Saturday, October 10, 2009


I live in North India, and for the past few days, the weather has become distinctly cooler and invigorating. The mornings are crisp. This is also the festive season in India. It was Dussehra a couple weeks back, Karwa Chauth is just past, and Diwali is round the corner.

There is celebration in the air, the markets are decked up, and kids especially are having a great time bursting crackers, eating sweets and are enjoying a forgiving atmosphere of noise and naughtiness.

One of the virtues in Buddhism is that of Mudita, being happy in others' joy (as opposed to being envious or cynical). There was a time, during my Vedanata years, when I used to scoff at circumstantial joys as merely escapism and distraction, but no more.

It is a pleasure to see people happy, even if their happiness derives from their passions or from the environment. Not only is happiness (in whatever form) enabling of an appreciation of being alive (as opposed to the denial of life in religion), it is also a respite for otherwise stressed human beings who spend most of their days in various kinds of struggles.

The "mundane" pleasures of eating, drinking, frolicking, enjoying the lights and sounds, shopping for new things for the house, gambling, getting dressed at one's best, and even elaborate ceremonies at temples, are welcome signs of people enjoying earthly life. Yes, it is consumptive, yes, it is polluting, yes, it is temporary, and one wishes there were more healthy ways of enjoying the festive season... But the joy on people's faces is there, and it is cynical to begrudge it.

During this time, one is filled with good wishes for all, and die-hard fogeys like me wish that instead of buying a "Season's Greetings" card, one could find a card which said "Life's Greetings".

Have a good time, ye all!

(photo courtesy


Anonymous said...

contagious spirit in the post! i had a smile of my face instantly!

Anonymous said...

reap the Autumn!

Ujwal Batra said...

It was refreshing to read this really..i've usually read really heavy and dark stuff on your blog..:)
i could relate to what you said..even i went through this strange phase in my life when i was trying to define happiness and dismissed the simple joys in life as stupid and transitory..but i've gone past that..the more you go into abstractions, the more happiness eludes you..
I write a little..being in 12th does not give me enough opportunities to write though..i would really appreciate some feedback from you..