As soon as I learned to walk, umpteen questions started tickling my mind. “Life is not all beer and skittles,” my teachers said. At home, I heard someone blurt: “Life is like rushing to the station to catch a train that you miss at the last moment.”

I wondered what this “life” was. I thought about it from the perspective of an inquisitive child. By the time I became a university graduate, I had come across Camus who painted a gloomy image of Sisyphus pushing a rock up to the top of a hill only to find it rolling down. I asked myself, “Is life really like that — absurd, mechanical and burdensome?”

Everyone has his own interpretation of life. I, for one, have a very simple understanding. The bulky books of philosophy crafted with lofty words, of course, helped me a lot. But I have come close to understanding life through my bitter-sweet experiences rather than through these tomes. For me, the meaning of life lies in happiness and happiness, in one’s ability to view life with a sense of proportion.“Life is like a single letter in the alphabet. It can be meaningless or a part of a great meaning”, says an old entry in my diary. I find people chasing a dream and grieving when it does not come true. A few people climb up the ladder of their choice, only to realise, on reaching the top, the ladder had been propped against the wrong wall.

I have no pity for those who pursue blind ambition. First, life entails a firm footing on the hard ground of reality. Life is a combination of happiness and sorrow, rest and stress, success and failure, calmness and turmoil. The balance of these factors makes life meaningful. A person who accepts these vicissitudes in life with fortitude lives, in true sense of the word. Today, a person with a fat purse is deemed happy. Does it imply that a common man can never find happiness?

It’s not the big possessions that matter but little things: little time that we spend with our family, little sacrifices we make, little troubles we go through to make others happy. Internal joy is like a tiny butterfly. Pursued, but hard to catch. Hope is eclipsed by frustration. At such moments, the butterfly alights beside us, gently, unexpectedly. These pleasant little surprises indeed make our lives worth living.