History & Culture

Debate: Are we truly happy?

Moderated by Suki Sivam had speakers come up with interesting analogies

Speech when refined is a fine art. Suki Sivam, popular speaker, has redefined it with well-researched content. A record number of rasikas gathered at the Mahakavi Kalidas Natya Mandir, Mulund, to hear him, on the inaugural event of the golden jubilee, hosted by Mulund Fine Arts Society (MFAS).

The preliminaries included lighting of the lamp, felicitation of Suki Sivam and other speakers, honouring of N. Rajgopal, president of MFAS, by the committee members, acknowledging the support of Chandrasekar, president of Kala Mandal, followed by Rajagopal’s inaugural address in Tamil and updating by Sita Jayaraman, secretary.

“I am privileged to be in the land of Shivaji and Ambedkar,” stated Suki Sivam. He congratulated MFAS for promoting and propagating Tamil language. “Rasikas are the key to any successful programme,” he stressed. The subject of the debate was ‘In today’s scenario are we truly happy or pretending to be happy?’

Pivot on happiness

What is joy? Sivam cited the research of 50 reactions in the movie ‘Happiness.’ Money is just 10 per cent. Enjoying the fruits of your sweat is important. Logically speaking, the driver of a BMW enjoys it more than the owner, who has toiled to buy it. Being with people whom we love and people who love us is 40 per cent happiness and 40 per cent is to doing what we enjoy doing, without any duress. The balance ten per cent is the personal quotient which cannot be generalised.

Amala Stanley, opening speaker, declared that happiness is our birth right. Problems are there, binding on us but happiness is voluntary and needs to be practised. Nagarajan said that we are like the trapped mouse. It can bite the way out but fear of being caught is deadly. Negative thoughts sap energy. He took Shakespeare’s support to say that the world is a stage and that all men and women are mere players. We have accepted actors as leaders and given them power.

Venkatraman upheld the ‘never say die’ spirit of the Mumbai citizen, who has to undergo the ordeal of train travel. Some of them might have learnt to enjoy the experience. All of us cherish every incident of growth in our life. Simple life is joy. He quoted Bharatiar, who sang ‘Ethanai Kodi Inbam’.

Bhuvana Venkat pointed out the difference between existing and living. Only three categories are truly happy, a baby, sage and a lunatic. Technology has improved connectivity but disconnected people from one another. Manikandan started on a witty note saying that he was glad to be photographed at close quarters like a catwalk model. Happiness for one could be seeing a child write on the wall, while for another it is seeing a seed sprouting. Each man to his happiness.

Mohanasundaram compared people to pizza — a circle cut into triangles in a square box. “We are like pizza. Each one of us deserves an Oscar for our excellent acting,” he said.

Even when speakers went astray to elicit audience applause, Suki Sivam did not lose focus of the topic whether it was the introduction, intervention or closing remarks.

Only sadists and masochists wallow in self-pity, Suki Sivam said in sum. For a person who cannot play the instrument, the veena is like bamboo but for one who can, a bamboo becomes the bansuri. The poor are uncomfortably unhappy while the rich are comfortably unhappy. The veteran saluted the artistic temperament of the audience, who stayed back beyond 11 p.m. on a rainy day.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 6:03:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/debate-are-we-truly-happy-by-suki-sivam/article29842432.ece

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