By Basra Hassan Life is short. Some statements are so cliché you start ignoring them. I thought so too, about enjoying every moment, living in the ‘now’ and all those endless discussions on living a life. But life in all its power taught me some valuable lessons I cannot forget now. My uncle, who was a patient of severe chronic depression, killed his two boys before shooting himself on a very hot morning in August 2014. The children’s mother had died of cancer many years back and they lived with their maternal aunt away from their father in Pakistan for 10 years. They were mere toddlers when their mother passed away so everyone considered it a pragmatic move to send them to live with their aunt and her children who loved them with their life. Their dad visited them occasionally but lived with his sister in the US. My uncle had more than six siblings, living in the US and in Pakistan. We heard he had started showing signs of depression after his wife passed away. We hardly met him, once every four-five years maybe. He wasn’t living with the children, yet he was an affectionate father. He left a suicide note saying only he was responsible for the children’s deaths. Most of us assumed he would have feared abandoning his children so he took them away with him. What followed was emotional devastation for all of us including my aunt who had recently lost her husband. To say we have moved on would be cruel exaggeration but I’m glad to share some crucial lessons this tragedy taught us. Maybe I can help pull someone from the agony and torture these incidents inject into people’s lives: The Brain Train – train your brain to see the happiness in your current tale: Search for happiness in the NOW! Happiness is something that has to be cultivated. Find it in the small, meaningless day-to-day activities. Rummage for happiness in talking to that cashier after groceries, look for it while looking at that bird nestling its babies, search for it in the most meaningless stuff like cleaning the floor. Find meaning and smile. Just pause with those thoughts of modifications to your current situation. Aims and ambitions give rise to those feelings of dissatisfaction. Having said that, goals aren’t bad, in fact life is so useless without hopes of a better tomorrow. But those goals shouldn’t mar one’s current state of happiness. The right thing is to remember one’s goals and keep working for them in the background. The purpose is to live happily in whatever the current situation is, as complexities find their way to unlock in the background. Destiny has a way of rewarding those at peace with what they have. The trick is to be happily patient, go about life while letting the nature’s magic happen. Let God make his move! Love doing stuff you hate. Dread your daily commute? Find happiness in it, look at those pretty flowers you pass by every day, that extra time you use to talk to your mom or text a friend is so beautiful. Once every few days, take a deep breath, dip your faith in nature’s beauty and savour that blissful second by being thankful! This might seem very bookish, but I did it and therefore I quote my story. Prioritise – have ambitions but prioritise! Take out time for the real things like family, friends, people, be it a homeless guy staring blankly at the sky. That’s the reality, the real purpose of life. Stop by to give a loaf of bread to him and talk to him like he’s a normal soul. He’ll be shocked leaving you with feelings euphoria to be exact. This is real. Books are real, fame is real, money is real, and career is real yet this is the best of all that is real. Have all that but don’t let it churn you badly such that you forget these real reals. In a nutshell, do all that. There’s nothing better than that feeling of pride when you achieve something like your goal of having your own company, eg but there’s bad in clinging to the search for that happiness only. Why? You know why? Because my cousins left their huge pile of Schoolbooks, expensive toys and even their pile of wealth here. They just couldn’t grab any of it. All that we have now are stories of those beautiful boys that we can cherish, tales of their lovingness, their gentle natures, and their helpful souls. And the world blossoms to those kind of tales.