The Pursuit of Happiness.


Part – I

“The ideal tenant,” Rao muses, watching Mukesh disappear up the stairs.

The landlord for 20 years, Dharam Rao has lived comfortably off the monthly rental income. With the ever-increasing house prices, there isn’t any sign of the business slowing down, either. A pretty good deal, I must say.

Mukesh has been living alone on the second floor for three years now. A dark, handsome youth, always keeping to himself, never causing any trouble.

One may wonder why he lives alone, away from his family?
Mukesh doesn’t seem to be much older than 25. A well spoken, educated chap like him, surely, in the land of family values, living alone isn’t normal?

Let me answer that: No, it isn’t.

However, Rao finds no cause for complaint. He can sit at the verandah all day, smoke a packet, take his kids to school, watch cricket on the tiny TV set mounted on the lobby, debate about leaving his current lifestyle for a healthier one. Maybe lose his belly.

20 years of being hassled for water leaks, electric problems, rent payment, finding new residents when the old ones leave has dulled Rao’s interest in the going on’s in the three floors. He’s happy as long as he’s paid.

Yet he finds his curiosity chasing Mukesh’s secret.

Mukesh has never complained about his rent. He’s never created a hassle. He never would’ve had tea with Rao, either, until Rao asked him for the umpteenth time.

One awkward meeting over two cups of masala chai in three years. Or rather, one and a half cup – Mukesh excused himself after just half a cup. Tied up in work, indeed.

Rao regularly goes up with a rolled copy of the Mumbai Mirror , knocks on Mukesh’s door, just to catch him doing what he does. Everytime the door has opened-Rao’s well-oiled mouth, practiced in the art of speaking without substance-an immaculate three-room apartment been visible.

The table with neatly stacked folders, the vase at the center as empty as it has been for the last 3 years. The walls bare, no pictures lined upon them.

Rao has always been disappointed. He’d rather see some money being hastily stuffed away. Some acquaintances coming to meet him. Maybe a few empty bottles of alcohol. He could share some Kingfisher, or atleast borrow some from Mukesh.

Maybe a woman visiting Mukesh from time to time. Maybe any sign that Mukesh inhabits the place. Add a human touch to room number 202.

Mukesh is an enigma. What makes him so self absorbed? What makes him happy?

Part – II

Mukesh always shuts the door politely, hiding irritation under his visage.

He glances across the paper, the headline exaggerating a small issue, curses the goverment and folds it. Makes chai. Curses the government again over the rise in gas prices. He leaves the tea on the boil, heads back to finish his work, there are still a few minutes for the chai-sutta* break.

They can’t even let an honest citizen make tea without worry.

Sometimes, he smokes from the balcony. The relaxing second storey is far removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. He sees the Bombaywallah’s, rushing about their daily chores, they never have time to sit and enjoy life. These fools don’t live.

He feels like a King sitting on his perch, the Arabian Sea lapping away at the shore of his kingdom.

The doorbell rings. Mukesh hears it. Mukesh ignores it. Must be Dharam Rao. He can never leave me alone, can he?

The doorbell rings again. Maybe a want of moving, anxiety over a task left incomplete, someone being made to wait itch him, make him leave his work. Leaving the laptop, he wears his  chappals*, wondering not for the first time what makes Rao come up the stairs every now and then. He doesn’t do it for others, does he?

The wooden door, with the faded yellow fire escape plan stuck on its back opens to Dharam Rao. Mukesh has a too-wide smile plastered across his handsome face. Rao hands over the post, probably the bills, and some politeness, asks him to have some masala chai in the evening, gets a yes from Mukesh like he has been getting for years, reminds him that he’ll have to pay the advance, and leaves.

Mukesh shuts the door, doing his best not to slam it. A frown appears on his placid face.

A softly spoken curse fills the room. Shutting the laptop lid, Mukesh lights a Marlboro and heads to the balcony, watching the sun dip into the horizon.

Part – III

Thus, ends the short story.
Now, you may be wondering where the climax concerning the two characters is.

But, there aren’t two characters.
You, my reader, were the character.

Dharam Rao has money and time. He has economic stability, his family is well cared for. Yet, he isn’t satisfied. He doesn’t experience euphoria in his life. So he’s bent on discovering the hidden joy of others.

Living a sedentary, dull lifestyle, he makes it more interesting with his envious study of Mukesh, finding him to be a better, fitter version of him.

