O Happiness, How Do I Chase Thee?

Does this kid in the picture seem happy to you?

happy kid smiling

Yesterday, Rati and I had a fight during the day. Later, I went to office in the afternoon and came back late at night. The fight still wasn’t resolved and we exchanged some monosyllables, watched TV and had dinner; she went to bed alone and I kept awake watching TV late in the night as is my habit.

The movie that I sat watching in the night was ”The Invisible.’ The movie is about a Teenager who is attacked by a gang because of mistaken identity and is left to die, his body dumped in a sewer. The next morning, he discovers he cannot be seen – he is now a spirit in a state of limbo and can just observe others. Only his attacker, a girl, can hear his voice. The movie then shows the struggle of the teenager, how he tries hard to convince the girl to save him from dying, to tell the others where his body lies and rescue him. After a longg long struggle, the girl finally saves the teenager and dies herself in the process.

I had a heavy feeling in my heart while watching the movie. After it got over I kept sitting in my rocking chair and thinking for a long time. I kept thinking about the boy, about his grieving mom who believed he had died somewhere, and about his panic on learning that he was about to lose his life permanently if he didn’t do something. I kept thinking about how beautiful life is; how beautiful it is just to be alive. I kept thinking about how I had forgotten the sheer joy of being able to live; the sheer pleasure of living with the person I love. If I had been dying today I would have regretted so much that I wasted my day with my wife over a stupid fight.

Sitting in my rocking chair, I remembered the whole year in 2008 when Rati was kept in custody at home by her parents because they didn’t want her married to me. We kept in touch with each other secretly and kept giving each other strength. Those were hard times, particularly so because I was struggling with two businesses in their initial stages- TathaGat and TotalGadha.com. On top of that, Rati frequently called up on phone and burst into tears because her mom or dad had said something unpleasant. Worried though I was because of my business, I tried hard to cheer Rati up during those phone calls; promising her that we would be together. There were nights during that year when I would suddenly jerk awake in my empty bed, with a cold fear in my heart. I realized that I never wanted to sleep alone in my life. I never wanted to live a life where I wouldn’t have anyone to hold in my arms. I was going to fight for Rati, no matter how long or how hard I had to fight.

Our love did win in the end. And we got married.

And I sat wondering in my chair last night why it is that I fought so hard to win the love of my life and then I wasted so much of my time not celebrating our togetherness!

I was so consumed with worries about my future that I had forgotten the present.

I went back to bed and hugged and hugged my wife. She was happy in the morning and it was really really a fresh lovely day. πŸ™‚

While I was on the verge of falling asleep last night, I was also reviewing my life during the past one year.

Today, I own the biggest makeup and beauty blog on the internet; a blog which has aspired many women to start their own makeup blogs. Not only that, I also own the test prep company which is known as the best MBA test prep company in Delhi. But most important of all, I have a wife who loves me a lot. I have found true love in life and managed to keep it.

So why am I still so dissatisfied? Why am I so restless that I am unable to enjoy what I have fought so hard to achieve?

When was the last time I lay in my couch reading a book the whole day?

I realized that my fears and dreams about my future had eaten into my present.
Don’t get me wrong here. I am not an unhappy person. I am also not a snappy or brusque person in manner. I am a very funny guy who enjoys life a lot. I am also one of those fortunate persons who have found their metier in life. I love what I do- I love teaching, I love blogging, and I love running a business. In short, there is nothing in my life to make me unhappy. But still this restlessness in me, this unknown fear about the future… why?

Your Dreams Won’t Let You Sleep!

Rati and I are two persons who have seen most of their dreams come true. Rati already owns most of the stuff she wanted to own in her early life. I have already achieved the biggest thing I always dreamt about- that I wouldn’t have to wake up at 8:00 am everyday to get ready for office. In short, we have done what we wanted to do. But the catch is that the more dreams that are getting fulfilled, the more new dreams that are coming up. And each new dream makes us run faster, jump higher, struggle harder. We are becoming greedier and greedier. We want more and more out of our lives.

So what’s wrong with that?
Rajat, my partner in TathaGat, seems to be going through the same phenomenon. A couple of days ago, we were discussing about opening a new centre in Noida. While calculating the finances of running and setting up the center, we realized that the center would take some amount from our profit. It was not a big thing though. We had the money, and if the center didn’t work we would not face such a big crisis in life. Still, we both got worried about what would happen if the center failed.

