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Where do you find Joy? What is Happiness?

By 12/02/2016writing
Anouradha Bakshi NGO India

Anouradha Bakshi: My Hero from Project Why

Quick one today. Quoting from an earlier  facebook post:

Watching me suffer through a writing‬ deadline, the Universe delivered this precious bit of wisdom‬ yesterday through a grey-haired, ultra-cheery cab driver:

“Can be solved, not a problem oredi.

Oni if cannot be solved, is a problem. All you do is look at it la, watch it, nothing you can do, just accept oni like this traffic jam. You know what I’m saying? Ya.

Then why like that, not happy for what? Stay happy la, your choice, you choose to be happy, rightonot?”


The cab driver speaks Singlish here, but the gist of his message is clear. Quit whining and Choose to be happy. That same message I found reiterated in some of the people at Project Why Special Section on my recent trip to New Delhi.

They’ve been handed a different deal in life, but just watch them sing and laugh:

These people know how to find happiness in the smallest of things, and if you spend some time with them, they’ll teach you, too. I felt much lighter for having spent some time with them.

What about you? Do you know Joy when you see it? What is the secret to happiness? Is it outside of you, or is it your choice?

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • grimspound says:

    Loved this post. Wise words!

  • Opher says:

    Joy is total fulfilment. It comes when you’ve achieved a personal goal.

  • Exploring joy is always a good thing. 🙂

  • That did me a lot of good too. Thanks.

  • Joy is something to feel Not to see. Happiness is outward something you can see. You may buy happiness for a short time- But you are not able to buy a bit of Joy except you receive it inside 🙂 nice post to reminding what is the true Joy and happiness.

  • Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  • lexacain says:

    I completely agree that one chooses to be happy or not. Sometimes I think that those who’ve had it the hardest appreciate the little things in life more than those with more. Great post!

  • Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

  • cleemckenzie says:

    Love his philosophy! And look at the man. He’s happiness personified.

  • This was such a delightful post. I enjoyed watching the simplicity of people sitting together and singing. In a capitalistic society it is possible to forget the finer things of happiness. A hug, smile, kiss on the cheek, the reasoning of a child. All of that brings happiness and promotes healing when things are not so happy. Who would think that grammar makes me happy? But it does. Thanks so much.

  • Quit whining and choose to be happy. That says it all. Nice one Damyanti 🙂

  • Helping others in need makes me happy. Actually, who isn’t happy when they do that?

  • My happiness comes from giving to someone in genuine need, and watching their joy in receiving the unexpected but needed gift.

  • xhobdo says:

    Great post

  • i find happiness in hearing other people’s laughter!

  • Jyothi. D says:

    Sometimes the question are complicate but the answers are simple – Dr. Seuss. Life 🙂 I love the traffic jam example. You just accept it -Yes.

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – your heroine Anouradha Bakshi obviously exudes happiness and love. Wonderful to see and read … we need to remind ourselves of how lucky we are … and it is a choice – be happy. Cheers Hilary

  • Chris Tryon says:

    By small and simple means, great things are brought to pass. Happiness for me is found in the simplest things: A smile, laughter, the words: thank you, an unexpected phone call from a friend or a thank you note or card that I receive in the mail. Hearing from my boys on a day other than Sunday is a sure fire way to make me happy too!

  • macjam47 says:

    I believe that happiness has a lot to do with what we choose to do with the circumstances surrounding us. We can mull them over and decide we got the short end of the stick, or we can choose joy. Even though I have suffered the worst that can happen to a parent when I lost one of my sons, I choose joy. Somedays it just takes a lot more work than other days. Hugs, my dear friend.

  • I have become much more like that as years pass by. The things that were so critical didn’t make any difference. Dreams unfulfilled didn’t ruin my life. I think the Universe has it all figure out.

  • cinderbear19 says:

    My mum used to play a game with my brother – ‘silver linings’. Try to think of something that went well that day, or at least didn’t go wrong, then try to think of another, and another. . . These days he’s one of the happiest people I know!

    • Chris Tryon says:

      Developing an attitude of gratitude is a great way to experience joy! We will receive MORE of what we show gratitude for! Your mother was right!

  • cynthiamvoss says:

    I think happiness is fluid, like everything in life. Most times it’s a choice, and sometimes it comes from the outside of you–maybe something unexpectedly great happens and you’re happy about it. And sometimes something bad happens to you and you need time to get over it, so it’s not so easy to simply choose not to be upset, worried or anxous. Everyone has their good moments and bad moments.

  • Sha'Tara says:

    I signed up to follow Project Why. Thank you for making me aware of it. For myself, joy is found through empathetic interaction and compassion. Happiness I do not seek since I know it will be there when circumstances warrant it. To seek happiness for its own sake is a recipe for disappointment when it fails to show up as expected.

  • Dan Antion says:

    I was once told that “we are responsible for our own happiness” and that has stuck with me ever since.

  • Happiness is everywhere- you just have to choose to let it in and acknowledge it. The simplest things make me happy: cuddling with my fiance, playing with my pets, spending time in nature, losing myself sculpting something cool. And if you want to really feel happy, share your joy and help others to feel happy! 🙂 Going with the flow (rather than trying to fight circumstances) makes life a lot easier and more joyful too, as that cabbie obviously knows 😉

  • Happiness for me has always been that activity in which I absolutely lose myself. It can be as mundane as sitting out on the back screen porch watching the wind in the trees or as mentally challenging as working on a short story. I become absorbed in the work and everything around me becomes a part of my being.

  • Almost Iowa says:

    Happy is a wonderful choice (spiced with just a pinch of grumpy)

  • Much needed message for this morning. Thank you!!!

  • I LOVE this! Including the way the message is introduced (i.e. the cab driver). I get frustrated with people who won’t be happy unless everything is perfect (according to their definition), preferably without any effort on their part. Thank you!

  • It is a choice! Choose to be happy or choose to be miserable. All in the attitude.