Reading : A reason to be alive

Sonal Dixit S.Y. ExTC

We all are finding a purpose in our lives. A

reason to live. A painter finds his reason in the

beauty of the colors, magician find his reason

in his magic, mother finds her reason in her

family, some people find their reason in the

people they love. But I find my reason in the

beauty of the book. Books are like webs. Once

you enter it you got stuck into it. People say

that our thoughts are like stars we can’t

comprehend them but a writer presents a whole

story of his thoughts. And that’s the beauty of

the book. When you enter a book, it’s as if you

are entering in the mind of someone else. You

feel like the writer is speaking directly to you.

You laugh with the characters you sob for their

loss you cherish their moments you silently pray

for their happiness; it is like you are inside the

book. You even make the picture of the

characters inside your head. You can feel it. A

good book has no end. Writers are the greatest

inventions of humankind. If you are sad, pick a

good book and start reading it or I’ll say start

feeling it. A good book is a remedy to all the

pain. Every book you read will give you

something worthy to remember. Some books

will help you find the purpose of life, some will

make you happy, some will make you sad and

some will make you think deeper. If you are a

good reader you will never walk alone. You will

have a whole people’s life inside your head. You

can enter a new world anytime. No matter how

many times the world tries to silence you, you

have a book waiting for you to enlighten your

mood.

Like Mark Haddon says a good book will

listen to you. Appreciate every book you read.

Let every word sink in. Go slow and finally

become a part of it.

Here’s a line from one such a beautiful book,

“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and

humanity is won by continuing to play in face of

certain defeat.”

By Ralph Elison

Happy reading.I love reading my daily newspapers in the

morning with my glass of milk ( I know it’s weird

but I’m not a fan of tea and coffee). I know I

could get the same – or similar – content on

my laptop, iPad or smartphone, but for me,

nothing quite beats the thrill of sitting down with

The Times of India and savoring the experience

ahead of me.

One such Thursday morning, I grabbed my

newspaper from the table and sat on my chair

in the balcony with a glass of milk in my hand.

Not wishing to be over-dramatic about this, but

the moment when I sit down to read my

newspaper is like that moment in the theatre

when the orchestra starts to play before the

curtain goes up. You’re not sure exactly what’s

in store, but you know you’re in for a thrilling

ride that will leave you with plenty of thoughts

and opinions running through your head, and

that will take you out of yourself for a while.

I opened my newspaper and started reading

it, suddenly a news headline grabbed my

attention “India loses 7 spots in global list of

happiest nations, ranks 140th”. The first most

thought that entered my mind was the country I

have been living in since I was born, the country

where I’m getting my education from, the

country where my ancestors lived and worked

in, the country which I admire the most in the

world for its culture and traditions has become

one of the unhappiest countries in the world.

I started reading the whole article to knowabout it more. According to reports, it said that

Finland is the happiest country amongst 156

nations surveyed by the UN Sustainable

Development Solutions Network. India has

dropped down seven spots in the happiness

rankings as compared to its 2018 ranking. The

Times of India quoted the report saying with the

increase in population, the overall happiness has

dropped worldwide.

So just because there is an increase in

population, India is not happy anymore. I found

that reason ridiculous. To verify this fact, I

checked where China is ranked in the list and

China was ranked at the 93rd position. Well,

after knowing China’s position the reason stated

by the newspaper was totally absurd and

baseless. It may be one of the reasons for India

not being happy but it was not the root cause.

Then the next reason that popped up in my mind

was maybe India has high crime rates therefore

due to that fact it is not a happy country. And

then I got the next big shock, the United States

of America which had 17% more crime rates

than India was ranked 18th from the 156 listed

countries. So clearly increasing crime rates was

not a reason.

Then suddenly it clicked rather than

searching the factors due to which India is not

a happy country, maybe I should research why

the countries like Finland, Norway, Denmark

were on top of that list.

Everyone knowing Finland is the happiest

countries in the world consistently in the before

years by the reports thought that maybe it is

something in the Finnish DNA that was the

cause of everyone in the country being happy

there.

John Helliwell, a professor of economics at

the University of British Columbia, told CNN. “It’s

not about Finnish DNA. It’s the way life is lived

in those countries.”

He also quoted that “How communities

interact with each other whether in schools,

workplaces, neighborhoods or on social media

has profound effects on world happiness”.

I know you all must be thinking about what is

so different about their way of living in Finland

than in India.

What I got to know was these were the eight

factors that made Finland the happiest country

in the world-

1. High number of taxpayers

2. Good access to health care and better

mental health of the citizens.