Today, coming back together in the car, I asked Rajat, “Yaar, we opened our organization when we had practically no money in our accounts. We took loans. Today we have money in our accounts. Why are we so worried about opening a center which we can easily afford?” He said, “It’s because we have made so many plans and dreams with that money that we are scared that our plans would be blown away if that money is gone.”

Bang on. He had put finger on the problem that had been gnawing in my mind since last night. The problem put simply was, “Why was I not enjoying the present?” Rajat had given me my answer.

The problem was not with my dreams. Over time my dreams had become bigger and bigger, but that was all right. The problem was that my fear about my dreams not coming true was preventing me from enjoying the present moments. I was so bothered about the destination that I stopped enjoying the journey. I had forgotten one golden rule of life-

The Journey is the Destination

I read the first Harry Potter book a month after it came out. Like every Happy Potter fan, I was hooked on to it instantly; the magical world of Hogwarts, the game of Quidditch, the dark forest, the hidden passages, etc. and above all, the mysterious and fearsome Voldemort- the dark lord.

Years passed on, and I would wait for one Harry Potter book after another, reading about new plots of Voldemort to kill Harry, reading about new strange creatures, hating professor Snape, loving Dumbledore, wishing that Harry would find a girlfriend, and what not… But most importantly, I so wanted Harry to defeat and kill Voldemort.

Finally, in the last book of the series, the moment I had waited for came at last. Harry managed to kill Voldemort. In the next few pages, as I read about the magical world rejoicing the death of Voldemort, the bitter truth dawned on me- it was over! Voldemort was dead and there would not be another Harry Potter book. The end had come and gone. And I felt empty. And I realised that what I had enjoyed the most was NOT the end but the journey.

And this is the underlying cause of my dissatisfaction. I am not enjoying the journey because I am too concerned about the end.

Soothsayer: Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that doesn’t make you who you are. It is the rest of your story, who you choose to be. (Kungfu Panda- 2)

Before writing this post, I had already made my decision to change some little things in my life; tinker a little bit about how I feel. I am going to enjoy my time with my wife. I don’t want our moments to slip away. My dreams will come in due time and I shall keep working for them. They would happen when they are meant to happen. Meanwhile, I would relish each moment of my struggle. And if I lose my dreams, I would lose them knowing that I gave them my best shot. But I would stop being scared. I shall enjoy all the moments, big or small.

Po: Maybe I should just quit and go back to making noodles.
Oogway: Quit, don’t quit, Noodle, don’t noodle, you are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.”

Remember- Β Life’s happiness lies in the journey NOT in the destination!


58 thoughts on “O Happiness, How Do I Chase Thee?

  1. Sanjeev very well said.. life is in the journey not the destination.

    I have been following IMBB for almost 2 years now and have read your and Rati’s story every time you posted about it and somewhere it touches a chord and truly inspires me.. I admire you both and you deserve every bit of success and happiness that you see today.

    I totally understand at times we get so consumed in life worrying about future, consumed with fear that things and time will just slip by if we don’t rush in and in that process we forget to be grateful for what the present has bestowed us with and forget to cherish the lil moments and things in life…. and then realisation strikes that at times we also need to just relax, lay back and enjoy one of the most precious gifts of life.. “The Present”… πŸ™‚

  2. Thats an amazing part of your life that you have shared with us. Thank you. I think we should all be try our best to be who we are, follow our passions and dreams, be fearless (but not foolish). Sooooo well said Sanjeev. Lovely piece to read so early in the day. This article will keep me motivated for along time to come. Learnt very late in life that i should be who i am and not think about pleasing other ppl. (Never any end to that and its very sad when ppl then dont live up to your expectations).

  3. I have been reading this blog for a while but never felt the need to comment. Your post on a Sunday morning touched a cord somewhere. I applaud you for being so honest, it’s one thing to admit things in your mind and sharing it with world , it requires courage. You are a brave person to do that.
    I wish you to all the very best in life and most important, love for each other.

    Thanks for reminding us the pleasures of life’s journey !

  4. Good to see a man and a husband put down his feelings and fears in words. You have already won half the battle by knowing what you want in the present…bravo!

  5. I couldn’t thank you more for this piece, sanjeev sir!
    I’m going through something very similar to your early struggles, and I needed this.

