MIDWAY : Great small pleasures

Buddhi Gautam

The happiest people are perhaps those who derive pleasure from small things, which are abundant. These people need not be globetrotters or trailblazers, as the small surroundings they live in may be full of marvellous stuff. Writing, for instance, is a sheer pleasure for good writers who find a plethora of recipe for writing everywhere.Reading the book, The first sip of beer and other miniscule pleasures by Philippe Delerm, a French writer, I enjoyed it as the writer dwells on topics that do not sound extraordinary. The ability to see great pleasures on such banal subjects is, however, extraordinary. Having a knife in one’s pocket is no big deal but if you do have one with you while you are at Marpha and if someone offers you a Mustangi apple, the delight of carrying the knife would be obvious. Delerm too is all pleased to write on topics as banal as A knife in the pocket, The first sip of beer, A winter pullover, A newspaper at breakfast, etc.

The pleasure on putting off one’s tight shoes after a long walk cannot be understated. Strangely, some even tend to buy shoes smaller than the ones which are perfect.

Here is one story: to the utter astonishment of a vendor, a difficult customer once insisted on buying a pair of shoes that were sure to bite his feet. The baffled vendor was all but left to watch his bizarre client limp away.Next day, the vendor bumped into the limping client and readily offered to exchange the small shoes for the big. The latter, however, tells him to mind his own business. Increasingly curious, the vendor tries all he can to convince his unconventional client. But all his well-meaning efforts end up in smoke. Irked, the client finally discloses his secret.

“My 18-year old daughter ran away with a good-for-nothing fellow, then my wife too eloped with my best friend. I am unhappy. Nothing under the sun pleases me! The only pleasure I get is from taking off my shoes when I get home after work!” In fact, all of us feel such supreme happiness at taking off our shoes, especially if they are new. Similarly, bikers may feel pleased when they take off the helmets. Moreover, today’s pupils should feel relieved to get rid of bulky school bags!At last, you and I all have so much nonsense in our heads emanating from “big things” – big money, big house, big car – so on and so forth. Why don’t we rid our heads of some of these “big” burdens and instead, get pleasure looking at small bees and butterflies that swarm our gardens so gracefully?