At a relatively young age, I realized I was going to find it difficult to be happy. Perhaps happy is not the right word. It has been corrupted by misuse, and overuse. It brings to mind images like a rom-com ending with a clean-shaven, blue-eyed guy presenting a pixelated proposal to a woman at a baseball game, while she covers her mouth to express her happiness (or prevent her brain, which has turned into mush, from gushing out), while her eyes, along with the popcorn-munching masses’, brim with tears. At least hers are chemically induced.
Anyway. What was my point. Yes, stupidity. What I realized, perhaps at an after-school coaching center, was that I wasn’t stupid. I see how the more cynical of you may take that as immodesty, but I’m not saying I found myself to be exceptionally smart. Just that I discovered the evident lack of stupidity. (False modesty is more my thing, you see.)
What differentiated this from simple elitism was that I actually wanted to be stupid. I wanted to spike my hair and straighten my collar. To be immeasurably elated to see a motorcycle with fat tires and shiny exhaust pipes. To turn my windshield black, to have a bumper sticker reading “I don’t drive fast, I fly low.”, to circle around the GK market playing JuggyD, smoking with the windows half open and the AC on. To yell bhenchod in public places as if I was 13 and gaalis were the coolest thing ever. To mock people who read newspapers. To wear jerseys of football clubs in cities (make that countries) I couldn’t spot on a map.
But I can’t. When I see your SUV with that stupid, shiny “bull bar” in the front, I want to tell you how car bumpers are designed – for a good reason – to dent and crumble on impact, and how dangerous it is to attach a metal bar to the chassis which will protect the bumper and transfer any impact directly to that very part of your body you are so desperately trying to portray as deservedly enlarged.
Despite the slight tinge of contempt in the tone – undoubtedly evident to the attentive reader – I did want to be that guy. Because he sleeps peacefully at night, and wakes up excited at the prospect of getting a new profile picture clicked. While I sit awake until dawn, smoking, writing inconsequential blog posts such as these.
But that’s the thing with too many snapping neurons. You can’t turn them off, can you. I can never understand when people say things like, “It’s a fun movie! One of those where you have to switch off your brain, stop thinking about it and just enjoy!” Really. And I thought enjoyment came from stimulation of the brain, not from putting it in a coma. I thought a gripping script, fascinating characters, a unique point of view, expert storytelling were the things that created an irresistible illusion you wanted to be a part of. Turns out the real fun is in watching Akshay Kumar slip on a banana and accidentally end up face-down in a woman’s chest (who is actually a man dressed as a woman. Lol.)
Did I digress again? (From what? This whole thing is a bloody digression.)
I think I realize now that I was wrong about the happiness thing. You don’t need to be an imbecile to be happy. You may not find happiness in the areas where most people seem to, but you will find it elsewhere. The moments of comfortable silence in the company of a friend. The sigh of fulfillment upon reading the final sentence of an exceptional book. The joy that a long-forgotten song brings, when you realize you still remember the lyrics, and where you were when you first heard them. On moments like these, the faint, irrepressible smile in your eyes will be infinitely more meaningful than the hollow laughter that echoes and dies inside a movie hall. You will be happy.
… And then the cage comes down!