    Thank you πŸ™‚

  6. Wow sanjeevji….thnk u so much for this post….its really touching n makes us think what happiness is exactly…….it was a grt start for my Sunday morning….
    Best wishes for you and Rati,stay happy,stay blessed πŸ™‚
    N this post is bestest post( I always preferred ootd’s)… *clap* *clap*

  7. Its Sunday morning and I get to read such a wonderful thought, on life, on happiness! After reading this, I have decided to make those little changes in my life too, thanks soooooo much Sanjeevji πŸ™‚ You both contribute a lot to my life *cry* I was a rebel, I am not anymore, I have learnt to put good use of my time and anger. You might not realize, but each day is a learning experience for me and at the end of the day, I make small changes in my life, and the next day I wake up as a better person. Thankssssssss *thankyou* Neha, you too, you are my extended family now *puchhi*

    After reading this post, I am in a dilemma – whether Rati loves you more or whether you love her more. Sorry for divulging it here Rati, but Sat and Sunday Rati suffers from a syndrome – “Seriously Missing Sanjeevsingh” *hihi* *hihi* *hihi* *hihi* Neha and me know all about it *hihi* *hihi*

      1. Sanjeevji…..honestly speaking, I think Rati LOVEEEEEEEEEEESS you more *hunterwali* someone who loves you with her heart and soul……

  8. Thank you so much everyone πŸ™‚ Just wrote what I was going through yesterday. Didn’t know if I should publish it on IMBB or not. Glad that I did. πŸ™‚

  9. What a lovely post! Thought provoking!Specially loved the way it has been summarized, to enjoy the current moment-big or small.
    We tend to spend a lot of energy in worrying excessively about the future, or thinking about our past-maybe how we could have done things differently. What we don’t realize is neither past nor future is in our hands. I live in Mumbai and whenever we had plans to go out or when we go out and it rains, I used to fret and worry about traffic, reaching our destination on time, get angry in the process. But when I see my four year old sticking her hand out of the window trying to collect droplets of rain in her hand and enjoying it, she reminds me how we adults have forgotten to enjoy the small things in life!

  10. Sanjeevji, this was wonderful post to read in the morning… U r a very inspiring person, and everything u said is so bang on abt what’s happening in my life right now. I struggled hard to find a job with everything I loved about it, struggled to become an employee from an intern, yet now when I have all this, I still fret too much abt the future.. This is a post which is gonna make everyone introspect. My admiration for u went even higher πŸ™‚

  11. Sanjeevji that is such a brilliant post…. I can relate to it bcoz nearly the same situation ws there at my place sumwer in this wk… all my insecurities and tension regarding my exams career future has made me so worried that I forgot bout simple joys that I share with my parents.. me n my mum had sum argument n v ended up not talking for an entire day… i always do things that keep her happy n that day i cant describe how empty i felt. that day I realised how foolish I hv been all d time…. just bcoz of d worries of d future I ignored the power of present! If I manage performing my duties n working towards my ultimate goal y shld der b any worry for future. If at all I dont succeed I kno I hv given it my best shot! This post comes at the time when I m also going thru the same thought processes as u! Thank you for those lovely thoughts… they encourage me alot! *clap*

  12. Omgggg this is like wonderful *woot* *woot* *woot* you are the best writer on IMBB seriously *haan ji* *haan ji* *whistle* when i was going through your and Rati di’s story i was sooo touched and felt like crying *cry* we have the best things in life presently but we don’t really realise that’s the scenario with everyone out here… because we worry about the future and that is what eats the brain *hifive* i loved you article a lot and keep posting such posts to inspire everyone out here *hifive* *clap* *clap* *clap*

  13. Sanjeev…what u have written is so true…each and every bit…We are so caught up with our past and future worries…that we tend to forget that life is so short and we ought to live each and every day to its fullest…every year on my birthday I think that there is no need to celebrate as I have lost one precious year of my life but then I congratulate myself that I have passed another one year with grace and dignity and that encourages me to celebrate…. *happydance* *happydance* …………so everybody “leave your past aside, now go and live your present day”!! Cheers!! *pompom* *pompom*

  14. It was beautiful. You’re so right.

    People get lost when they think of happiness as a destination. We’re always thinking that someday we’ll be happy, you know when we get that car or job or that person who will fix everything. But happiness is a condition, not a destination. It’s like being tired or hungry. It comes & goes & that’s okay. & if people thought of it that way, they would find happiness a lot more often. -Julian Baker, one tree hill.

