The Happiest Year – 1

For longer than I can I remember, I have wanted to be happy.

That is not to say I’m not happy now; rather, happiness is has been a continuing pursuit and ever-present umbrella goal of my waking hours — the ones where I often find myself interacting with what aren’t figments of my imagination. These entities cannot be guided through lucid dreaming, and I’m therefore forced to assume that they are indeed out of my control. Which would be great, if they weren’t for the most part dull and routined.

Anyway, ‘Onwards and Downwards’: since I could say of myself that I’m obsessed with happiness, it got me thinking (and here we are, finally, at the place where I should’ve started off): when was I the happiest?

I think it was when I was six.

When I was six, mom would try and make me take a nap at the same time as she was taking her afternoon siesta. Once she went to sleep, I would climb out of bed, wear my swimming trunks, dump my clothes in the veranda outside, and head to the swimming pool for a dip. A while later, I’d come back, wear my clothes, and head back into the house as if nothing happened.

I think I got away a few times.  Sometimes, I got back to our veranda to find that a stray cat had mistaken my clothes for a lounge sofa earlier on, and shed all over them. Nevermind, clothes back on, back into the house.

Once in the house, there was still the question of getting rid of the wet trunks. Sometimes I’d head for the shower (this usually involved another change of clothes, eliminating the cat hair problem), at others, I’d just duck into the loo and slip them off, toss them into the laundry. I think I once changed out of them in the veranda itself, but ditched that idea the next time because they got dirty from the ground.

I was six, and am still a little off-centre, so I’m sure my mom caught on to my scam early enough. The day I had to stop sneaking around, I came home to find, or rather not find, my clothes on the porch. Alternativelessly, I gingerly walked into my house, hoping mommy was still asleep. She was not. She looked at me and asked where I’d been. I couldn’t believe my ears. I stared blankly at her, thinking about what I looked like — wet hair, red eyes, in nothing but swimming trunks which were now dripping all over the drawing room floor.

— Which brings me to one of the excellent reasons why six was a great year for me. My father, petrified at the thought that something bad might happen to me while I was out swimming unsupervised, took me to the pool and made me swim the length of the damn thing underwater. Repeatly. Till he was satisfied. I didn’t have to sneak around after that.


I may pose this a question to a friend, when we’ve run out of small talk: “At what age were you the happiest?”

Feel free to share.

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