“I’m sorry sir, but I need a week’s time to pay off my debts. I’ve been financially unstable for a few months and I would appreciate a little patience from your end. I can assure you, that one week from now, you will have your money”.
“You better do it. If not, we will have no choice but to confiscate your property”.
The guy on the other end cut off the line and I threw my mobile beside on the bench.
I looked around. I am sitting in a park. I see kids playing, trees swinging in wind, birds chirping and the entire aura is enjoyable. And yet, I am stressed.
I put my hands on my forehead and lie on my knees. I’m frustrated. I can’t find happiness in my life.
“Friend, my dear friend”. I feel a hand patting my head. I rise up slowly.
“What’s wrong”, he asked me. “Who the hell are you”, I replied in a rather rude manner.
“Well, consider me as a friend. May be I can help you”.
“For God’s sake, get out of here, give me some peace”. I returned back to my position.
“Ok, I will. Just so you know, nothing changes by sleeping”, he replied in a sarcastic way.
I got up and looked at him angrily.
“Jeez, relax”, he responded. “What do you want?”
“I was meaning to ask you that question. What do YOU want”?, he replied.
“Are you mad? That’s what I asked you”.
“Just tell me. What’s the most important thing that you miss in your life now”?
I kept quiet for a while , and this guy kept staring at me, which freaked me out.
“Happiness”, I replied.
“You asked me what I want the most. I want happiness”.
“You drive a Benz, wear a branded shirt, have a Rolex. It’s interesting when people like you beg for happiness in life”.
Yes he was right. I had all those he mentioned. Damn, he is great observer, I thought to myself. Then I took some time to observe him.
He was sitting on a wheel chair walk. He wore a torn shirt, and somewhat faded jeans. He sure seemed older than my dad. He didn’t have a Rolex, nor a benz, but he still had one thing which I didn’t. A smile.
“Why are you looking at me like that”?, he asked me.
“So, what’s your problem?”
“Money”, I replied.
“So you own a luxury car and a highest branded watch, yet money is your problem?”
“Well, for your information, my car is still on loan and I just paid off my EMI on the watch”, I replied frustrating.
“Why did you buy them if you can’t afford them?”.
“Because I am expected to. Society doesn’t respect you unless you are rich. So you have to be rich, or at least portray yourself as rich. That’s what I did”.
“Is this funny for you? And by the way, what do you have to smile about, uh? You are in a wheel chair with torn clothes. It’s not like you are a millionaire”.
Just after I spoke those words, I realized how dumb, rude, stupid and extremely immoral it was.
“Who said I need to be a millionaire to be happy? Look, son. If you think being happy is all about owing luxuries products which you actually cannot afford, then you have learnt nothing from life.”
I couldn’t believe it but I willingly wanted to listen to this strange guy more. “Go on” I said.
“Happiness is a relative term, my friend. For instance, I would give anything to walk on my own legs. While you, despite having the gift of mobile legs, decided to go ahead and purchase a car which is off your affordability limits. Understand, happiness isn’t about what you have, it’s about appreciating and enjoying what you have.”
I couldn’t help but simply nod at him. I don’t understand. He doesn’t seem like a rich guy, he doesn’t seem like an educated man. He doesn’t even have legs to walk. But he is happy. He is smiling.
“It’s simple. Happiness is not associated with a product or a position. It’s simply a state of being. It’s simply being able to accept what you have and cherish them, enjoy them. Every time you ride on your car, you will feel stressed. Because it’s still not entirely yours. Try to take a walk. You will feel more happy than you feel in your stupid Benz. Satisfaction is the key to happiness, and acceptance is the key to satisfaction. I don’t have legs, but still am happy. How? Because I have this chair which helps me move. Isn’t that the damn purpose of legs anyway? It doesn’t matter you have a Benz or a Hyundai. The purpose is the same. So choose wisely. “
“What?”, he asked me.
“Thank you” I replied.
I took my phone and dialed the bank. “ I don’t care if you confiscate my car, or my house. Take whatever you want to take, clear my loan, and send me the balance amount.”
I stood up and kept my head high. I’ve never felt more alive. I don’t have a damn loan to care about. I don’t have to please my fellow colleagues. I don’t care what others think of what car I own, or what brand of shirt I wear. I don’t live for them anymore, I live for myself.