I am currently in India on an official + personal trip. I am spending my first week in Mumbai at our office in Powai. I have been here for about 4 days now and there was something I noticed consistently – I look around me and I see smiling people everywhere – the young recruits in my office, the office boys, the cab drivers, the construction workers on the roadside, the mall crowd, the hotel waiters, the kids at the night school (ran in the parking lot of our office by some of the employees), the annoyingly chirpy teenagers flowing in and out of the numerous Pujo and Dandiya pandals strewn across the city, the security guards (you see them a lot in Mumbai – A LOT), the bus drivers etc. All this, despite the horrendous traffic jams, the constant communal tension and violence, the bomb-blasts, the hot and humid weather, the exhaust of a million vehicles, the power-cuts, the drinking water and food shortage, the floods of the monsoon, the plummeting sensex, the rising inflation, awful television shows, Himesh Reshamiya…..the list is endless. I keep poking myself to ensure that I am not dreaming or hallucinating.
I was washing my face to get rid of the grime that I collected from my recent rickshaw trip to a nearby restaurant and while I was shocked at the blackness of the water draining through the sink, I looked up in the mirror and saw a perma-smile plastered on my wet clean face. I guess, it’s hard not to get infected by this undercurrent of joy you see on a million faces in this city.
Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a comparison of a Happiness quotient between two nations, neither is it denying the fact that there are probably a lot more unhappy faces around me. It’s an observation and not an analysis.