What Makes Me Happy
India Today|October 04, 2021
From long walks on the beach and a good book to the sound of their children’s laughter and hanging out with friends, people from across fields share what happiness means to them

ROHAN VERMA CEO & Executive Director, MapmyIndia

“Happiness for me is a state of equanimity and contentment with one’s situation. What makes me happy is a relaxed state of mind—which happens when I am with my family, spending time with them. Or when I am looking at a blue sky or am on a beach, watching and listening to the waves or just walking, when I am having a relaxed evening with friends or colleagues. I think we as humans naturally yearn and seek happiness—that is our state of equilibrium. Our happiness gets disturbed when our mind gets stressed and hence being happy requires doing things needed to relax one’s mind. And it is the seemingly small things which usually make us most relaxed and happy”

SHASHI THAROOR Congress Lok Sabha MP, Author

“ The greatest happiness, in my experience, comes from bringing positivity into the lives of others. As an MP, I am confronted daily by the problems of my constituents, many of which have weighed them down to the point of despair—a mother needing help for a sick child, a parent seeking to get her paramilitary son transferred to a post nearer home…a bereaved widow who has lost her family’s only breadwinner and needs employment for her son, a scholar knocking vainly on the doors of the bureaucracy to get her fellowship funds released. Whatever I can do for them that brings a smile to their faces gives me more satisfaction and happiness than seeing my book climbing up the bestseller charts or India winning a cricket Test match!”

MARTAND KHOSLA Architect and Artist

“Happiness for me is moments. It is the unexpected moment in a chance encounter with a person, a touching story and an artwork or building that instantly affects your core. And it is the unexpected chuckle or reaction of my children to new situations; though that is more like a burst of happiness! Or it is the series of moments in the creative process between expectation and realisation. It’s the moment before the completion of a building or a sculpture as it is almost realised. Happiness becomes the approach to creation, where the imagination is not yet fully realised or still holds surprises”

ARUSHI MUDGAL Odissi dancer

Simple things in life bring me joy and happiness. A long, solitary walk close to nature with the wind blowing on my face, a silent conversation with a confidante, watching a nonsensical movie and laughing with family, an unexpected smile from a stranger, floating in water, a beautiful song, a sign from the universe when everything seems to be falling apart, the sun, moon, stars in their glory, precious moments of abandon and bliss while dancing, the satisfaction of creativity...and each time I remind mys elf, happiness is but a state of mind. When I find it within, I find it without”

“I feel happy when I solve something complex. It gives me huge happiness and lights up my mind”-ASHWINI VAISHNAW Union Minister of Railways, Communications, and Electronics and Information Technology

HARSH GOENKA Chairman, RPG Enterprises

“Happiness is a mindset. A mindset we all have to cultivate. This pandemic has taught me that happiness is not a destination. It is an ongoing work in progress, a state of mind that we need to work at every day. To appreciate and value all that we have in life, which we often overlook and take for granted. To be kind and generous, not in terms of merely practising charity, but the kindness and generosity that comes with the spirit of doing and giving without expectation. I find happiness in creating joy around me—be it through creating an enabling environment, social outreach programmes, services that empower and enable others, or even through kind words and simple encouraging conversations. It is the joy of giving back to the community. Happiness to me is also the freedom to choose. For each of us to live a life without fear, based on our personal choices and, most importantly, in harmony and acceptance of others. Happiness is celebrating and encouraging differences. It is building a collective society where people are unafraid of innovation and open to potential change and endless possibilities. Practised every day, happiness is addictive and has a way of sustaining itself. All we need to do is embrace the right mindset with open hearts”

C.P. GURNANI Managing Director & CEO, Tech Mahindra Ltd

“Right now, happiness for me is this cute bundle of unbridled joy that dominates and dictates our lives—my nine-month-old grandson. My family is my safe harbour, always backing me with their unconditional love and unquestioned support. They allowed me to dream big, fly high with all those million miles and challenge conventional thinking. As a leader, happiness to me is also about creating more leaders who are a combination of dreamers and doers than followers. It is about impacting people, living a life of purpose and leaving the planet better than we found it”

HIMANTA BISWA SARMA Chief Minister, Assam

“There are two dimensions to happiness— professional and personal. At the professional front, when I’m assigned a task or take up a mission for public good, accomplishment of the objective brings me happiness. The tougher the challenge, the higher the happiness quotient because it demands more effort and commitment. The joy and excitement lie in the process of being up to the challenge. Once the goal is achieved, I take a break and enjoy solitude and quietness for a few days. Those are my moments of happiness too. On the personal front, my daughter is my biggest source of happiness. After a hectic day at work, when I return home and see my daughter, it brings me unparalleled happiness. As I spend time talking to her, understanding her world, doing little things together, I feel emotionally content and blissful”

PRAJAKTA KOLI YouTuber, Creator and Actor

I think, for me, my people always make me happy. I have completely lucked out in the people department. I have the most amazing people around me at all times—at work, at home, everywhere. My work also makes me happy. I absolutely love my job. No one day is similar to another. I get to travel and meet new people and try different things. It is challenging, nerve-wracking and absolutely wonderful and I am grateful that it is a major source of happiness for me. I also have the most amazing audience. I feel I lucked out there too. They support me through thick and thin. They have held my hand through the ups and downs and overall been a solid system for whatever I do. Another source of happiness for me is food. I love food, I love travel. These are things that are guaranteed sources of happiness for me”

“What makes me happy are the many sad things happening around me, because of which I am getting so many stories” - RAM GOPAL VARMA- Filmmaker

NILESH SHAH Managing Director, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management

To me, happiness is a state of mind. No matter what happens, one should always be happy. Unfortunately, I haven’t reached that state. During the second wave of the pandemic, I was part of the volunteer group at Kotak Bank. When we were able to get medicine, hospital admissions, oxygen cylinder etc. for our colleagues, friends and relatives, it gave me the maximum happiness”


Happiness is so many different things to so many people. After the last two years of the pandemic, I have realised that happiness for me is family, friends and being able to be outdoors. So, if I have good health, family, friends and can be outside in the open, that is my greatest happiness today”

“My sense of happiness has always been in the greater good of the people of Bihar. So, seeing Bihar's girls riding bicycles to schools, a confident policewoman doing her duty, or a Jeevika didi (Bihar women self-help group member) supporting her family financially...all these give me a sense of fulfillment. The progress made because of our initiatives...and our efforts for the protection of our rich cultural heritage give me a moment of contentment. And, to top it all, the empowerment of women because of 50 per cent reservation in Panchayat and urban local bodies makes me happy” NITISH KUMAR Chief Minister, Bihar

GULZAR Lyricist, Filmmaker

“Bother! You ask: ‘What is happiness, according to you?’ Is that any kind of question? Tell me: is it possible to find a universal definition of happiness? Or even to define happiness? It is futile to try and coax meaning out of everything—it is the feeling that holds meaning, not the fact of its existence”

JYOTIRADITYA M. SCINDIA Union Minister of Civil Aviation

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine