I was presented with a “Thakumar Jhuli” on my 7th birthday. (For those of you who do not know what that is, go to Wikipedia…no, actually…if you are shameless enough to not know what “Thakumar Jhuli” is, then go kill yourself.) There were the regular “Lal Kamal ar Nil Kamal” stories. But the one story that intrigued me the most was one that is somewhat like the “Pandora’s Box” story.
It’s basically about how God puts all the emotions in this box and gives them to these children and tells them never to open the box. But being little curious (beastly) children, they obviously open the box and all the emotions- happiness, guilt, mirth, kindness, fly away. The children get scared when they see all of the emotions flying away and quickly close the box, but by then everything has flown away…only “hope” remained.
I used to keep arguing with my aunt that this was not true. There still was happiness when I went to the zoo and kindness when I gave stale chapatis to the street dog. She would tell me that even when I was in the zoo I would kept hoping that I would come again, and when I gave chapatis to the dog I would hope that he would like me. I would pout stubbornly at being defeated in the debate.
How many years has it been since? A decade? More…
These random things make me want to cry now. I was listening to some song on my MP3 player and I started crying, right there, sitting inside an auto, infront of all those people. I started crying in the middle of a crowded bus while reading “MBA: Mediocre But Arrogant”… its supposed to be a comic book for god’s sake! I was sitting outside the Tollygunge metro station waiting for my egg chowmein from one of those cart vendors, and D tells me that he doesn’t like it when i call him ‘teddy bear’ and ‘baby’ and stuff like that. And it wasn’t like I was really hurt or anything. I just thought, ‘Well, it’s just personal preference.’ And then before I knew it, tears were streaming down my eyes and they wouldn’t stop. They poured into my chow and rolled off the edges of the beaten steel plate and caked the dust on the footpath, and they still wouldn’t stop.
So if I wasn’t crying because the song or the book was depressing or because I was hurt by some statement, why was I crying? What reason do I have to be depressed anyway. I have everything any teenager could ever want- admitted into a good college with great friends, doing well at studies and extra-curriculars, economically comfortable, a loving family, caring boyfriend.
But that’s just it, isn’t it? What makes us happy? When we get something we want. But there is nothing I want because I have everything! I kept my box open for a bit too long. There is no hope left in my box even, no hope for anything more. It is so empty. There is nothing in my box anymore.
I am living a stagnant happiness. This straight line. There are no dips of sadness, no highs of exhilaration. Just beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep……….
Happiness is just an illusion. We crave it all the time, we dream about it, run after it, work towards it. But when we finally have what we always wanted, there is no more happiness. Happiness is getting something you want, but now we don’t want anything anymore (since we already have what we wanted, time for us to be happy…but uh-oh!), and so there’s no more happiness. We are like hamsters running on those wheels continuously. We dream about happiness all our lives and when we think we have found happiness we realise that it is only an illusion. Happiness does not exist.
Who said “Thakumar Jhuli” is a children’s book? It took me more than ten years to understand its story. Yes, there is only hope left…just an illusion and dream of happiness. And for me…not even that.