3. Long life expectancy — 78 years for men

and 84 for women, according to 2015 data

from the World Health Organization

4. Low corruption

5. Support for those who need help from the

state or the communities

6. Frigid climate and long, dark winters have a

positive influence on residents’ perceived

well-being

7. Less competition at work and better support

for those without a job

8. More willing to accept and integrate

immigrants.

And knowing these eight factors the root

cause became clearer why Indians were not

happy. People in Finland pay almost 50% of their

earnings as tax, which helps the Finnish

government to provide their people with better

facilities and a happy environment. While in

India, only 2% of the population pays taxes, and

yes you are reading it right. So how can thegovernment provide us with better facilities when

we, as the citizens of India, are not ready to help

our government. By not paying taxes, the rich

people are getting richer and the poor are getting

poorer. Getting better facilities is our basic right

but paying taxes is our right as well as our duty

too.

The health care facilities in Finland are known

to be the best in the world. Finnish municipalities

have switched from a primary healthcare system

to a family doctor system. Each family doctor

is responsible for about 2,000 patients. The aim

is for a patient to be able to contact her or his

doctor and have needs for treatment assessed

within three working days. This system has

proved very successful. Whereas in India, there

is not even a proper primary health care system

to treat the patients in rural areas. There is no

point to debate, facts show that India lacks in

its health care facilities.

The child mortality rate in Finland is one of

the lowest in the world; the infant mortality rate

is below 4%. While in India the child mortality

rate is 31.02%. Even the life expectancy rate is

more in Finland.

We are already familiar with the high rates

of corruption in India. India is one of the most

corrupted countries. Period. No country can live

happily in this corrupted and dishonest

environment. The government official accepting

bribery is as wrong as the person offering him

bribery. There is no debate for grey areas in that

matter. It is the absolute truth corruption is

wrong.

Another such factor is that the people of

Finland discussed the issues of mental health

openly. Due to the happy environment and openminded

philosophy in Finland, the people there

were less prone to mental health diseases.

Unlike in India, where mental health is not even

discussed openly. There are millions of cases

of mental health issues in India. This year reports

showed that almost every 3 out of 5 people were

suffering from depression and anxiety. Unless

we don’t start discussing these issues openly

and frankly, there is no hope for our country’s

bright and happy future.

Finnish people do have one thing ingrained

in their DNA; they are very helpful in nature. They

are very respectful and mannerly speaking

people. Even they treat the immigrants in their

country with the utmost respect and honor and

are very helpful towards them. Their government

is also always ready to help and provide its

citizens in need. The basic necessities of lifefood,

clothing, shelter, education, healthcare are

all provided to them by the government. The

quality of life there is very high. There is not much

competition anywhere.

The one thing that Indians follow absolutely

is that they are very competitive in nature.

For instance, in India, your neighbor’s son is

the SI unit of comparison. We are subjected to

competition from the day we step out of the

cradle. Then we have competitive exams like

IIT JEE and CAT, which decide your worth for

life (*sarcasm).

So our minds are molded for the competition

from the very beginning.

From the beginning of our childhood, we are

programmed to be competitive in nature. There

was no other way we knew rather than being

competitive, we couldn’t help thinking that way.

Why is there so much competition in India in

almost everything? When I got down to find an

answer to this question, I came across this

theory.

The Crab Theory

Not sure how many know about this. But the

way things are going in India, the country is

nowhere leading towards development.

By development, I am talking about a

common means, the ability to buy things. Today

mobiles are getting cheaper and food products

are getting costlier. Not to mention the farmers

committing suicide. Round and round this is

because of human nature which is especially

found in India.So, coming back to crab theory. When you

put the crab in a basket or a tank. If the crabs

work united, they can escape. But what happens

is… the moment a crab tries to go up and

escape, it is held back by other crabs simply

with a mentality that if we can’t go, neither can

you. I would consider the same theory which is

leading towards problems in India.

Now, after knowing so many facts and

gaining this amount of knowledge, I just had this

one thing revolving in my mind. Why was anyone

not affected by this headline except a few

people? Do people don’t care that they are

unhappy? Are they satisfied with the way they

are compromising and living? No one had a care

in the world after hearing this news. Even my

friends and family didn’t have a thing to say on

this matter when I shared it with them. And at

that moment I felt this one thing, I never felt

before - Fear. Fear for my country’s future. Will

we ever be able to achieve that kind of way of

living, that kind of quality of life they had in

Finland?

If we together as a country tried achieving

these goals, I’m sure India is much more

capable than we think and can achieve the no.

1 position in the coming year’s UN report and

become the happiest country in the world. All

we have to do is try and change the way we

think and accept the fact that A country is not

always perfect we have to try and make it

perfect.