What is happiness? To me it is that tingling sensation as flecks of light and joy fall upon our contented visage, like golden rays of sunshine on freshly-mowed lawns in the summer. It is a sense of exhilaration and excitement felt from minute dabs of vibrant colours on life’s canvas, assembling masterpieces of dazzling palettes to replace the monochromatic dull greys of our banal existence. As I bask in its soothing warmth, I wish everyone could be bathed in this ambient glow, and need not fret over the troubles at hand. This is happiness, the ultimate goal of life of every man who has walked the earth, and mine as well.
Happiness, to me, is the first streak of sunrise across the horizon, the first ray to eradicate the darkness which cloaks the earth every night. It may be pure coincidence that I embark on my journey to school as the sky begins to evolve from dark to light, from velveteen jet black to baby blue. As the sky brightens streak by streak, all the uncertainties of my future vanish into the pastel hues of a dawning tomorrow. From the depths of despair, its invisible arms raise me up to the starting line of a new beginning, as if the tainted self of yesterday had been whitewashed with the emergence of the sphere of light we know as the Sun. Every ray of sunlight is a word of encouragement and praise, just like how the children’s song goes: “The sun sets, yet it climbs up tomorrow. The flowers wilt, but will bloom again next spring”. The sunrise lights up a beacon of hope in my heart, giving me the motivation to trudge on, clinging on to the belief that when there’s a will, there’s a way. That, in itself, is happiness, as it eliminates the demons of negativity and depression which impede my search for a bright carefree future.
Every night as I snuggle beneath the patchwork quilt which has accompanied me for all 17 years of my life, all worries dissolve into a pitch black vortex, left alone to swirl in the recesses of my mind as I retreat into the safehouse of slumber, snug as a bug in a rug. Without a doubt, my idea of happiness is the patchwork quilt on my bed of 17 years, embracing me every night as I drift into slumber. It has been my staunch companion through thick and thin, from the days when tiny restless legs kicked it mercilessly on sleepless nights, to the days when my drowsy head hit the sack past midnight. No matter rain or shine, blisteringly cold or sweltering hot , it has always been a source of comfort and rest after a day with my nose to the grindstone. Every patch of cotton on it tells a story of childish antics and youthful innocence, a shield from the deceitful wiles and green-eyed monsters of the world I am growing in. Somehow, it assures me that life will be a bed of roses soon. I can hear it now, murmuring “good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite. “
Having been a bookworm since the day I could recognise my ABCs, I took to reading as my primary pastime like a duck to water. It was inevitable. Every time my parents purchased a set of books for me, the first involuntary action I made was to flip through the crisp white pages and take a whiff of the indescribable scent of ink and paper. That unmistakable fragrance of ink ribbons and metallic printing presses create a hybrid of chemicals which waft towards the sensory receptors in my nasal cavity, and for which there is no name. The exhilaration of being engulfed by a tsunami of stories, of being lost in a jungle of foreign vocabulary, only allows me to further my endeavours in the search for knowledge. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, yet for me a journey of a thousand tales begins from the welcoming scent of inkwells and paper chips, inviting me into the realm of fact and fiction, heroes and villains, success and failure, despondency and jubilation. Books are the secret garden to which only I own the key, a world where I can escape from the harsh realities of life’s vicissitudes and take cover in.
At the end of the day, happiness boils down to the simple things in life which are undoubtedly irreplaceable. A ray of sunshine, a worn old blanket, a few lines of a tale opens doors to roads unseen when I am preoccupied with never-ending worldly cares and pursuits for unattainable heights. Happiness is contentment with the globe in our palms, the elated expression of satisfaction when we have reached a milestone in our lifelong treks. It need not be attained by achieving the impossible, but rather by being drenched in pure bliss with seemingly insignificant adhesives which piece our broken, weather-beaten souls back to shape. So, as they say, be happy, and the world will smile upon you.
That’s what I do. This is my idea of happiness.