Mukesh shows himself to be an ideal 20 something- independent, smart, having a good job.

Yet he’s dissatisfied with himself. He lacks peace of mind, despite having worked hard to achieve education, a 9-5 job, a healthy body-everything his landlord lacks.

Mukesh and Rao are contrasts complimenting each other. Yin and Yang. But neither are happy.
I’d like to make several points now –

We sometimes leave hold of ourselves, idealising us to become who we don’t really want to be.

When we look at someone else- richer, smarter, better looking, we envy them.

But it’s what they show to us that we see. Everything has a pro and con. No matter how it appears from the outside, everyone has got problems pressing them down.

Nobody has the better end of the stick but the grass perpetually appears greener on the other side.


Man has a thousand temptations luring him. Too many times, they’re just simple things, stretched way beyond their utility in the fantasy of our minds.

No, the Girl you like will not fall for you. Perhaps she will. But even then, it won’t guarantee you your happiness.

Relationships aren’t meant to be about finding someone and holding onto them, or the opposite way around. A healthy, happy relationship will be one where you accept the other, and subconsciously stop waiting for someone better to pop into your life.

We chase the wrong people. The right one doesn’t walk in through the door, She’s already sitting there.

You blow away a few months worth of your salary on a shiny new car, and keep up with the Joneses.

Your shiny new car will remain a shiny new car until a scratch appears, until it scrapes the wall, until it’s internal components depreciate. None of your neighbours will envy it then.

You don’t need a bigger car, this one’s already good enough. Yet you keep forgetting that the new car’s not worth the hours you put each day. Multiplied by a few months.

As soon as we get something, we strive for an upgrade. But it’s not sufficient. As soon as we get that too, we’ll be dissatisfied again. It’s Human nature.

While it’s good to be working towards something, it’s also good to kick back and enjoy what we already have worked for. Stop chasing something even better than what you have, it’s a never ending cycle.

Our aim in life is to be happy. It requires a healthy balance between work, responsibilities and pleasure.

We can’t be happy without the balance being struck. Work to make our lives meaningful, Family to make our work meaningful. Nor can we allow ourselves to be stuck living the same lifestyle waiting for the torpidity to creep in and stay the next 30, 40 years.

Sometimes, we just have to learn to accept that our Idea  of Happiness is different from how we actually manage to find it. And that’s the way of life. It’s not about a few awesome experiences punctuating your life, it’s about many small, warm and memorable experiences. Like small cubes of chocolate to savour, with each tiny bite.

Yes, keep the bucket list, it may highlight it, but it won’t define your life.

It’s important for YOU to make yourself happy. Don’t chase happiness believing it to be hidden in something you’ll grab once – love, wealth, fame, money, and be happy with forever, but seek it in what YOU have.

Happiness does not come from gaining something You don’t have, it comes from recognising something You do have.
And, Yes, You do, Reader.

Thank You for reading.

Who can say where the Road goes?
Where the day flows?
Only Time.

And who can say if your love grows
As your heart chose?
Only Time.

Who Knows?
Only Time.
Well, if you’re reading this, it means you’ve read the entire post (except if you skipped some bits, that’s cheating).
To prove so, Write “Pizza” in the comments section below.
I’ll appreciate that, a lot!


47 thoughts on “The Pursuit of Happiness.

Add yours

  1. Well I will write more then “Pizza” 😀 I loved the way you started it was very natural and subtle 🙂 The philosophy of being happy is so simple yet we struggle for it each day. 🙂 A well written positive and inspirational post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pizza, with double cheese!
    This most certainly mirrors the most significant issue in our lives today and there seems no end to this ‘pursuit of happyness’! Brownie points for the selection of the title! Satirical yet insightful, this definitely deserves publication! 🙂


    1. 🙂
      There’s never going to be an end to problems. In this day and age, we don’t lack for anything to help us live well, something which wasn’t the case even as close as 100 years back. Yet we’re dissatisfied and yearning for more.
      I like the movie too!
      And thank you Gauri, you always end up making me look better than I am.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, complacency does seem unattainable to the humans of today! But I hope the situation changes in the coming times.
        And that’s just sheer modesty on your part! You do write better than my articulation! 🙂


