One day, an old turbaned man arrived at a colorful, bustling bazaar in India. He set up a signboard at a corner – I Sell Happiness for Two Paise.
Many dismissed him as a con man, but a lot came out of curiosity. A man selling happiness was rare! “Hmmm, happiness for two paise? Can you show me happiness?” One mustached man said sarcastically.
“Sure, come sit by me”, said the happiness seller. By now, a small crowd had gathered to see the “tamasha”.
The customer threw two paise at him. The seller took out a carved mirror from his “potli” and put it in front of the man. The customer’s face contorted at first, and then he burst out laughing.
“Bravo! It’s strange, but he does sell happiness!” The customer announced.
Another customer came, and he went away laughing too. Some customers smiled, some laughed and, many rolled on the ground with laughter. Everyone thought the happiness seller was a magician.
One little orphan boy watched the seller from far, and thought – “The mirror seems magical, but what does it show?”
By evening, the crowd around the seller lessened, and he noticed the boy.
“Son, do you want to buy happiness, too?” he called out. The boy nodded but explained, he had no money.
“Well, I can always barter,” the seller said.
“Seller, I have just hardship and sadness to offer!” said the boy.
“Well, no harm in offering that to the magical mirror. Let’s see how it conjures happiness for you,” the seller said, kindly.
The boy sat and offered his hardship and sadness to the mirror…
What ensued was laughter… unrestrained laughter… from the child! His infectious laughter came from his pure heart, and soon, it spread all over the village. No one knew why everyone else was laughing.
The happiness seller had no idea the mirror could give THAT kind of happiness. After the boy stopped laughing, he asked – “Son, I am amazed. I am 100 years old now but I never saw anyone experiencing such BLISS! What happened, tell me?”
The boy smiled and said, “Dear seller, thank you for this great opportunity. Let me explain the reason.
The first man’s happiness came from jealousy. The mirror showed his enemy falling into the ditch. So, he laughed. The second man’s happiness came from ambition. He saw himself traveling to a new land and earning wealth. So, he laughed.
Everyone’s happiness came from something they wanted – their desire! They got happiness in the same proportion.
My happiness was based on the act of surrender – of my hardships and sadness. I let go of my burden, stress…and what stayed in me was …nothing…just peace. This inadvertently filled me with ecstatic laughter. The mirror showed me so free and joyful, and I laughed. And it spread everywhere.”
The turbaned man folded his hand and said – “My child, a divine being told me I will meet my successor here. And I found you! All my life, I sold happiness, became rich but never understood it. Today I saw it. So, will you be my companion in spreading real happiness…?”
The boy smiled and nodded.
The next morning, people from far and wide rushed to the bazaar to buy a fresh dose of happiness. Who doesn’t want happiness for two paise? What they didn’t understand was the priceless truth – real happiness does not come from what we GET but what we LET GO of…
Villagers desperately searched for the happiness seller. But he had already left with his successor.
Story & Images – @storiesbyshivangi