THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HAPPINESS
A week ago, a dear friend of mine called me. “Gerry, my daughter has put together some of her writings in the form of a book. She wants to show you. Can we come over this afternoon?”
I was very happy to hear what my friend said, and, so, I immediately said, “Please come over.”
We met around 3 in the noon, that day.
The young one had just given her twelfth-standard exams. She spoke to me with exceptional self-confidence and matching body-language which was a delight to behold. She spoke about the reason why she had started writing… Most of the writings were written as personal notes in a journal. I could instantly relate to such writings, as I, too, had started keeping notes quite early, say at the age of 17-18… Just a line or two, which read almost like small poems… expressing my joy, pain, confusion, fear, envy, anger and everything that I was experiencing… As I was extremely shy and suffered from low-confidence, I had found the medium of writing very comforting and liberating. Slowly, I had starting reading out my writings – which I would call ‘my scribblings' – before my close friends. Their feedback did a lot good to my writing journey…
So, when my friend’s daughter was discussing with me her writings, I complimented her and said, “You need to write more and more and more. This craft improves on constant writing… Your own style emerges along the writing process… and, your self-confidence goes up, too.”
But, the young girl was very keen on getting her ‘book’ published. “I want to be one of the youngest to write a motivational book… I want my book to be the ‘ultimate guide’ to happiness in life!”
I smiled. I did not want to throw cold water on this young aspirant’s dream. “Beta, from my experience, I can say this: You should focus on writing more and more and more. Not on publishing. You are still young and you are yet to experience a lot of life. So, do not get carried away by what you have written so far. To claim your maiden book is going to be the ‘ultimate guide to man’s happiness’… is a tall claim. Just focus on writing and get in touch with the space from where your writings come. That’s enough. Eventually, the avenues unfold on their own. Don’t be obsessed with the idea of becoming ‘one of the youngests to write a motivational book’ and so on. There is a lot to life before you think of that!”
My friend agreed with my advice and said, “I have been telling the same things in my own way. She needs to be humble and teachable in life.”
I am sure, the young girl will achieve her dream one day. But, before that, she will have to learn to keep her two feet firmly on the ground, and her head and heart, unpolluted!
And, there was this another girl, who was in her second-year degree college. Her aunt wanted to discuss something with me and this girl had accompanied her aunt. During the course of our discussion, this girl spoke about her interest in writing. “Sir, I write small poems and keep a journal. I share these writings in my Blog (she gave me the link)… I have plans to take literature after my graduation and want to publish my books.
I rewound my old tape – the tape I had played before my friend’s daughter… “There is no other way out, dear… You need to hone your skills and you need to keep trying with loads of patience and determination.”
“Sir, my eyes fell on the title of that book,” the young girl pointed to one of our publications… ‘What Makes Me Happy’.
“It makes me happy,” I rose with a smile. I gathered copies of six of our books, including ‘What Makes Me Happy’, and placed them on the young girl’s hands.
“Sir, I can’t believe this!” the young lady jumped, “You wrote them?”
“That’s not important, dear,” I gently said, “What is important is: writing makes me happy!”
“Thank you so much, Sir,” the young girl – the future author – was very, very happy as she left my office…
Pic.: Jatinder Sondhi/ Rashmi Sondhi
Video: YouTube/ Rodgers and Hammerstein