  3. Clever idea to ask for affirmation that your readers have read your whole post. I often wonder about that myself. So “pizza”, but frankly your story made me crave masala chai!
    You are so right about life and happiness. I realized a long time ago that happiness is a state of mind, not a state of being. But even knowing that does not make it easy to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, I’d put a lot of effort into this, and I realised this was too long for most readers to actually, so I wanted to see if people would really read it.
      Absolutely true! Temptations aren’t easy to resist.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I thought you’d go with ‘Chicken’, but pizza is love!
    You may be super mean, but your writing is super nice.
    And this, oh my god, was perfection. You hear me?
    This. Was. Amazing.
    Kudos on doing an amazing job! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Why pizza? But if you like then here.. Pizza!
    I don’t usually read long posts but your style got me
    Great story and moral.. Nothing is ever what it seems.. And you are responsible for your own happiness for sure… Only way to share happiness with the one you are destined to enjoy…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone across the globe likes Pizza!
      Thank You. Yes, many haven’t but I decided to not ruin it by shortening it.
      What you say is completely true, Taruna. Our happiness depends on ourselves. Thank you for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow Udit! This was a really amazing post!! Especially when you wrote, You, my reader, are Rao- that really gave me a jolt because its such a great metaphor. Very brilliant realizations and writing.

    Want to read many more like this!

    All my luck

    Liked by 1 person

  7. French fries (because pizza is way too mainstream and fries and way better anyway)!

    I loved the story, I really did and I lived how you connected it to humankind’s craving for happiness. I just think though sometimes, that the pursuit is important, no matter what. Because it’s the big bad pursuit that drives us, challenges us and makes us go the extra mile. Yes of course sometimes we’re chasing the wrong thing and maybe the end result doesn’t turn out to be all that great anyway, but I still believe that the pursuit matters. Because it just shows, that you’re willing to make an effort to better your life and that you believe in yourself enough to take a step to change it. And more often than not, it’s the journey of pursuit where you learn so much more than you were expecting to. And maybe it’s the journey itself that’ll contain the happiness.

    Does any of that make sense? Sorry, I tend to ramble a bit too much. But yeah, I wrote something on happiness too a long while ago and I wrote about how you can never really get it. It comes, it goes and you just have to learn to accept that.

    Anyway, now that I’ve cheaply attempted to publise my blog, I want to say that I discovered this by accident, through someone else’s blog and I’m glad I did. I can’t wait to read your other posts as well. You write really well.


    1. Pizza was selected because it was mainstream! (Aloo Chat beats them all, vaise, but I have readers from outside India as well so).

      Yeah, I agree, the big bad pursuit is the reason why we push ourselves – it motivates us. But the point I was trying to make was that it’s alright to kick back and reap the reward for what you’ve sown, instead of planting more crops (I’m not fluent at metaphorspeak).
      Journey is more important than the destination? Yes, the journey is lovely and memorable, but we need to appreciate the destination more.

      Ah. Which one is it? Yes, we all are proud of blogs, and we all want more followers. A never ending journey. I think I’m rambling as well now.

      And I’ve never received a comment thats so long (and yes it made sense). Thank You, I really, really appreciate it, just another random reader.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that Pani Puri’s even better than Aloo Chat. Just saying.
        And believe me, your metaphorspeach is perfect. And you do have a point too, but if I add another metaphor here, I think we’d both go crazy.
        And haha, you know on other social media sites, there’s like these people who go like for like and follow for follow? I feel like wordpress is just a classier version of that as well, except hey, at least we discover great writing out of it.
        Ahh I couldn’t help but comment. And now that the next exam is days later, I’m going to stalk all of your other posts as well. P.s. I can see a lot of notifications and can’t wait to read what you’ve thought!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Gol gappa.*
        Is it now? Well, I’ll try my hand at poetry then.
        Yeah, we’re pure class. We also have an understanding about and we’re cool about it. 🙂
        I didnt see this comment earlier (my app doesnt show notifications properly), so sorry for the delay.


  8. Pizza+ Golgappa; see if that’s a possibility 😉
    I think it’s morally imperative of me, to let you know, that you write, brilliantly!
    Well written piece, man!
    And Udit, the song! Heard it after, what feels like, ages! *listening: on a loop*

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would have preferred the chocolate, but hey, pizza. 😀
    A great post, beautifully expressed through that captivating story and undoubtedly brimming with wisdom. Thanks for the reminder. Glad I came across this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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