With more than 65 per cent of India’s population below the age of 35, the gross domestic happiness seems to have swelled.
New India does not measure happiness and success by money. But money that allows them to do what they love is a must.
Happiness is more than a smile. Much like what you experienced during lazy summer evenings—sitting in your sprawling backyard after dad returned home from work at six, and discussing annual holiday plans. As the sky changes colour and the stars peep through the dark veil, the cane lawn chairs become your throne and the table your footrest, with crickets joining in the conversation and mosquitoes biting to grab your attention. The chirping and the buzz give way to cheers and laughter and you are brought back to the present, where a gang of youngsters is raising a toast at Delhi’s Ice Lounge, made entirely of ice blocks—from walls, furniture and sculptures to the glasses in which drinks are served.
The meaning of happiness has changed for Indians. Ranging from career, lifestyle, food to spirituality and travel, routine is no more fun, atypical is.
“Happiness is going off the beaten track,” says Avni Singh, a communication consultant in Delhi. On her recent vacation in Goa, Avni tied up with a local fisherman to learn fishing. “I got to know so many things about fishing and sailing in the ocean. From just a beach party or lazing around in leafy streets of Goa, I chose the unconventional—a new art to learn and have loads of fun amid the high sea. That is happiness,” she says.
Spontaneous trips and unravelling the place with local residents make modern travellers happy. Similarly, if taking a break from home food and eating out earlierspelt gastronomic pleasure, now only an exceptional culinary experience helps new-age foodies attain ‘nirvana’.
Take, for instance, Hyderabad-based Dialogue in the Dark. The eatery serves food in pitch darkness, allowing visitors to use all their senses, except sight, to relish the meal of their choice. You are not even allowed to carry objects like cell phones, pens or watches that reflect light. Now that's a truly touching food experience.
Party hard has been the happiness mantra of youngsters. Loud music inside streaming halls and even louder people gyrating on the dance floor is the image that comes to our mind. But that, too, seems to be changing 'silently'. Silent parties are now trending. These soirées are not like get-togethers at Bahá'i House, commonly known as Lotus Temple of Delhi. Recreational happiness means indulging in out-of-the-box entertainment like grooving in silent parties, where music churned out by three DJs is channeled through WiFi-enabled headphones worn by each reveller. Partygoers have the option to switch from one DJ to the other.
“Enjoying music churned out by three DJs in one soirée scales up your partying experience manifold. It is pure bliss!” says Zoe Jones, a British tourist, who recently attended a headphone party in Goa.
What about innovative spirituality then? Check out food meditation. “It involves sitting quietly and having food, giving attention to each morsel that goes into the mouth. Beyond health benefits, it helps you understand the importance of balance which positively impacts your life,” says Ananda Anaam, who organises food meditation sessions in Delhi.
Abundance of opportunity and financial independence are guiding young Indians to explore new pastures of happiness, explains Harkirat Singh, managing director of Woodland India. “[Today's youth is] aware, tech-savvy and well-travelled, and their risk-taking ability is much higher. Besides, they don’t believe too much in the future,” he says. Keeping in mind the needs of young employees, Harkirat encourages them to take sabbaticals and choose projects of their choice. “A happy employee's productivity is mighty high,” he says.
New India doesn’t measure happiness and success by money. But money that validates success is welcome. And, money that allows them to do what they love is a must.
“Professional happiness is not getting a fat pay cheque or a big designation. It is the freedom to live your dream,” says Damini Wali, who works to travel. Whenever overpowered by wanderlust, the Ludhiana-based fashion designer quits her job, takes out her savings and goes for a holiday. Since 2008, she has quit three jobs for such unrestricted vacations. “I am happiest while quitting a job, as it assures me that I have worked and saved enough to get on with my dream of living a backpacker's life,” says Damini.
According to the 2014 Global Happiness Report by international market research company Ipsos, of 24 surveyed countries, India is the second happiest one, where 41 per cent people said they were ‘very happy’. Indonesia ranks first with 55 per cent of its citizens ‘very happy’. Mexico was third in the list with 38 per cent, followed by Brazil (33 per cent), South Africa (26 per cent), the US (26 per cent) and Canada (24 per cent).
With more than 65 per cent of India’s population below the age of 35, the gross domestic happiness seems to have swelled. In pursuit of happiness, young India is breaking barriers, maybe guided by the lines of Welsh poet W.H. Davies: “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.”