13 The small things of life - Janina Gomes

posted Jun 20, 2018, 9:06 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jun 20, 2018, 9:06 AM ]
For many years, I searched for happiness in elusive things. I was a good student, and so I always wanted to score well. When I joined sports activities, I wanted to excel. When I became a journalist, I wanted to hit the headlines with my stories. When I made friends, I wanted to be at the centre of attention. These and other elusive goals came and went like the wind. I found no lasting happiness in them.

Till, one day, I suddenly came across a self-help book which advised the young especially, to seek happiness in small things. That book changed my world. I now noticed how a simple smile brought cheer to others. Small acts of help and acknowledgment were most often appreciated. I learned to share and give, and derived much more happiness from giving rather than receiving.

Today, I am grateful for many more things that I simply overlooked in the past. I wake up in the morning and am thankful I am still alive. I watch the sunrise, and hearing all the sounds of Nature and Creation makes me joyful for being alive. I now live in a Home for senior citizens, so I am grateful for all the little services the nuns do for us. I no longer have to trudge to market everyday to fetch provisions and food items. I no longer have to cook, do scullery and spend my time cleaning the house, because the maid has not arrived.

And so I derive pleasure from small things. I often watch the birds, as they make their unhurried flight from branch to branch. I watch the tiny squirrels jump from tree to adjoining tree. I look at the green grass, so soothing to the eyes. I watch the flowers in full bloom – the bougainvillea and the Gulmohur trees; the latter are a glorious orange colour, and the former in shades of magenta and white. And I am simply glad to be alive.

From my room in the Home, I can look out to the small hills that have a green cover during the monsoons and winter, but are steadily being denuded for construction work. Within the enclosure of the Home, there are a variety of trees - mango trees, banana trees and swaying palms, a jasmine tree, drumstick trees. I try to increase my awareness of my surroundings by looking at them, identifying with them and feeling part of Mother Earth. Every one of these has become part of my being.