It started off with a powdery dust that melted even before reaching the ground. The intensity grew, and soon we had giant snowflakes hitting us! It was finally snowing after 2 years. My niece Naini went mad with joy. I don’t remember the last time I had seen her so thrilled! It’s her second year in the US, and having grown up in a place in India where it never snows, her level of excitement was at its zenith.
The snow stopped after a couple of hours, but it sure sent me on a philosophical introspection. What flashed in my mind’s eye was my niece’s beaming face when she saw our backyard change into a winter wonderland! I wondered how little things in life can make us so happy. Yet why do most of us not realize that these moments are so invaluable, that they are the ones that stay with us forever?
The world has progressed on various fronts, and that is indeed a blessing for humanity. But is it also not a mixed basket of things? I do not feel I’ll be an outlier to acknowledge that we have become so engrossed in the “practical” and “big” things that we sometimes overlook the little pieces and forget that the path to happiness exists even beyond the larger domain!
Every time I visit my family in India, I always seize every opportunity to meet up with my friends and relatives. Some of them go that extra mile to organize get-togethers so that I can meet many more in the same place. These meetings are so special; we catch up on what we have missed in each other’s lives. The beautiful place or the exotic food may have been appreciated, but those thoughts fade away to the back of the mind and do not give permanent bliss. What I carry back with me are those moments spent together, the pleasant conversations we had. These are the snapshots that leave a lasting effect.
As a child of the late sixties, I obviously grew up minus gizmos and gadgets, and I was satisfied with life’s simple pleasures. I have vivid memories of visiting my maternal grandfather when he would settle me on his lap and sing nursery rhymes. It still rings in my ears how with that British accent and dramatic tone he recited “Twinkle, twinkle little star”! He never failed to wish me and my brother on our birthdays. Living in a town close to 500 kilometers away from us and not having a telephone, he would send telegrams with birthday messages. We would eagerly wait for that and be overjoyed. I’m in my fifties, and it’s been over 30 years since my grandfather passed away. Regardless, these memories are so tenderly tucked in my heart.
Melanie Shankle is a New York Times best-selling author, and in her piece “How I Learned to Value the Simple Things in Life”, she drives home the point of how the little moments are the very strands that make up the mosaic of our lives. The author emphasizes how even a very simple act of delivering a meal to a sick friend or volunteering a few hours a week in a nursing home can bring us immense joy. It’s not always the big that matters. Taken together, the “seemingly ordinary threads of joy, sadness, conflict, and laughter make something extraordinary”.
In no way is it wrong to nurture big dreams and climb the ladder of success. But moving ahead with conviction to reach our goals and fulfilling our ambitions do not mandate that we compromise on the tiny delights. The recipe for happiness is in our own hands. We can seek satisfaction by practicing kindness or expressing gratitude. Treating ourselves to simplicities like a piece of music, indulging in silly laughter sessions with friends, or drowning our senses in the beauty of nature also can bring us contentment amidst the hustle and bustle of the rat race.
Every piece is indispensable when we work to put a puzzle together. Similarly, the small moments in our lives are as important as the bigger ones in painting a complete picture of our existence. We need to cherish every little joy sprung upon us. It may sound like an ad from a commercial, but I do believe that the best things in life do always come in little packages. As I wind up, I reflect on a quote by Robert Brault which has struck a chord with me: “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”