Happiness is in moving from XXL To L

Ralph Lazar and Lisa Swerling in their book Happiness is in ……………write most simple but most striking ways of feeling happiness. They believe you don’t need a billion dollar to buy an Antila in Jhuggis infested Mumbai to feel happy. Nor everybody can afford to make Shahrukhs and Katrinas to dance at their daughter’s wedding like Miitals. Author duo highlight that there are simpler and zero expense ways of feeling happy. One can feel happy say by looking at his school days’ group photographs or by jumping into a pile of leaves or by blowing bubbles of soap water or when I publish a blog and get my first like. All these pleasures or happy moments of life are least expensive but most precious. They give you million dollar pleasures every day and if you start counting your gains, you will go to bed smiling more often not.

One of my most recent ways of feeling happiness is when I go for shopping now. Till last year I was close to a Quintal (Yes, I touched the magic figure). I had ignored my health quite badly despite many nudges and politically right warnings from friends and family, I did not mend my weighty ways. Though I did good work and was quite busy, physical fitness and health was not my priority. I was (still am) fond of eating and with many friends and college buddies posted together, we had a hell lot of time together, with whatever we could eat and whatever we could drink. Party today and party tomorrow was the motto. In those days, no party of us ended without fixing the next venue and menu. We were happy and so were our bursting from seams bellies.

This could not have continued for long. During to my visit to Valley of Flowers last August which involves a good trek of almost 5 Km, I realised what a poor sack of weight I was and after the Helicopter ride in which I was weighed in before boarding (the normal practice in hilly areas), I was badly exposed, more than the poor Sandip in Delhi. I was looked at almost disdainfully by the man who allowed me to board the chopper. I survived the valley track somehow, but came back with a resolve to change. With few other factors helping me, gradually I started to lose my flab slowly but steadily. In last one year, I have sweated more than perhaps a good over head water tank of a small colony, but it has paid off. The results are to be seen to be believed. I have lost almost 20 kg in this period.

Now when I go for shopping for cloths and the shop keeper looks at me and asks me to try a L or M size shirt, I feel like I have scaled Mount Everest or as If I have resolved the Kashmir problem for India ( much to the chagrin of separatists; sorry folks). The satisfaction I derive now, while trying for those M and L size shirts is a million dollar one for me. I bask in my new-found glory by trying as many shirts as I can. I am getting bolder now and egged on by my wife, I don’t mind disrobing mannequins (Dushashan is not my favourite character still) wearing my sizes, so as I can try them (I was told in a showroom that almost all mannequins do wear an M Size only!) This was unimaginable till last year as at that time every showroom I went to, used to raise their hands soon, as they did not have those many plus sizes clothes to try. Some of them were blunt enough to suggest me to get a good personal tailor to stitch and some of them suggested me specific brands for plus size people (read hopelessly fat) like me. While earlier my shopping used to be centered around XXL and sometimes XXXL, now there is no X factor in it, it is a simple L and M. This seems to be most mundane, but those who have not ever been XXXL sizes may perhaps not understand this. But believe me, I am zillion dollar happier now when I try M and L sizes. Life is really best in  L & M size!. Happiness is in losing Xs. I don’t think building another Antila could have given me those many smiles.

Happiness Of Watching A Movie, Late……


Authors Ralph Lazar and Lisa Swerling, in their book ‘Happiness is……….’ write down the 500 ways to feel happy about. They mention small but significant notes of happiness felt through, when we relish a complementary breakfast or while bumping in your very old school teacher or being the first one to get up in the morning or in having breakfast in bed on a cool frosty morning and many more pleasures derived from otherwise mundane happenings. They believe that the happiness is in recognizing these and other small but sweet pleasures of life. Ever since I read that book in a 24 hours bookstore in Taiwan, I have been exercising my find to recognise many such simple and sweet pleasures of life.

I came across one such sweet pleasure last evening when I watched the movie, Talwar. This movie directed by Meghana Gulzar is based on real and shocking murder of Aarushi Talwar for which her doctor parents were convivted. The movie is quite good but the story is a sad one and watching the movie questions the inept handling of the case and highlights many glaring inconsistencies in the story of prosecution. Movie is quite good to feel and better know the times we are living in. But that is not the reason of writing this piece.432123697

Actually the movie had only few paid preview shows on this Thursday in Lucknow, as it formally got released on Friday as any other movie does in India. However, on insistence of my wife for watching it on very first day, I booked two tickets for the 7:45 evening show. Before that I had to do my office followed by evening walk at Lohia park. I was aware that if i got late in leaving the office, I will be hard pressed to reach cinema hall in time.

I had a bad start. I left the office almost 43 minutes behind the schedule at 5:43 PM and rushed still to Lohia Park-a great spot for walkers and joggers in Lucknow. I did my rounds there and curtailing my walk a bit left the park around 6:25. I now had only one hour and twenty minutes to go back to my house, take a shower and then come back to movie hall before 7:45 pm. The times was short as my residence is more than 12 km away from my office and park and, the movie hall I chose among limited options on Thursday was a good 10 km away from my home. I could still manage if I reached home in good time and could turn around quickly with my wife to the PVR cinema hall in Hazratganj.


