It’s one of those swank up market departmental stores in Chennai. Shopping there is a kind of status symbol particularly among the upper middle-class families. Every visit to the shop is sure to set you back by a few thousand rupees. I was there a couple of weeks back to look up for a ‘state of the art’ beard trimmer that the shop had extensively advertised for. As I went around eyeing the beautifully arrayed goodies, my eyes fell on a two year old child seated atop a shopping cart and wheeled around by his father. Since blogs have to be short crisp affairs, I’d simply stop with saying that the child was one of the most beautiful kids I had seen in my life. No one in the shop could resist petting the sweet child with a gentle ruffling of his hairs or a feather touch on his chubby cheeks. The child had taken everyone by storm. A few minutes later, I was returning after seeing a demonstration of the beard trimmer and saw again the child gesticulating wildly at some toy kept on the shelf. The toy looked expensive and the father, like all fathers, fearing a terrible onslaught on his purse tried to wheel away the wailing child to distraction. The child, true to the time-honoured axiom that the sweeter they are the more adamant they will be, refused to budge an inch from its expressed desire to acquire the toy at any cost. The dad was equally adamant and the child’s wailing grew stronger and stronger. The child’s mummy tried all the tricks in her limited repertoire to appease the child but it only made things worse. The operations in the shop came practically to a grinding halt and the shoppers were moved by the agony of the child. One old man went as far as venturing to offer to buy the toy and gift it to the child but the indignant dad waved his hand firmly rejecting the offer. But the old man’s offer did have the desired effect on the father who finally condescended to buy the toy. I left the scene only after seeing the smile back on the child’s face with the toy clutched firmly in its tiny hands. I moved on to the Book Section and did some browsing for a while. I was as usual marveling at the bulky stuff these modern authors could churn out by the dozen at regular intervals. Browsing through these books, I always felt bad about having led a totally uneventful life so far and I felt worse that I could not write even a crow and fox story effectively enough to get a child to read it in full. So with self pity oozing profusely from every pore of my body, I walked out of the Book Section a beaten man. My walk back to the exit of the Shop took me past the Toy Section where I saw that child waging a battle to get that toy as though its very life depended on it. I saw them again in a different section. The dad was carting the sweet child followed by its mother pushing another cartload of goodies. In the corner of that cart was the Toy lying uncared for. The child seemed no more interested in the toy and content even without it. This incident set me on an introspective mood. I ran my entire life thus far in my mental screen and pondered over everything I aspired for, desired intensely and fought fierce battles to get them. I realised that nothing ever gave me permanent happiness. But when I desire something I behave as if my whole life depends on it. If I get what I desire, it gets lodged at the attic at the earliest possible opportunity. If my happiness is from what I get, should it not be a permanent fixture of my existence? I remembered Ramana Maharshi's famous example of a dog chewing a dry bone. The bone pierces the gums of the dog and blood starts flowing and the dog happily drinks it thinking it is coming from the bone it chews whereas it is its own blood! No matter what stage of life we are in, we behave very much like that child in the shop. I now resolve to look for something that will give me permanent happiness and will remain as my close ally giving me never-ending happiness for as long as I live. And may God help me find that one!