What is the meaning of life?
How is one to attain happiness?
These are the type of introspective questions that are bound to pop up in one’s head from time to time.
I am no exception; both in terms of thinking about life as well as in coming up empty handed.
These questions hound me day in and day out.
Especially while travelling by bus, after a days work, as the sun is a sullen red ball about to dip over the horizon.
This is perhaps the best time to indulge in actions lazy cousin: introspection.
You need to get a window seat, otherwise all is lost.
As the bus meanders through the city and makes its way to the countryside, the sea of humanity starts petering out.
You come upon a weathered old man reclining on a rickety charpoy puffing on a hookah, surrounded by his meagre wheat field.
A toddler crawls at his feet, probably a grandson.
The kids eyes sparkle in anticipation of the stories he’ll be privy to tonight, as the fire crackles under a starry sky.
In the background smoke rises from a mud house.
A muscular and younger version of the old man carries a pail of milk to the open kitchen.
As the bus passes this scene I lock eyes with the old man.
We communicate without uttering a single word.
Yet here I sit still, as the bus moves on, once again pondering over the questions that plague me so.
Is his life easier or more comfortable than mine?
Is he happier than me?
Would I trade places with him?
What did I just see in those few seconds? Happiness?
And there it is. The meaning of life is what one chooses to make it. The sayings of a sage won’t cause you to find or stumble on the path of happiness. In all probability, these sages lived lives which were harder and more troubled than we can imagine. But they learned to savour the few fleeting moments of happiness in between the troubled seas of life and that is where the answer lies.
For me, happiness is cherishing those fifteen early morning minutes spent with my child before heading off for work.
Hence the meaning of life is fleeting. It changes as you change. Don’t beat yourself too much about it. Just find your source of happiness and hold on to it; the key to happiness is within your reach.
Life will find it’s meaning accordingly.