The Happiness Quotient

wide eyes the pansy

Sometime last month I thought I had finally caught the acute family malady – depression. Believing all my life that I had evaded this one overwhelming genetic disaster, an already down me was bought even lower thinking it was just late in coming. So imagine my plight – grey out the window (it’s just Delhi). Cold, (which I hate when it is city based cold) take me to a snowy topped mountain and life is fine. But there weren’t any trips in the offing.

I had descended into that horrible state where one wallows, not even trying to get out of it, all I wanted was the heater, preferably bed and a hot water bottle. The world was grey, the future held no excitement, the books were boring, the crossword undoable, the friends had deserted. It was a long weekend and there was no work, I should have gone home to ‘The Pind’ but I could not find the energy. I am quite sure there are many who empathise with this, it was rather alien to my normally upbeat self.

This is when the hum drums of life can save your soul. Sheila my wonderful keeper of all things necessary – home, market, kitchen, laundry et al – fell sick! I hope you understand the depths of despair this bought with it. I had to get out of bed – I had to go to the shop for milk. On the way to the shop I had to walk through the pretty garden and there I met a pansy – the flower – to clarify!

When my daughters were little they had pansy friends – see drawing – those beds of pansies were invested with real people and whole families. Grandfathers to little girls. This little burgeoning pansy suddenly lifted that horrible pall of gloom and made me smile in remembrance. I got back home with the milk and pulled out all the old drawings
and little stories that went with them.

But before that while I stood there smiling at the pansy a friend came along, that led to a conversation and the invitation to a drink. More gloom lifted. Back home with all the old stuff scattered around, the stories got put in order and the drawings collated. They might even go to a publisher now?

Happiness and purpose all due to a packet of milk and a pansy.

The written and the read.

I received the most touching mail wishing me well with my new found love.
However, my little anecdote is not about a one love, but the discovery that I still have the capacity to throw my heart over a windmill and perhaps not worry about whether it lands in the right place. Just experience the emotion and the euphoria of doing it, without counting the cost – and most importantly the discovery that the cost is not what matters at all. It is the enjoyment of the feeling; whether it is fleeting or lasting must be left in the hands of the Gods.
I say that quite deliberately, because the moment you start to anticipate the where, what, how, what if ? It’s finished, it’s lost, the euphoria is gone. All those human things will creep in, the doubt, the uncertainty, the wanting, the needing, to have, to hold. With that dissapears the essence of that pure, soaring flight. Why would you want to do that? Also that is what prevents you from throwing that heart over in the first place. Caught for a moment, caught forever, who knows?  If one does it often enough maybe it will entwine with another such floating feeling and fly forever.
Also the learning that no matter what the age, love feels very much the same, there may not be as much angst to it with experience, because perhaps you, like me, can discover it to be a many splendoured thing, but it can be as silly, as electrifying, as embarrasing and as euphoric at 18 and at perhaps 80.
So in short, no my friend, I still have not found the man who will walk beside me and I wasn’t even looking. But now I think, if I can risk it then perhaps there is somewhere out there ‘The Passionate Shephard’ type of man who will risk saying those magic words too.

Of bubbles and glee!

In continuation and conclusion: I met a man ….. and then he went.

But that euphoria – the sparkle in the eye, the bubble of glee in the throat ready to break into a chuckle of remembrance – all of that stays. Songs are more melodious, the trees are brighter and the breeze lifts your heart. What a tonic this thing is.

Why? What do you call it? Science says endorphins, brain synapse, chemical reactions or whatever. Most call it love or more realistically infatuation, ok let’s stay romantic and say an itty bitty love. Is it the giving of love, the receiving of love, the excitement of discovery, liking being liked?

I have a super life, great children, many people to love and be loved by, a lovely home, work that makes me happy. Not a thing that I can say is missing. I don’t even have a man growing old next to me, needing reminding of pills or whatever, and I do like the songs and the trees and the breeze does still lift my heart anyway.  Yet a man can come along and make the blood sing and the feet dance.

How long does that last if you keep the man? (or the woman in reverse, I am quite certain it works both ways.) That’s such an awful question, but it’s real. Some have it, the books say soul mates or old connections. Or the fact that you work it. And the whole world looks for it, writes, sings, dreams, cries for it. Obviously, look how bright it makes the day!

I think it is just a bit of magic that one needn’t question at all. It should happen every so often. I like that singing, dancing feeling.

Of morality and pre owned cars!

I met a man. He looked at me with deep, intense eyes and looked and looked.  I smiled, I shifted, I perhaps even blushed, I squirmed, I shifted, smiled some more and moved away.

