Money and happiness – two chunks of our lives- seldom found together. Which one is more entrancing? One of these is more personal and the other a part of society, mostly linked with success or more.

Ours is the generation where accomplishments are praised but failures aren’t. Being happy is as hard as opening a jar of salsa. But what if you had a lot of money? Would you be the happiest person on this planet?

Yesterday, I saw a child. Ripped clothes, skinny body half caked with dirt, unwashed hair tangled from years of being on the street, carrying a shabby torn bag in front of a shop with a peculiar smile. If you ever dared to look into her eyes, you would get to know how stubborn she is. She didn’t let me go until I bought a pack of chips for her.

I have always wondered furiously, questioning how could this be happening in a world where some people get high in luxurious pubs as regularly as clockwork. I always have an inner fight with myself, whether I should give them money to ‘help’ them out or help them by not giving any -for god’s sake, they might use this as their practice and find a shady way to earn.

So I thought about it a bit more.

Why does this happen? When we look at these children’s daily life, they face rejections from passersby who don’t even acknowledge their existence. These children, who don’t even know what it is like to sleep in comfort. All they get is violence and abuses from the world. This begs another question; do these children know what happiness is? Isn’t money, the most important in their lives? Maybe so, but have you noticed how brightly they smile even after a long day of heat and shouts beating down on them?

However, every story has a flip side.

In my primary school, anyone coming to my house would ask me, “So, what do you want to become?”

 Wasn’t it rather easy to respond to this initially? You could answer anything…

‘A cricket player’

‘An actor’

’A prince’

‘An ice cream man’…and what not.

As the years passed by, it became a job realistic to the money I could live off.

‘A doctor”

‘An Engineer’

‘A teacher’…

These so-called dream jobs were not dreams, but a reality I chose for myself.

Through the years, our ‘dreams’ got a lot less original. “Stable jobs” took the place of our dreams, though we never loved them. Money became the overwhelming factor. This leads to crux of the argument- What is more important?

 Money or happiness?

We’ve been taught this be our elders and moral stories, money is evil, a drug; once you taste it, you can’t stop and you want more. Even then it is not enough.

Think a bit more.

You wake up. You pick up some bread and go to work to earn hard.

If you ever want to leave your everyday mundanity, you end your day at a pub or at a party or some concert. Those beers you share, the ticket, the entertainment, the thrill and happiness costs.

But why? Does the entirety of the world have a price tag? Perhaps yes.

It might be true, “money can’t buy everything”, but it sure does help. Money does make the world go round.

But how much money do you think one needs to consider themselves successful?

The trouble might be our definition of “success”. We are often victims of this word. We strive to be successful in whatever venture we do but forget where success came from. This success can bring money towards us, but not happiness.

Happiness is an ambiguous word that has warped into our minds.

Remember the movie “Tamasha”? It answers the questions of a young boy in search of happiness and the dual life we all live. Despite the fact that it was just a movie, it brought the archetype of happiness to a large audience. Happiness is not something you magically find. It isn’t love, drugs, alcohol or the money- the most lavish of expenses will leave in wanting more. happiness doesn’t come from a single thing.

So what should we even strive for?

Get ready for the double cheesy gordita crunch: Happiness seeps through different parts in our lives, a sense of satisfaction, joy and contentment. We are on our endless roller coaster of emotions. The ride of our lives. Despite having immense wealth, many rich people do commit suicide.  The real assets are love from people and getting smile in return of doing a kind activity. If we start doing something we love, the ultimate happiness is ours.

Maybe happiness is the one we should be chasing. Maybe money can’t buy what you are searching. What if we value the things that bring happiness to us over money?

Just a thought!

Paresh