I started to roll from Lohia park, but just then I recalled my morning chat with my sweet daughter as she was leaving for school in the morning. She had requested me to come back with her favorite cake while returning from office in the evening. Her request in the morning was a personal one as she does not make many requests while going dutifully to her school. I had seen her eyes and could sense that as a kid she was yearning for a cake really. That may be perhaps also due to the pressures of the exam she was facing since last week, as owing to the exam, she had slept late and even remain awoke during few previous nights. I was in a dilemma, because if I went to her favorite shop in busy Hazratganj at the evening traffic hour, I could not have made to movie at scheduled time. I had to choose one. Either the movie with the wife or a cake for the daughter. I took few seconds in deciding, but finally the request of the daughter prevailed over  the prospect of watching a thriller on time. It was not as if I was very happy to take that call but my fatherly instinct asked me to give preference to that only.

I rushed therefore to the traffic of Hazratganj and as expected got in the traffic jam of the evening. Waiting in the traffic, I was feeling the pressure of the situation and kept on looking at my mobile phone clock to recalculate the time I would eventually need to reach back to cinema. I managed to reach the shop after some tough traffic negotiations and purchased the best possible cake in  the shortest possible time. I almost jumped back into my vehicle with the cake. The clock was showing 6:55 pm by now. I was still 10 odd km away from my house and had many more things to do. I was anxious for the movie but at the same was happy for dutifully buying the cake for my daughter from her favorite shop.a-daughter-may-outgrow-your-lap-but-she-will-never-outgrow-your-heart-quote-1

I took a deep breath to ease myself and managed to reach my house only by 7:11 pm. With cake and pastries in may hands I just barged into room of my daughter and proudly presented the cake to her. She was really happy to see her wish fulfilled. She thanked me profusely and went to kitchen to get the plates etc for cutting the cake and eating it with all of us. I was happy to see her happy and glancing at the clock, pushed myself into the bath room and took a shower as quickly as possible. Its so relieving and freshening to take a shower after sweating out at this time of the year. Meanwhile my daughter was ready with the knife etc. to cut the cake we enjoyed the cake. The smile on her face alleviated my oncoming agony of watching a thriller movie late. I just hugged her and left for the movie with my wife at 7:30 pm. It was still at least 25 minutes away from the multiplex. I took another deep breath and shared with my wife the pleasure of seeing my daughter happy.


I reached the multiplex by 7:58 and rushed to the audi showing the movie Talwar. It took another 5 minutes to get into the lift and to make it to the audi. As I rushed inside the hall, I was amazed to see that the movie was starting to roll just then, at 8:03 to be precise! I heaved a sigh of relief and had a real big smile of life at the situation. It was hard to believe my luck as I was not expecting the late start of the movie beyond 5 or maximum of 10 minutes. But here it was late by 18 minutes. It was sheer luck or something else? Did some circumstances ‘conspired'( Rhonda Byrne of ‘Secret’ fame will vouch for that for sure)  for so late start to compensate me for conceding to my daughter’s request? I don’t know actually. But it was such a sweet pleasure to witness the start of movie so late when you have reached late yourself. I had done a great job really. With my wife on my side, I sunk into plush seats of hall to watch the thriller in the right earnest but not before thanking God for bestowing me with a little sweet daughter some 16 years ago.Father’s-Day-Gift-Ideas-for-Kids-4

I can now say that ” Happiness is in watching a movie after sharing a cake with your daughter and getting late but not more than the start of the movie!” Perhaps Ralph and Lisa may include that in their next edition!!!

Eslite: The 24 hour Book Shop in Taiwan

The Eslite Bookshop

The Eslite Bookshop

During my stay in Taiwan, I got to know about a book shop in Taiwan which opens for 24 hours! I was really surprised to hear that as there is none in huge country like India. I decided to visit it myself. I had my dinner first and then I headed for the bookshop. I reached around 10 pm and as I entered inside, was surprised to witness a good rush of the people there. The book shop was really crowded. The young and old, men and women, boys and girls, everybody was there.

The bookshop is huge one and has books on practically all topics under the sun. What was even more interesting was, that the bookshop had a reading area too. While usually a book shop will keep its book under covers and will not encourage reading them inside the store, the philosophy of Eslite is different. They want their customers to read there itself, you buy it or not. They usually display a sample copy for the purpose. I saw many individuals reading book in full silence.

Readers Inside the Book Shop

Readers Inside the Book Shop

I too looked around for a book, which Ii could read and enjoy in that great book reading environment. I laid my hands on ‘Happiness is…..500 things to be Happy About’ by Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar. The book has some great one liners underling the real happiness feelings hidden in small pleasures of life and nature. According to authors and I ditto that, Happiness can be in getting wet in rain. It can be in eating food cooked by your mother after long time. It can be in going to catch a bus and boarding the bus just by whisker or getting a lift to go up as you enter a building instead of waiting with pressed buttons.

Reading in Eslite

Reading in Eslite

I liked the book and to avail the opportunity of reading the book sat on a step up stool and gone through a large part of the book. I was really happy to be there around midnight and reading a book like in a library. Just opposite to the main entrance of the book shop, there is a decent coffee shop too and if you are feeling tired and sleepy even at midnight, you can go and buy the coffee too. It was really a perfect setting.

As I finished a good portion of book in the book shop without buying the book, I can very well say that, ” Happiness is also in reading a book in a bookshop without having to buy that.”

Thanks Eslite. We will like to have you here in India.