As we grow older we come to realize that life isn’t a unicorn ride through a rainbow. It throws a lot of choices, decisions, and dilemmas our way and so it can sometimes feel quite calamitous at times. And thus we need and have our own coping mechanisms, a small comfort to fall back on. Rakshya Khadka quizzed a few people on what makes them happy when not everything is going their way. Here’s what they had to say:
There’s a lot in this world that I don’t understand. Things are too jarring and bizarre at times. Often I put a hold to understanding the difficult and making sense of what is happening around me. And that is really why I’m glad that newspapers exist. I mostly read on the web though. I like to be informed and know things and newspapers help me do that. I get to know about the many progresses in the world, the state of the country and opportunities for growth and self development, be updated on football and information regarding health and the environment. And the comic strips, they’re hilarious. Although I think that this world we live in is incomprehensible, reading newspapers is my candle flame before the sun, small but something at least. Also I’m thankful that people found the creativity and dedication to unbind themselves from the shackles of society and its common sense to bring into creation wonderful works of art including, but not limited to, storybooks, movies, games, and new technologies. All this has inspired generations of forward thinkers throughout history and continues to do so even today. I’m glad to be living in an era where all these works are accessible.
Dance is my retreat. I have been dancing since I was four years old. I think the meaning of dancing has changed for me over the years. I danced as a child because I seemed to love music. In later years, it became something I was good at – a talent I could show on stage and today it’s a simple joy in my life. When I’m dancing, it is just me and the music and nothing else matters. As absurd as it may sound, I somehow end up understanding myself better. And it’s surprising to me how calm I am when I dance, which shouldn’t be the case mostly because dancing is about hyping yourself up. I sometimes post videos of myself dancing on social media. And when I watch these videos I look like someone so into the moment that it’s difficult to relate myself to the person I am, living with all these complexities. I grew up as an introvert and disclosing that I loved dancing wasn’t easy for me. My parents came to learn of my love for dancing very late and I never performed on stages either. But in eighth grade I had the opportunity to choreograph a dance performance so I jumped at it. Dancing has also helped me become confident.
Anyone close to me will attest to the fact that I wasn’t born with a single musical bone. The most I can do is sing a song well enough for the listener to identify it. So it must be surprising to a lot of people that I play the ukulele to relieve stress. I bought my ukulele from my second paycheck. I knew I wanted to buy something worthwhile from my pay and not waste it all on food. I really bought the ukulele on a whim. Then I asked a few of my cousins who play the guitar to teach me the basics and I have been at it every since. When playing the ukulele, I stop thinking. For just a few minutes I don’t have to deal with the traffic of thoughts on my mind. I work as a waitress six days a week and nine hours a day. I’m not the most patient person and I meet all different kinds of people, so the work isn’t just long, it’s also very testing. So when I come home tired and weary it feels nice to play my ukulele. The instrument is small so that’s an added bonus. I may not be musically inclined but strumming my ukulele is a source of greatest joy to me these days.
For me it would be movies. Most precisely the Criterion Collection. An eclectic collection of important film titles, Criterion is a crucial introduction to world cinema for any film lover. Much of what I believe cinema is and can be is a result of watching Criterion titles. Also the restorative works done by Criterion to bring back to life long-lost masterpieces like The Apu Trilogy have helped preserve the history of the medium. In an era where relentless attempts at vertical integration like MCU dominate cultural conversations, Criterion is a welcome reminder of films with actual artistic merit. Films are like sculptures made of time, space, and emotions so they can function to project humane experiences with most depth. It’s because of this that making good movies is important, watching good ones, even more so. I will be forever grateful to Criterion for keeping aflame the essence of good cinematography. Movies, to me, are a welcome retreat, the easiest way to escape the real world. Also they help me explore different aspects of human existence without experiencing them in flesh.
I love being around children. When with them, I think I’m the happiest. I go to classes at 5:30 in the morning and they last up to 11.30 am. Then I tutor IGCSE students for an hour. By the time I come home, I’m hungry and very tired. Also this is a whole college application season and there are too many essays and emails to write, banks to visit and I’m living with anxiety everyday. I’m worried about my future and concerned about making the right decisions. I know everything is in my head but as it so happens I feel like blaming the world for it, for all the unnecessary pressure. So when I come home and to see my five-year-old brother playing in my room with a plastic toy that is barely five centimeters long, I forget everything that is weighing me down. Children teach me how simple life can be and make me believe that everything that seems complex is all just in my head. Just recently I bought my brother some sweets and it meant the world to him.. Also commuting to and fro exposes me to many children in local buses. They sing along to the songs playing on tape without a care for anything else, even the lyrics. Kids teach us what we have long forgotten – that we can be happy with just about everything around us.