Inducing Happiness: The European Way

It is the process by which people tend to “induce” happiness into their lives at the cost of their fellow beings and then feel good about it rather than deriving happiness by “making” it happen by means of your sincere deeds – quite the European way as I have been observing since September.
Thing is simple. A few weeks ago, I received this mail from a friend based out of Lisbon which read like this:

Hello guys.. As you know I am leaving for the States next week. You guys have been really awesome and I have no words to express my gratitude for all the support and love. I sure am gonna miss you all when I am in Boston. I was thinking that it would be good if we can all meet up one last time for a dinner. I will be very happy and fortunate to have you amidst the company of me and my friends, during the last moments of my stay in Portugal.

I propose that we meet on Saturday at around 2000 at <Restaurant Name> <Address>. The choice of the cuisine is meditteranean as most of you would prefer, includes <general menu>. And the cost per person would be around 20 euros, not more than that inclusive of drinks. 

This man in the letter included  the “You guys have been awesome….my and love“, ” I would be very happy and fortunate….” and then delivered the sucker punch by announcing the “cost per person….” sentence – all in the span of 5-6 lines of the same letter. And letters/mails like these come, every other week.
Well if he was so happy and fortunate and sad that he would miss all of us, he should have hosted a dinner and paid up the expenses by himself. Atleast that is what is done if you are genuinely happy back where I hail from. You invite your friends and spend a wonderful evening with them, spreading laughter and cheer and then you make it even more wonderful by being the perfect host and appreciating their decision to spend quality time with you. I would pay to do this, but then my idea of not believing in celebrations makes life a lot more easier. Why do it when you want to “induce” rather than make it happen by itself?
So to sum up, I ended up going for the dinner because he has been a wonderful man and for the sake of his happiness, I ended up spending 20 euros (1350 INR). That is the price that I burn to see a smile on his face and make sure everything is right between us. Am I happy doing this? Well, you know by now….

:: Spotlight ::

I am somehow able to remember the dreams that I experience. I am afraid I might be alone in this world when I come to say that, but I do. Not that I remember them long enough to be etched into history, but long enough to write about what I saw early into the morning today (7 am). And strangely enough, the connect well into what lies ahead in life. Not that all my dreams comply to Freud’s* theory of wish fulfillment or is it influenced by events in the “day residue” but they serve as some sort of a connect to the future.So, I had a rather interesting dream today. 
Time has gone ahead and I have gone grey. I am still alone, quite predictable seeing the current trend. The place that I am in, is not very well defined. But I know seeing the people around me that I am in India. The sun hasn’t risen very prominently, but is nestled amongst the clouds. Its drizzling a wee bit too. The air has a fragrance of burnt/half burnt human flesh. The town has succumbed to a growing epidemic/phenomenon and very few people (mostly women and a very few men) have lived through it. And those who are alive are enclosed in a casing, transparent, which I think is made of glass. 
The scene outside is grim. Women are seen wailing their hearts out at the sight of their dead partners, children amongst others. They are covered by a coating of ice, so that they can sit near their departed loved ones. Maybe it is a means of prevention of the spread of the epidemic. Some of them are doing the last rites of their loved ones, something which has never happened before in India. The graves have filled out and overflowing. And the roads are soon filling up as make shift graveyards.  
It ended right there and I woke up to a start. Strange as it felt waking up to it, maybe the world is set to reach this stage 200-300 years from now. Have you, the reader experienced such notions about life ahead through the dreams you see? If yes, I would like to hear more on that.* Sigmund Freud – Austrian Neurologist, father of modern psychoanalysis. Author of the book, “The Interpretation of Dreams“.  The book is highly recommended for those who haven’t come across it.

The price is 35 Euros

Its almost 11 in the night as I leave Tecnico, for home. After a hard day – fighting deadlines, seeing UNITED lose and bow out of the Champions League, braving the cold (which is rather unusual for me, since I am from Chennai) I walk back, mind flooded with thoughts of the work pending. And of the life that I am living here.
As I descend the flight of steps, I see her standing near the parking lot on the opposite side. I slow down my pace to observe her. She is tall, well dressed and extremely beautiful for a Portuguese woman. A few cars slow down seeing her on the side of the road – some of them slow down, have a conversation with her and go away while a few others look at her and just speed up. Probably they did not like the “package”. Less than 5 minutes and there were already half a dozen cars stopping by her and they go through this routine.
And just when I give up on it and start walking, comes another car. I could see two men inside, mid 30’s. They have a little conversation with her. And yes, the deal is signed. She gets into the car which speeds away, out of my horizon. And I walk back home, the lady in the back of mind, and of the people who seek warmth in her in the chill of Lisbon.

Now Playing:

Outcast Vocals 2 and Neha Nair (performing in the video clips below) work like magic for me. Just when I know things are not going the right way, I play this clip and by the end of the 8 minutes of the song, I know I am back to being my usual self. Her forte is in improvising the old malayalam and tamil classics to suit the listeners of the modern day. Its light and breezy with minimal orchestra.And when you have an electrifying voice backing up the song, the power of her music becomes indeed amazing. So much so that after my recommendation, my marathi friend got head over heels for her music and is a proud devotee! 😛 Now that I have effectively managed to sell you her brand of music, enjoy the clips. 🙂 

Living life by its merit

I really wish to live long. Faced with this question, I remember having stuck onto this view for as long as I can remember. I want to travel far and wide, explore the world and its people, live a normal life, imbibe a lot of cultures, learn a few languages – something like a global citizen. And in the fag end, come down to Kerala and grow old. Although I am aware that death is not something you could really wish to have a control on, I would still not change my opinion on the same.
But having said that, probably the only deviation would be the awareness of the imminent tragedy striking any moment. Yes, I live with the fear and the really bad possibility of not living to see the next sunrise. For, the desires for a long life are merely desires – idealizations that I wish turned true. Being aware of this fact, I have always realized that its best to live everyday as your last day. And I was happy to know that Steve
Jobs thought of it the same way too, though the majority of us got to know about it post his death.
I might not be doing the best things in this process of living in anticipation since I have modeled them on my preferences and likes rather than what is hip and happening. I have abstained from drinking alcohol (even after coming here, where beer is cheaper than water) neither do I smoke/do drugs, one of the reasons for which could be this kind of a thought process. You might tell me to go out, explore the world and more importantly to have a life, but I like it this way. Things I love as of today (Neha Nair and Outcast Vocals, a few people in my chat lists, family, sports and a few sitcoms & movies here n there) are very few and much of the day is a repetition of the previous.
But, trust me!!! Life is so different when you live each day as your last day.