Uneasy! you bet. He looked some more, I squirmed some more. It’s the pursuer and the pursued, at some point you succumb, you chat, you laugh, you walk together you talk. There is an attraction – what is it? The fact that you enjoy the feeling of being wanted or the fact that it is actually an interesting man? Whatever, the actual fact in the forefront of the mind is that he is not free. Yet you are behaving like that puppy on the road, slowly being enticed toward that stroking hand – lord what a laugh, and you are watching yourself in glee waiting to see what you will do – it is an enjoyment of the forbidden and you don’t know the end. It’s like a drama unfolding all of your own making.

It is a taboo, a no no, for what reason? A sisterhood thing – you do not betray the sisterhood.  My best friend says ‘what nonsense, you are not betraying anyone, it’s not your business, why are you doing the thinking for someone else?’ Another says ‘ They don’t call them used or second hand any longer – the politically correct term is pre owned – that makes re owning better?

But it’s a rule I have – the whole damn thing makes for sleaze and hiding and the whole purpose of an attraction is to enjoy the damn thing – how do you do that if you are in hiding?

So, perhaps no. Then you spend more time and realise, hello, not just nice to be pursued, it’s a very interesting pursuer. So, you happily spend the time. You think; a flirtation, a jaunt, a moment in time.

Then you think some more – are you capable of loving many people, yes, so why is not another capable of the same. And then you think some more – you have not made a vow to love just one etc etc. You are not pre owned – so is it alright? At this point your brain starts to get fried and nothing destroys the equilibrium more than a fried brain. And nothing should destroy the equilibrium.

Quit out thinking – it is a moment in time. You meet a kindred spirit for a fraction of life, you enrich some portion of it for each other and keep the memory for rereading like a good book. Morality thy name is convenience in a used car lot!!


Attractions and other ailments.

I met a man. I have met many and there are all sorts, so why did this start me thinking? Because I thought I had a type that attracts me and that is what I should stick with, else it does not work. Which brings me to the fact that I have been unstuck for the longest time!

I have been trying to sift this thought for the last 2 weeks. Attraction; what constitutes it? I am speaking now from purely my own perspective. I always thought, that for me the physicality was of supreme importance. That may sound hugely shallow, but that is what I truly thought my criteria was. Tall, dark and handsome, straight out of that teenage ‘Mills & Boon’. Stereotypical perhaps, but that is what attracted me. Dark, not dark, tall, was an absolute essential – see – the men in my family are large – that is my perspective of the species. You get smothered in a hug, that huge arm comes around you and the world becomes a safe place….!

Just one of those men - my brother Hari.

Just one of those men in my family – my brother Hari.

Having said that, I married a man that my grandmother called a ‘pocket edition’. His mind however was huge, he was my best friend and I miss that still – because obviously with my stupid predilection for the other type, this lovely, gentle man with immense patience and a zany sense of humour and huge smarts, had no chance with a mad, maverick, person who needed to fly. But he is the one man that I still think of, respect and for all intents and purposes he has been the only man in my life.

Uff! that needs clarification – he is the only man that I acknowledge as an important part of my life. I have not been a nun, nor am I discounting the men that have participated in my life, made impressions,liaisons that have taught many lessons – all of those exist. But if I talk about a man in my life it is only ever that huge mind in a relatively smaller person.

So why do I believe that what attracts me is the tall, dark and handsome? Because I have come to see that as an ailment – a purely physical desirable object – nice to look at, nice to feel, nice to be on the arm of – but truly not necessarily nice at all. Many times just a block that functions on the good looks. Mostly self absorbed and so conscious of their attractions that they almost always feel they can do better than what they have – till they either find someone as dumb as themselves or find all the nice girls taken by those nice, smart, not so overtly good looking guys.

I am talking men here because being a woman that is the experience I have. That does not take away from the fact that as an observant woman I have seen the same syndrome repeat itself in the male psyche too. Infact it is larger than life there – how many men could you tell me, would actually go for the smart, intelligent, self assured woman? Oops! Is that really what you want, she will argue, she will challenge, she may not cook, she probably won’t pick up your socks – why would you want her? For conversation? You have the guys.

Now the question is for the women – the men have it pretty figured already. (There are exceptions and I do know men who want to walk beside their women – few, but they exist).

Do you go for that interesting man with the stimulating conversation, who can make you laugh, who  wants to take care of you, because he does value you and will try to please. But dear lord, he is small and not so good looking. He gets hidden in a large crowd, but when he starts conversing, the crowd maybe converges. Do you notice that? Or does that dreamy looking guy over there, standing over everyone and giving you the once over before he strolls across, make your heart flutter because he chooses you and so all eyes follow?

I came to the conclusion a while ago, that for me, the macho male energy is a repellent. It clashes with me and I so am not willing to have it in my life. I thought I could never have a man in my life on a permanent basis.  But I still ailed with the thought that the physical was an important point for me. How fixed one thinks one’s ideas are and yet a split second can change them or make you realize that you just thought you had them.

I learned what, obviously, my subconscious always knew – the mind attracts me more than the body. Though if the mind comes in a bit of a hunk, I am not running.