"I've taken my destiny into my own hands and I'm in a happy place. "

- Charlie Simpson

Richa Mohta


The Story

Everyone loves the notion of a personal “happy place” — somewhere you can escape the hassle and constrictions of everyday life and feel completely at ease. It may be a busy shopping mall or the serenity of a beach and waves lapping at your feet. Think of it as that place you go to be fully present with yourself, and you can savor the experience. When we are acutely aware of the moments that provide us pleasure, we extend these experiences to maximize the amount of pleasure we derive from them.

After the culmination of our admission exams, random notions used to pop up in my head which I probably never cared to listen to. Now, these fleeting thoughts deserved their share of attention. I wasn’t disappointed that I heard their calls.

  • Solo backpacking 

  • Going on Adventure sports with friends (scuba diving, paragliding and more)

  • Charting the roads to Ladakh

  • Witnessing the Northern lights


Be the fortunate winner of a hundred million rupees (Well I know this was highly improbable, but again it wasn’t impossible).

These ideas set up their paradise in my head. And much to the dismay of my rationality, my imagination gave them a home. I could envisage myself posing on snowy hilltops, looking for SpongeBob under the sea and meeting delightful people; clicking pictures that would immortalize these moments so that I could revisit them for the rest of my life. Oh, what a spectacular summer it would be! As I was swaying with exultation, the power struggle between reason and desire came to a close. Reason took over and told me that winning a hundred million rupees was a more conceivable deal than any of my fantasized ideas. 

Now thinking from the viewpoint of practicality, this was, in its crude–but-clean form, a bucket list. The tumultuous struggles of grade 11 and 12, sure made it feel that I would die of my monotonous life routine. The persistent diminution in confidence, the perpetual uncertainty and the fear of failure had taken my mind hostage. I had limited myself to a set of robotic actions, secluded from the multitudes of imagination. Those two years brought with them a sense of confinement and shackles that I wanted to be free of, but unfortunately couldn’t. I had created a fence, a barbed wire fence between the necessary and the happy. I refused to let myself merge the two, or climb over to the happy.  I realized that the more trapped one feels, greater is the want to move farther. Hence the bucket list dejectedly amounted to nothing but an inventory of wishes. 

The summer between the fate-determining examinations and college held a lot of expectations. I wanted to live the lost time of two ostensibly lost years in the inadequate period of two months. And once I found that breach in the barbed fence, there was no stopping to the volume of my thoughts. These thoughts eventually tore the crack apart, making exponentially increase until the fence itself stood as a heap of broken chains. I was left standing in a field with no end in sight; the entire world was open to me. Slowly my happy place grew proportionately to accommodate more ambitions. My bucket list had started to look like a lifetime of opportunities, rather than a summer of dreams. But there was no dam to stop the surplus. My mind palace was analogous to a deer left to roam free in the wild with no predators.

  • Swimming across the English channel

  • Tasting cuisines from all over the world

  • Volunteering at the Bill Gates foundation

  • Publishing a book of my own

  • Painting a masterpiece

  • Becoming a voice-over artist in an animated movie

  • Meeting J.K. Rowling

 Just the possibility, of any one of these happening in reality, brought forth a surge of serotonin and oxytocin in my body. The barricades I had put up stopped me from making mistakes because they never let me venture into uncharted territories. I figured that if letting my ideas flow free could be life-changing, maybe the issue is just me and my mind. This was the ‘eureka’ moment! This was the point in time where the separation between my perceptions and reality was bridged. 

My perceptions however made a 180 degree turn, and I realized I didn’t need to complete a set of spectacular targets to fit my joy in the pre-conceived ideals of society. Happiness was merely a state of mind subjected to my emotions! By letting my imagination run unrestricted, I dared to think that I could achieve it. 

So, I set this bucket list aside for a later date, or rather my entire life and picked up a book to read. The smile I had on my face then, formed the basis of my entire summer-before-college bucket list.  To do something that makes me smile, even for a moment.

  • Read a book and imagine myself as the protagonist

  • Watch a flower bloom as it sways with the wind

  • Plant a tree and hope to see it thrive

  • Listen to a new song that I can hum 

  • Talk to a person I lost touch with

  • Doodle till I forget to count the hours 

  • Play board games and relive the jolliest times 

  • Share laughs and bond with my family

  • Redecorate my room till it feels new 

And…spread my trivial and naïve, but real-world understanding of happiness. 

For the time being, I found my happy place. The beauty of happiness is that it is subjective as well as a state of mind. With the right outlook, your happy place will be easier to find. The next time you find yourself in your favourite place, take some time to savour the moments. Maybe write down the scene happening around you to remind yourself later what you enjoyed so much.


Edited By :

Anshu Behera

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