He is popularly known as ‘The Happy One’. In Jammu, you will find him at a busy traffic junction, standing beside traffic police inspectors, or you will find him at the crowded bus stops. Wherever you see him, you will see him smiling the broadest smile possible for him. He would behave very generously, offer you a shady standing area, will inform you about the buses which are yet to come. At first, you might think he is a mad man, but let me make it clear, he is not mad, he is happy.
He picks his spot randomly, he has no objective to make his presence felt to anyone, all he cares about is to make you aware that you are not smiling! In his opinion, one should smile all the time. I met him regularly for a period of two months and he taught me a lot of things about almost everything. His insights were very basic. The idea was to trigger happiness internally by doing something externally, by creating a reciprocal. I could not understand at first what he was trying to tell. He further explained that when we are happy inside, we smile and people come to know that we are happy for some reason, it was easy to understand. Then he said something very beautiful, “If you are sad inside, just smile and the inner sadness will give way to the happiness.” Reciprocate the process of being happy. If you are sad, smile, and sadness will begin to diminish. It was something very unique to experience. I do it to this day and I feel great to tell you that it works.
As richness shows in the lifestyle of those who are rich, happiness shows in the lifestyle of those who are happy. You are impressed on seeing a rich man, you might notice his expensive Rolex watch, the Mercedes in which he travels, the Vertu mobile he uses for communication, the heavy gold rings which he wears, everything about a rich man is impressive. This is not the case with a happy man. When I began to notice him, I thought he was mentally sick or something was definitely wrong with him. He radiated a kind of energy which disturbed me, I tried to ignore him, ignore his smile, ignore his stare because if I looked at him, and he smiled, I would be forced to smile back and I didn’t want to. He called it ‘the smiling communication’ in which nothing is required to be said, two people exchange a smile and they know that everything is good.
The day I met ‘The Happy One’, I was waiting to catch the bus for my work.
“Namaste!” he said.
“It’s a very hot day today, please keep yourself cool by drinking juices regularly.” he said and smiled.
I ignored again.
“Do you study son?” He questioned.
I broke the silence, “No, I work”, and hence the conversation began.
“You look too young to be working! What do you do?”
“I am an accountant at one of the barbed wire factories in Samba.”
“You travel to and fro daily?”
“You are working very hard at such a young age. I wish you all the best for your career”, and he smiled again.
“Thank you”, I said and boarded the bus.
I worked at Samba for about two months and met with ‘The Happy One’ almost everyday. He would be there at the bus stop every morning. He would see me and smile. He would do the same thing with many other passengers and they would smile back. Our conversations kept growing everyday. He would request me to pursue my studies and complete my graduation as it will help me grow in terms of my career. I kept assuring him I will, I never did, never wanted to be a graduate. One morning, I asked him about himself.
“I am a retired army man.”
“Oh! My grandfather is also a retired subedaar, he retired sometime in the late 1970s”, I informed him.
“I retired recently, 2 years ago”, he said.
“Were you posted in Kargil during the Kargil war?”
He smiled and said, “No. I wanted to be there but our unit was posted in Delhi that time. We were kept as backup to be sent to Kargil if required, but our army did well and we beat the enemy convincingly.”
“I was in Himachal when Kargil happened. The pictures of our soldier’s dead bodies being carried in coffins were soul shaking. Why do you think people fight over a piece of land? Why did Kashmiri Pandits had to leave Kashmir in the first place? Why do Islamic Terrorists are hell bent on dividing Kashmir?” I asked this question as it came to me. He wasn’t surprised a bit upon hearing this question. He explained it in such a convincing way that it left an everlasting impression on me.
He said, “In three thousand years man has fought five thousand wars and we call ourselves cultured? Just Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadir Shah, amongst these three, they have killed one hundred million people. The most cultured country, the most educated, which has created great philosophers like Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, Karl Marx, is the country of Adolf Hitler, who killed six million Jews in Germany in his gas chambers, and who killed in the second world war thirty million people. And they think they are civilized, they think they are cultured, they have a religion.
‘We ourselves introduce our anger, our violence, our jealousy, our competitiveness, our lust for power. We make the world a war field, we are bloodthirsty and we make others bloodthirsty too. We ourselves deprive humanity of its humanness. We help each other to fall below humanity, even sometimes below animals.
‘I know it is hard for you to understand at this time of your life but the world has known very few rebels. Now is the time, if humanity proves incapable of producing a large number of rebels, then our days on earth are numbered. This century may become our graveyard. We are coming very close to that point. We have to change our perception towards the world, we have to create a little more lovingness. We have to destroy the old man and his ugliness, his rotten ideologies, his stupid discriminations, idiotic superstitions, and create a new man, with fresh eyes, with fresh smile, with new values, a discontinuity with the past, that’s the meaning of rebelliousness.
‘In India, we have reforms and revolutionaries but no rebels. Reform means a modification. The old remains, you give it a new form, a new shape, a kind of renovation of an old building. Its original structure remains; you whitewash it, you clean it, you make a few windows, a few new doors.
‘Revolution goes deeper than reform. The old remains, but more changes are introduced, even in its basic structure, not only changing its color and opening a few windows and doors, but perhaps making new stories, taking it higher into the sky. But the old is not destroyed, it remains hidden behind the new; in fact, it remains the very foundation of the new. Revolution is a continuity with the old.
‘Rebellion is a discontinuity. It is not reform, it is not revolution; it is simply disconnecting yourself from all that is old. The old religions, the old political ideologies, the old man, all that is old, you disconnect yourself from it. You start life afresh, from scratch. We need to prepare humanity to begin life again, a resurrection, a death of the old and a birth of the new. The revolutionary tries to change the old; the rebel simply comes out of the old, just as the snake slips out of the old skin and never looks back. Unless we create such rebellious people around the earth, man has no future.
‘Son, you have been listening to me from quite a time now and I see that you have missed your bus as well. Today, I want you to go back home, sit in silence and think about it. The old man has brought man to his ultimate death. It is the old mind, the old ideologies, the old religions, they have all combined together to bring about this situation of global suicide. Only a new man can save humanity and this planet, and the beautiful life of this planet. The days of revolution are over, be a rebel.”
He was a rebel in the word’s truest sense. He was doing what people disliked. Being smiled upon by a total stranger is embarrassing to people. He did that everyday and whenever someone like me had a conversation with him, he replicated himself onto the other person. I wanted to be a revolutionary, I wanted to be an inspiration for my siblings back then, but today, I am just a happy rebel.