My cousin Madhavan, who lives in Bangalore, India, recently forwarded an email by a very well known Indian journalist and writer called Khushwant Singh. At the age of ninty-six he is still active writing books and giving interviews. When I was in Bombay (1987-1989), I used to read his columns in the local daily and enjoyed his humorous pieces. Here he has provided eight tips for being happy in life. It is both simple and full of common sense. Hope you enjoy them:
EIGHT TIPS TO HAPPINESS
By- KHUSHWANT SINGH
Having lived a reasonably contented life, I was musing over what a person should strive for to achieve happiness. I drew up a list of a few essentials, which I put forward for the readers' appraisal.
First and foremost is
GOOD HEALTH: If you do not enjoy good health, you can never be happy. Any ailment, however trivial, will deduct from your happiness.
Second, HEALTHY BANK BALANCE. It need not run into crores but should be enough to provide for creature comforts and something to spare for recreation, like eating out, going to the pictures, travelling or going on holidays on the hills or by the sea. Shortage of money can be only demoralizing. Living on credit or borrowing is demeaning and lowers one in one's own eyes.
Third, A HOME OF YOUR OWN. Rented premises can never give you the snug feeling of a nest, which is yours for keeps that a home provides: if it has a garden space, all the better. Plant your own trees and flowers, see them grow and blossom, cultivate a sense of kinship with them.
Fourth, AN UNDERSTANDING COMPANION, be it your spouse or a friend. If there are too many misunderstandings, they will rob you of your peace of mind. It is better to be divorced than to bicker all the time.
Fifth, LACK OF ENVY towards those who have done better than you in life; risen higher, made more money, or earned more fame. Envy can be very corroding; avoid comparing yourself with others.
Sixth, DO NOT ALLOW OTHER PEOPLE to descend on you for gup-shup (Indian term for petty gossip). By the time you get rid of them, you will feel exhausted and poisoned by their gossip mongering.
Seventh, CULTIVATE SOME HOBBIES which can bring you a sense of fulfillment, such as gardening, reading, writing, painting, playing or listening to music. Going to clubs or parties to get free drinks or to meet celebrities is criminal waste of time.
Eighth, every morning and evening, devotes 15 minutes to INTROSPECTION. In the morning, 10 minutes should be spent on stilling the mind and then five in listing things you have to do that day. In the evening, five minutes to still the mind again, and ten to go over what you had undertaken to do.