As good as it gets..

Bikram Vohra - 22 October 2010

Have you ever figured that nearly all of us are afraid to be happy people? It’s like we wear misery as if it were a badge of honour, and joy and cheer need to be shunned because, I mean, how can you be in a good mood, that is so rude?

And yet, there are things that make me feel good. And if there were more of them we wouldn’t apologise for being in a bright mood.

Like counter clerks who smile and are helpful. Pleasant taxi drivers. Immigration without any queue when you enter the terminal. A Dh100 note discovered in last year’s winter coat. Children who 
are polite. Being greeted by your dog.

Nice things. Like the cool side of your pillow. A cheque that arrives on time. Kids saying, anyone can be a father, but how many can be dads. A fresh blade to shave with. Winning a match on the final point. Savouring a good book and wanting it not to end. Being touched by someone’s generosity. Having your child find his first job, and he or she acknowledging that you had a role in it. Just having hassle-free kids.

Life is full of fun things. Like a motorist letting you enter the mainstream. You allowing someone to do the same and he says thanks, with a half salute. Being the subject of a positive rumour. Getting tickets to a movie when you go on impulse and everyone has said it must be sold out.

Doing what people say cannot be done. Making friends on a plane and then actually staying in touch. Clearing a medical check up. Getting your driving licence. Being someone’s role model. Watching your country win at sport. Getting a lump in your throat when your nation’s flag goes up and the anthem plays. Waking up in the morning thinking it is a working day... and it isn’t.

Warm, friendly things. Like discovering an old music tape from way back and hearing it. Watching a video about when the kids were young and so were you. Trying out a recipe and it comes out picture perfect. Rifling through a photo album and recalling those days that were. Discovering a first birthday card, your wedding card, your child’s first gift to you, memories of those who aren’t with us anymore.

Getting a true bargain out shopping. Winning a raffle, even if it is a bottle of soft drink. Scratching a card and winning. Being happy for someone else’s success. Liking yourself for something nice you did. Good company that doesn’t make you miserable, doesn’t hurt, score points or try to one up over you.

Winning the war against technology. Like recovering matter from the computer screen that you thought had gone forever. Loving your music system even if it is outdated because you have an affinity. Not knowing what half the knobs on your home theatre do, but not being in the least bit bothered. Refusing to trash your 10-year-old VCR because it is ‘in’ to have a DVD player, whatever that is. Receiving real letters rather than email.

Doing things to make sure sense prevails. Like resisting temptation. Staying within your budget. Giving up smoking and actually sticking to it. Losing weight — and the scales agree.

Out of the world things. Like the thought that gifts count. Being included in the group. Family at home evenings. Companionable silences. A good cry at the movies. Making contact with old friends and finding out that they haven’t changed.


A hot water bath where the hot water doesn’t end.

Your first snowfall.

A child’s laughter.

Finding a pen when you need to take down a message. Cheesecake. Cream. Fast food. The delicious guilt that goes with it.

Nice new bills from the ATM. Someone to receive you at a strange airport in a strange land. Waiting for a call... and it comes. Staying in a swanky hotel. Having oysters and caviar at someone else’s expense.

Looking at yourself in the mirror... and liking what you see.