Happiness is a Choice: A Story by Lalita Vaitheeswaran

Shruti was the live wire of our girlie gang. Her boisterous laughter would send down vivacity and we felt rejuvenated. Shruti was a mother of a kid and her husband was in a top position in an MNC. It had just been a year that we had met when my family shifted to Mumbai but we clicked so well that we hit off instantly. I had met her through a common friend who was my colleague and we all travelled together in the same local train to our respective offices. We were four of us and Shruti came across the most mature and jovial personality. She had solutions for all of us. She could tell us about parenting or relationships, travel or cooking, movies or restaurants …just anything. Meera and Smita considered her their “agony aunt” as they would take her advice on so many issues.

We started following each other on Facebook. Shruti had posted some pictures which spoke volumes about her reason for her happy and vibrant personality. Her husband was handsome and looked so caring. We were envious of her beautiful pictures.

Shruti’s sense of dressing was immaculate. Her churidar suits were colorful with matching accessories and straight hair.

It was Deepawali time and all four of us decided to meet up for dinner. Shruti was a bit hesitant about going out in the evening. She then proposed that we could all meet at her place and have lunch there.

As we rang the doorbell, Shruti opened the door and ushered us inside. Her home was aesthetically maintained and was beautifully kept. As we were all settling on the sofa, we heard an awkward high pitched, shrill cry. It was coming from the room inside. Shruti ran swiftly inside and in whispers she was trying to quieten someone. Was it a child or adult couldn’t be made out. The cry was then interspersed with words which were repetitive and suddenly there was the sound of dropping of vessels. Scared, we all rushed inside. We had goosebumps as we saw Shruti handling her autistic kid who had turned violent suddenly. Shruti looked at us pleadingly and apologized for the happening.

For the first time in my association with her, I saw her eyes welling up with tears. She cajoled her child and with her skills of handling a special child, she had control and managed to pacify him. He had never seen visitors and that had triggered him.

We were aghast. The Shruti who was supposedly the epitome of cheerfulness was here with the worst challenges of life and yet she had maintained to keep up her happiness quotient intact !
And here were we who were blessed with everything in life and yet sulked everyday complaining.
How could you Shruti? We asked.

She said “ It is my choice to remain happy despite my hardships as I do not like to spread negativity and bitterness around.

We found ourselves hugging each other with wet eyes.