January 18, 2024

Frustrated by the challenging start of the year, I decided to take a break from the situation. This year, unlike the fantastic beginning of 2023, seemed to be going downhill right from the start. Unable to focus on work or deal with my emotions and decisions, I impulsively booked a flight to a hill station for the next day. Next day, I quickly booked a cab which came within 5 minutes . I hugged my mom, loaded my bags, and headed to the airport. The driver appeared genuinely happy, contrasting with my own mood as I left the city in search of inner happiness. Curious, I asked him if his day started well. He replied, "Sir, my day always starts well because I start my work after leaving my kids to school. Waking them up, getting them dressed, and leaving them at school is a challenging task, but I enjoy it so much."

His words reminded me of my dad, who took responsibility for taking me to school and bringing me back every day. Although I wanted a bicycle to hang out with friends, but he refused to let me as it was the only time we could spend together, with me sitting close to him and talking extensively about our days and his work. While i was nostalgic and was missing my dad, I reached the airport and gave an additional 100rs and asked to treat the kids on my behalf. I went to check in with the thought that perhaps I ought to have added 100 more. I had the the window seat, securing it initially brought me joy, but fatigue set in, and I dozed off after closing the window shade.

As I closed it, I noticed a 10-year-old boy on the opposite side, eyeing my seat. Perhaps he wished for a window seat, wondering how someone could miss out on such an opportunity to enjoy the view having gotten the window seat. Perhaps he pondered how he deserved the window seat, but the person who didn't appreciate the excitement of getting it was the one who received it (life). I thought of offering my seat but the echoes of my days not going well prevented me from being enough kind that day. Upon landing, I booked a cab immediately. The cab was running late, and I was becoming frustrated again. I had come all the way to cope with my annoyance and calm myself, but it was not happening. After questioning the driver, he explained that this was his kid's school closing time, so he had to pick them up first and drop them off at home, and then he came to me.

It reminded me of my dad's occasional early or late arrivals due to work priorities. Annoyed, I remained silent on the way home, because of which we talked about our days at work and school while he dropped me off at school in the morning. Upon reaching the hotel and settling into my room, I took a hot bath and fell asleep because I was so exhausted. My doorbell began ringing nonstop, and someone was yelling, "Sir, sir." I was so irritated for not letting me have my peace. I yelled at the man for interrupting my sleep as I answered the door. It was the same cab driver who came to return my power bank that I left inside the car. I thanked him in a rude voice. The cab driver got a call where he was consulting the kids that he was coming home soon and they would have their lunch together and he rushed. I was watching him and felt happy for prioritizing his family when I saw him fall from the staircase so hard.

His brain got hit, and there was a lot of blood. I ran towards him. He was taken to the hospital immediately. I didn't feel good at all and felt so miserable for so many disturbing things happening to me since the start of the year. I felt like shouting so hard that no one could hear, I started crying there. I felt so lonely and alone. And I was going up when my foot slipped and I fell from the staircase. It happened all of a sudden and got me reminded of all of my life's past, my unheard dreams, my hard work—everything splashed in front of my eye. I asked in the moment, What and where is my share of happiness? Suddenly, I woke up in a dark chamber, surrounded by hazy clouds, wondering if I had reached the afterlife. The sound of "sir, sir, sir" interrupted my thoughts, and I realized it was the cab driver again. Is he dead too? What about his kids? Are they strong enough to deal with life without a father? Who will drive them to school, and what if they choose the wrong path in their life? Who will advise them ?

I heard a telephone ringing by my side. My eyes got opened all of a sudden, and panicking, I searched for water. It was the receptionist who called to inform me that the cab driver had been knocking to return my power bank and expressed concern about my well-being. Opening the door, I took the power bank, hugged the driver, and thanked him. I gave him an additional 200 rupees, urging him to get something special for his kids. Closed the door, turned off the AC and opened the windows for fresh air. I smiled and thought, Indeed, a trip in search of happiness.