    At the end, the journey is the destination. These little moments of love & happiness make up our lives & that’s what we’ll recollect when we’re taking our last breaths.

  15. Sanjeev Sir, WOW! The way you have written this post!
    So true problems in life may come and go, well that is life! Bit you should always thank and live in the person. I had recently read a very nice article more on a spiritual side on the attitude of gratitude… That read Changed me ands gain this read!
    Thank you… May god bless you both!

  16. Thanks for sharing this Sanjeev! After a long time I had a pillow fight with my kids and rolled laughing… Thanks for reminding me my philosophy! Sometimes you get so stuck up in finishing stuff that living life takes a backseat! A standing ovation to you, Rati and IMBB for daring to be yourselves in this day and age of hipocracy! You guys are an inspiration!

  17. How wonderfully put Sanjeev. Exactly the emotion and mindset that my husband and I are going thru together at this very moment in our lives. ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the β€œpresent.”’ My favvvv quote…and yet so hard for me to follow and bring it into everyday struggles….or should I correctly call it “life’s gifts.”.. Thanks for the post… it has me reminiscing…. and I feel blessed to have my husband and the life we have built together. lots of love and luck xxxx

  18. Cute cuter cutest *clap* *clap* *clap*
    My first thoughts after seeing the baby’s pic were that Rati di is gonna be a momma πŸ˜› *happydance* then I after I read the entire post it was just so warm.
    *haan ji*

  19. Seriously Sanjeev …i dunno if i shd cry or smile over what i just read…these posts are so inspiring n literally lift our spirits…im so happy for Rati n u…God bless you both..honestly…plz do write more often…u never know..it cld be an opening for someone…am moved reading this… *oye balle* *oye balle* *clap* *clap*

  20. Luvd this post…i taught the same thing to my students last week…to be happy in the process of doing of things and not to wait till the end….

  21. Great post!!! *clap* *clap*

    Also, happy to know that you’re a potterhead too!!! *happy dance* *happy dance* *happy dance*

    btw.. today is september 1st *hihi*

  22. Wonderful article! The way you related the feeling of reading and finishing the Harry Potter series with our day to day life.. simple, yet very true. Our daily stresses and worries about future, be it exams, business, jobs etc. weigh us down more. We always imagine the worst that is going to happen. The thing is to give your best in the present and enjoy it knowing that your future will be sorted out by the hard work you are putting in now.

  23. Wow,how nicely you put your thoughts Sanjeevji. Its takes lots og guts for a guy to open up in front of all. Rati you are very lucky to have a husband like him. Felt very good after reading your post. God bless you both.

  24. how beautiful sanjeev ji , I am late coz i wanted to read it in peace and soak it in.
    Like Rati put it today to me on the phone, “life is beautiful, its a good life” I think you both are achievers and should really enjoy what you have worked for, things in future will be even better, because of the kind of people you both are!

  25. I have been following your blog ( a daily morning fix) for over a year. This is my first comment here. Rati, you landed the absolute motherlode with this guy…such an awww making post..you are such a fabulous couple

  26. Oh man… Sanjeev what a post πŸ™‚ *happy dance*
    I almost got senti and can relate to it πŸ™‚ *cry*
    U are so talanted and your posts so motivating πŸ™‚
    God bless u both πŸ™‚ *puchhi*
    Enjoy your destination *happydance*

  27. Kudos to you Sanjeev ji for writing out your thoughts in such a beautiful manner. Its a pleasure to read your privileged articles. In fact, I can miss many product reviews but not your’s or Rati’s personal posts πŸ™‚
    Your journey has all the masala to make a bollywood movie of one of its kind but in the meantime, you both have become an integral part of some many of ours lives. And one thing you have mentioned aptly here that you both are inspiration for many of us and seeing you people only, we have attempted to have a blog πŸ™‚
    I would have loved to work with you on makeupandbeauty but being in a job, I couldn’t take out that much time and hence got my own :). But, inspiration definitely you are.

