"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think.  Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.  ~A.A. Milne

 

Happiness? Too vague. Euphoria? No. Bliss? Too big. The feeling that stumped Pooh, stumps me too, and apparently, the Thesaurus itself!

Too often than not, smiling is conscious. We smile at acquaintances we meet at parties, at the new relative being introduced or when pretending to be an attentive listener. But aside from the forced etiquette, there is also a candid curving of the corners of the mouth, the kind that creeps up to the cheeks without us even noticing. What do you call that?

When the phone suddenly blinks and it’s him, what do you call the warm feeling of fluttering? Or when you finish reading the book, the achievement and contentedness that you feel? Or the fuzzy feeling that you get when you see someone’s face light up after giving them a gift?

So many shades of happiness. So few words.

Frequently the things that make our day present themselves in little surprises: a stupid antic, a nostalgic song, a warm ‘hello’ or simply a ‘It’s Friday!’ realization (No wonder Rebecca Black made a whole song out of it!).  We mostly fail to notice how an easy compliment from a stranger, or someone telling a secret just to us, or even seeing a kid be well, himself, leaves us grinning for a long time; perhaps because we cannot express it any way.

“How did it feel?”

‘Nice.’, ‘Awesome!’, ‘Good.’, ‘Great!’—vague words are often what we get, and if not those, some oblique comparisons: ‘on cloud nine’ (whoever got that idea?) or ‘like warm sunshine and ice-creams’ (yes, I actually got this reply).

Happiness is a tricky concept; it is dreamy and for most of us, seemingly just out of reach. In all this ideological pursuit of happiness, where do these little pleasures come in? Somehow, these moments seem bigger, and even happier than the idea of happiness itself. So, how do you describe that?

My friend replies, “Ineffable.” Yeah, ironic.

Image: http://browse.deviantart.com/?qh=&section=&q=Happiness#/d2xr5l9