Being happy can be such a strain.
“Are you happy?” asks a passer-by I remotely recognize from a decade or so ago.
And I nod and smile. Of course I am. Isn’t everybody?
Where indeed is the time today for the touch that heals, the crying session that makes the heart feel so much lighter? Being strong, I feel, is often over hyped. What exactly is strong? And how strong is strong? When you politely smile as someone says all will be as it was? Or when you pop up with a medicine box that contains tablets of all colours when someone says they are in pain? When perhaps you hold your arms close to yourself and tune your ears to love loud music. But what if the Being Strong turns into Being Indifferent? What if you turn into a mechanical pain-killer when an affectionate peck on the cheek was the prescription? How strong, I ask again, is strong?
I am happy; I nod to my Timmy, named after George’s dog. He has been with me since I was eight. He sits on the couch these days, shivering without his usual winter overcoat. He misses my afternoons in the sun when the terrace would be fragrant with oranges and guavas. He whispers to her sometimes, afraid to lie too close. I begin my lecture then, of how a few months is what it will take. Of how the house would shake again with her wind-like velocity and shopping bags. And as she smiles, I am convinced I am happy.
It’s the first of January. The cleansing, nay, cleansed day. I woke up this morning to a late winter sun and for a few sleepy moments revised the bullets of the ‘Is the pen mightier than the sword?’ inter school debate they have in school in the last week of January 2000. She is putting out some milk for my insatiable white cat and Grandpa is warming up for morning exercise.
This year, I promise to be only as strong as I can take. And insanely, blissfully happy. Each time God attempts to turn the tables I promise to bounce right back. At the end of the day, God is kind. For when Judgment Day arrives, God wouldn’t like too many pointed allegations aimed at himself either. Does God punish breaking promises you made to him? Or does he adorn the you-are-my-child mask? Does he make others pay for our sins akin to my Science teacher who punished the entire class when one homework notebook hadn’t turned up? My spiral pad is all written up with questions and I have ordered more at the local stationery. Carrying on the Your Good Deed Comes Back To You theory seems reasonable and I am hoping I won’t fare too bad.
Do you plan to make me that little beetle on the grass God? But then again, would I mind? There has to be something about lying down unnoticed on dewy grass listening to the fluttering of the red butterfly…
“Are you alright?” asks the confused passer-by, half wanting to escape.
“Of course I am!” I blow at a strand of my hair that has been falling on my nose and walk away into the sun.