Today, for the first time in a very long time, I felt happy. I felt like the man in the poem. I was sitting on the stone steps at the back of our house. It was dark outside and moths were dancing about the one dim yellow bulb over my head. In my lap was, trustingly asleep, one very fat, silky puppy. His name is Panda.
Reader, I haven't been happy. Not for a long time. For ever so long I took happiness for granted, as something that just existed in my life and didn't require much attention. I didn't notice for a long time, when it was gone. When I finally noticed, I still doubted myself. I was well fed, well clothed, reasonably successful, and popular. I've lived a charmed life and have people who love me and whom I love very dearly. It seemed almost selfish of me to feel discontented. But it didn't pass. So, I began this blog, to try to remember that feeling, of "lying down in reality". I couldn't keep it up. My days blended into each other, all sluggish and blurry. I lacked the energy to go out and seek that feeling, the one I couldn't even remember anymore. I wondered if it even existed.
Finally, when I couldn't take the wondering anymore, Reader, I took a break. From my life in Mumbai, from the people I knew there, from Physics, and from you. I spent two months, dancing, singing, teaching, and reading. I found Panda at the Blue Cross shelter. He was a tiny bundle of fluff, shyly waiting for his turn to receive a pat from me. When I picked him up, he sighed and nestled into the crook of my arm, warm and trusting. I couldn't let go.
Now, I feel like someone waking from a long and disturbed sleep. I feel tired and lethargic, but the sun's rising. My two months are up and I'm living on borrowed time. I have to go back and face the responsibilities I abandoned. I don't know if I can do it, Reader. I'm scared. But I go back with the memory of tonight, of how it felt to have Panda on my lap, warm and alive, of how I watched him admiringly, stroked his velvety ears and tickled his whiskers and he never once woke. I love him, Reader, because he trusts me to take care of him, because he comes running when I call and flings himself against my legs, because he chews my slippers when no one's watching, but has the grace to look guilty when he's caught, and because whenever I sit on the verandah steps he climbs onto me, curls up in my lap, and promptly falls asleep.
That feeling exists, Reader and it's worth fighting for.