Possibly the biggest mistake you make in your life is to get great marks in your 10th standard board exams. In India, if you get great marks in 10th standard, you automatically study science. Mediocre marks means commerce, and terrible marks means arts. Never mind that you may be interested in Shakespeare. You got 90% in 10th. Study calculus.
You foolishly listen to your parents and the rest of your family when they press you to study hard for that most “important” year. After this, everything is set, they say. Not really. A year later you have to study even harder for the “crucial” year 12th standard. Repeat your performance in 10th. Do it even better. Then you will have nothing to worry about. Then you will be happy!
So you slog it out. 12th standard – super grades. Crack the JEE and get into IIT. Here is where the happiness is supposed to start. The first thing that happens to you when you get into most IITs is you get 15 pairs of dirty undies to wash. As you wash those undies, a smile lights up your face as you think, next year someone is gonna wash my undies. Next year everything will change. Next year I will be King. I will be the boss. I will be happy.
It’s next year now. The authorities have made it very clear that if a senior even breathes near a freshie, they will take drastic action, which could include expulsion, even worse than that, fines of more than Rs 50k! No more Ragging is the new motto of your IIT.
No one to wash your undies. Doesn’t matter. You decide, IIT sucks anyways. I will be happy when I get out of here. 3 more years to freedom. Freedom from dumb profs, idiotic assignments, petrifying exams and most importantly horrible, terrible, appalling, grisly, ghastly mess food!
Fast forward 3 years. The last exam in IIT. Come back to the hostel in utter euphoria which quickly turns into anxiety, coz you don’t have a job, a call to an IIM or an admission in that university in the US. I will be happy if I get any one. Please God, just anything. Even Infosys will do.
Prayer answered. You got a fabulous job. Great money. In a month, you realise IIT was infinitely better. Your boss definitely had past lives as a prof in IIT. Maybe, even the food was better. I will be happy when I get my dream job.
Got it. Bad dream. Nightmare actually.
I will be happy when I get a P.hD. So apply, get into a “prestigious” institute. Slog another 5 years or so. I will be so bloody happy when people call me Doctor. They do. And then they sneer… oh, you are not a medical doctor. Not even a dentist. Hmmmm…
Need a wife/husband now. I will be happy when I can legitimately have sex. I will be happy when I get married. Ok, so get married. You are deliriously happy for about 4 hours. Good food finally!!!
Then the fight happens. And another, and another, and another… There are tender moments of course, and love and all that… But the predominant question in your head is “Do mother in laws have past lives as IIT profs?!”
Everyday it’s the same thing. Happy for a few seconds if you are stars are behaving themselves, otherwise work, eat, sex (if you get lucky), sleep … Rinse and Repeat.
I am sure we will be happy if we have children. 3 years later, 2 bags with cute faces, beautiful eyes and an amazing smile… whose sole purpose seems to be to leak. They leak from everywhere. I will be happy when these kids stop leaking. Or at least go leak in the right places.
I will be happy when they start to walk and talk…
3 years later: Sit down. Sit DOWN!!! SIT in one place. Can’t you sit still??!!!
OH GOD! I will be happy when these kids go to school and I have my life back. School is God’s gift to parents. When will they go to school?!!!
I will be happy when their homework is done.
I will be happy when they pass out of school.
I will be happy when they get into IIT. I washed undies, they should wash undies.
No way young man, no way are you getting married to that girl. I will be happy when he chooses someone I like to get married to. What?? You want to get married to him? You are bisexual. Bisexual?!! Right…
I will be happy when… I retire and all this will be behind me. Woody Allen says Comedy is just tragedy + time. I want the + time NOW!
I will be happy when I have grand children.
I will be happy when they are grown. What a fine young man he is!
I will be happy when.. when… when…. How come it’s all dark?
And now it’s sooooo bright…
We have always wondered if the expression on a dead person’s face is that of surprise (wha… it’s over??!!!) or that of peace…
Be happy now. Not later. Not tomorrow. Not when you get that promotion. Not when you go on a vacation. Not after this last exam. Not after your mother in law dies. Not after retirement… Right Now. That’s all you really have. Happiness is never in the destination. It’s in the journey.