What with March 20 being International Day of Happiness and all the buzz leading up to it, I’ve been pondering on the question: “What really makes me happy” Mi.

I had the biggest shock last week, Mi. I had a date with a lovely friend and called her to confirm the time, only to have her son answer the phone and inform me that she was no more. It was devastating. You know this is not the first time I am losing a close friend and you also know how I try to cope and carry on. You’d think it would get easier – but it doesn’t.

This time, I ended up taking stock of my life. I know how profound that sounds. I am determined to do what makes me happy, because when I am happy, it is easier to make others feel the same way – or at least nudge them in that direction.

So what makes me happy? Of course family and friends equal happiness. But you know what they say about the little things!

Coffee

You knew that, didn’t you? I miss those sacred moments we shared together, enjoying our coffee, as we basked in the early morning rays of the sun on our verandah. I pretend we’re still doing it. Except I am alone now.

coffee

Walking makes me happy

Besides the obvious reason – exercise, you know I love to walk. On the terrace, when I go out. Especially in the company of my camera and Vidur. Do you remember those long walks around the area when we first came to this city? We would drop Vidur at play school and take off to explore. What a pleasure it was! Then we used to rush back in time to pick him up, already worrying about lunch.

Cooking

I am still surprised after all these years – about finding so much happiness in cooking. Oh I see you smiling away – after all, whose daughter? There’s something so soothing and therapeutic about creating a dish and then, the bonus? Having the folks enjoy it with gusto. I am even more surprised to find myself being a creative cook. Switching up ingredients, experimenting, decorating – ah! So much to explore and play with. The day before yesterday, I made one of Vidur’s favorites – brinjal telangana style. So Yum! And because he’s home, pizza galore.

Which reminds me it is time to make the podis! I had a bunch of coriander just imploring me to make them into a chutney and woo-hoo – I did it. It is a killer and turned out exactly like you make it, Mi!

Comedy films

My 100% standby pick-me-ups! Nothing like a solid belly laugh to trigger those happy hormones! Whether it is Vivek or Velu comedy, or Vidur’s cartoon programs, I am always guaranteed a good time!

Music

Ah, my playlists! Best part? No more desperately digging around to find that particular song because we have YouTube zindabad. Just log in and I am ready to travel down the happiness path! A playlist for each occasion – cleaning house, writing deadlines, reading company…oh, everything.

Reading

Books. Enough said. My stash of books makes me so happy, Mi. Oh, how I wish you were around to share the abundance. You would have been in heaven! Oh wait – you are already there, right? Boo hoo!

happy place book

South Indian Thali

Just yesterday T and I were gloating over those days when we would gorge on the South Indian Thali at our favorite joint – our house. Haha. We still hanker after it. Some things never change eh?

Window shopping

Oh the joy! I love to walk in our area, window shopping, especially looking at the street vendors with their wares. Such good sales fellows – they manage to convince the onlooker far better than any posh outlet. I love to take pictures of those!

Cleaning

Really. But you know that’s just a cover for wallowing in nostalgia with my stack of papers and old letters and laughing and crying. But I also get work done, so it is a happy win-win. We all know I enjoy moving furniture when I am upset. I am laughing at the Stevie Wonder joke!

Photo Albums

I love poring over my photo albums. That camera is my happiest possession. I just love that I can bring home memories in pictures and have fabulous trips on memory lane as I recall those moments. Sigh. Remember how you used to lose patience after the first half hour – and marvel at how I could keep at it for hours together? Funny thing is I love looking at pictures of people I don’t know. And now, thanks to digital media, even storage is a breeze without the freaky dusting!

Memories

What would I do without them? Happiness is a walk down memory lane at least in my case. And memories of you are the mainstay of my happy place, Mi. Now that it is summer, I remember how we used to stock up our fridge with cold drinks and literally live on fruits and salads and curd rice. Ah, and how Vidur would insist on removing the fizz before drinking it because the doctor once told him so! Sigh.

I suppose that list could go on and on. It is nice that once we focus on what makes us happy, it is easy to find countless ways. After all, was it not you who taught me that strategy?