    Hope you achieve whatever you aspire to in life and lots and lots of good wishes to both of you πŸ™‚

  28. Hi Sanjeev Ji,
    I am a regular reader of this blog but somehow i inadvertently end up liking your posts more that the makeup and beauty reviews.Period. Well personally i always wonder, what is happiness?? I think it is transitory, a little something between two vast zones of unhappiness. I apologize if I come across as pessimistic but I sincerely believe that in all of us there is an inbuilt happiness meter. I mean I can get lucky and win a billion dollar lottery and buy all those branded soaked in consumerism high end stuff and still end up being sad eventually or not satisfied in a more general way. I can buy a great car I fancy, the sight of which will make me happy but somehow the novelty will wear off and there will be something new that will become a goal to be made my own. What I am trying to say is that happiness is not attached to goals or people, what you dream off and what you own today are goals that were achieved. Yes, success gives you satisfaction of winning but can you really tie lifelong happiness to it. Moments make people happy and become a part of their memory but, (paraphrasing Woody Allen) at the end of the day everything that you value, whether Shakespeare or Chanel or whatever, will be gone. The sun will be gone and so will the earth. We came from nothingness and the circle will back there. The best you can do to get through life is distraction. Love works as a distraction and work works as a distraction. The key is to distract ourselves so we really don’t have to face up the facts that we are temporary people and very inconsequential in the lagrer scheme of things.

    You are a brainiac for sure. You think, you analyse, you plan but somethings are internal plumbing and at times (in the words of Paul McCartney) its best to just let it be. Its ok to sometimes be unhappy and dissatisfied and be lost because only those who are lost find a way!!!

    I am sorry for being so chatty but i love the fact that although it is none of anyone’s business you still wrote so candidly on a public forum.You seem like a great husband !!

    “It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking: How did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue. And maybe we can actually never have it, no matter what. How did he know that?” (pursuit of happiness)

    1. We are going to go into circular arguments here but let me add more paradoxical twist to yours- if you understand that happiness is a transitory phase between two miserable ones and misery is a transitory phase between two happy ones, the knowledge itself should make you calmer and happier. If everything is transitory, and we know it to be so, we wouldn’t worry so much. πŸ™‚

  29. This is very meaningful writing and has come from your soul. We have forgotten to live because of our conditioning and set ways which we have been taught right from childhood and seen in other’s way of living, we try to emulate thinking that maybe correct. But we do not know what is right for us. What feels right must come from our heart.
    I have also reached a phase in life after a myriad of experiences where I have sat back to think why I have done what I have done and why I still do what I do. How to change to live a free life, a happy life and a meaningful existence. Money comes and goes, so will jobs and other things attached to it. but what will never go is love and that love has to be understood and worked around to meet our happiness and way of life and goals. Staying in this moment is what we have all forgotten while we were running a rat race. It’s true we need money and materials for life but the question is how much…and why we are saving like crazy for a day in the future which may not come because of the worries and stress we accumulate in our present fighting for that future…which who knows we may or may not live. so we have to live in the present. thank you for such a meaningful post Sanjeev, please write your thoughts and such lovely posts in future.,…i would like to read through them too as i had a very similar struggle to yours.

  30. Thank you so much for your this post. I felt how a successful person like you realized the meaning of happiness. Right now I am looking for job and I have not able to get the right one which has really made me feel so inferior and worrisome, but after reading this, you have made me rethink my life, moments and memories. Thank you Sanjeevji and your wife is one of the most b’ful woman in the world. No flattering.. she is indeed. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  31. I don’t know about others, but after writing this post I have been really calm and peaceful for the last so many days. Went to book stores and bought loads of novels; been reading and reading since.

    Life is good. πŸ™‚

  32. Speechless….what a post yaar………I got senti πŸ™ *cry*
    God bless u both πŸ™‚ *puchhi*
    Take care guys…………..Love & Care

  33. I do feel my life similar to yours.. but I’m still in the pre marriage stage.. *waaa*
    Absolutely loved the bond between you both.. Before reading this post I always worried about how I’ll convince my parents about my love but I’ve no doubts in my mind now. *haan ji* πŸ™‚
    Will do whatever it comes to be happy and to be with the one I love the most.. *haan ji* *hifive*
    Thanks a lot for this awesome, motivating article.. *thankyou*
    I’m a new reader and I love your blog cos it showed me how beautiful I am.. *haan ji* *clap*
    I’m now on my way to shock the world to show the real me, the beautiful girl.. *jai ho*
    *thankyou* *thankyou* πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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