Her blue days. Her red days. Her blackest of days. Days when she does not want to smile, does not want to make others smile. Days when she looks out the window, into the trees where the squirrels run, and wishes she could just transform into one of them and live a carefree life for the rest of her days.

Today is one of the good days. Today, a girl is happy. Today, a woman is happy. Today, a daughter is happy. Today, a mother is happy. A sister, a lover, a wife. Happy.

Today is a good day.

Here’s to the beauty of womanhood and all the challenges it entails. Because it’s worth it.

Until later!

(c) 2017 Arpita Pramanick

Hello from a beautiful July morning!

It is a beautiful morning. The sun is hiding behind the clouds, but there is no gloom in the weather. The air is smooth. The temperature is optimum. I had a pleasant walk while coming to office. There is not discomfort in my body, no tiredness after a late night. I feel good.

It is a beautiful morning.

I woke up to the bell – my maid had come for cleaning. I lingered in bed for a few moments, waiting to see if any of my flatmates opened the door. Nobody likes to be the one to get up from bed and open the door for the maid in the morning. When no one else did, I had to go open the door. By the time I came back and was trying to get a few minutes of comfort in the warmth of my mink blanket, my roommate announced she had to reach office by 8.30 AM too, so I better get ready ASAP. Okay, boss!

I had been dreaming. In the dream,  I was aware of a semi-consciousness. It was as if I was actually awake and seeing the things happen. What ‘the things’ were, however, I do not remember. But I have a feeling that it was related to the unfinished task I had left in office on Friday. It was the last thought on my mind before I fell asleep last night – I had to debug a stubborn error in the code and get the script client-ready. I felt pretty tired in the dream, though. So when I got up from the bed for good, I wondered if I was going to feel well throughout the day.

We have a team outing scheduled today. I had missed the last due to ill-health. By the time I was walking to office, breathing in the fresh morning air, I knew it was going to be a beautiful morning.

So, here I am, at my desk. My bottle is filled with water. My pen is ready and I have a big copy by my side and a cool laptop where I am typing this. No one in my team is still here; the bay is almost empty. I love the silence!

Today is going to be a beautiful day.

On other news, I am Camping at Camp NaNoWriMo this July. I am working on a non-fiction I started last September. Hope to see it through completion by the end of this month. I have also been watching couple of old Bengali movies. I am fascinated by the magic of Satyajit Ray. Life’s good. How about you?