• The Expresso Cat

The Pursuit of Happiness

Updated: Mar 10

If our condition were truly happy, we would not seek diversion from it in order to make ourselves happy. ~ Blaise Pascal


I’m done being a Marionette to my past.

A man can only block the hits that he anticipates, but is a prime target for the hits that he cannot see coming. And just like any shooting range, there is only so much distance I can put between myself and the arrows of truth before I can no longer forestall the inevitable strike of reality. So for this purpose, I will not mince my words in this post and will get straight to my confession.

I am a deeply flawed person, despite the confident vibes that most people notice at a prima facie glance. In all actuality, my mind is a battleground of prideful, emotional, manipulative, conniving and lustful thoughts, and despite using every trick in the book to suppress the resulting behavioural tendencies and habits, I have come to the harsh reality that I cannot help myself at all. I am not a divine being, rather a product of 21st-century vices. If Karma were real, then there would be no place where I could hide where its sense of justice would not be exacted in full. Truth be told, until 2019, I sincerely hoped that God doesn’t exist, because if He did, then damnation is only a matter of time, and until then, well, Carpe Diem.

When we take a few moments to introspect and weigh our thoughts, motives, actions and feelings, that is when we see ourselves in the mirror for the first time, and truth be told, I hated what I saw. I saw the people I had left crushed under my careless footsteps. I saw the tears they had shed when I took advantage of their affections and the scars I had inflicted on them, as a permanent reminder of what would happen if they let themselves be vulnerable with someone, the way they had with me. The worst part? The closer I looked, the more I realised that the ones that paid the highest price were the ones that called me family, especially my mother. We live in a society that excuses boys and girls for being a Grade-A jerk to our loved ones during their teenage years under the blanket excuse of “Puberty” or “Hormone swings”. This gives us the leeway to do or say whatever we want to our parents, even if it leaves deep scars.

This was exactly what happened with me and when I look back at the text transcripts with my mother during my college years, I am horrified to see the roots of where the boyish rebellion grew into the sociopathic tendencies that I displayed later on in my life (Tip: Girls, if you truly want to know how a man would eventually treat you, carefully observe the way he treats his mother). By the time I reached the age of 20, I had lost the keenly woven sense of empathy that I used to have and found it hard to relate to others, to comfort them, to love them, and to wear my heart on my sleeve the way I used to. Relationships became less about selfless love, intimacy and compromise and more about what I can benefit from them. Although the term “Casanova” became synonymous with my name amongst my friend circles, the terms “vain”, “prideful”, “emotionally unavailable” and “shallow” were far more in line with the opinions of my most recent dates. It was almost as though life were a ‘romantic’ competition and that the end goal was to date as many girls as I could before I would probably settle down in my 30s.

I eventually ended up falling for someone who had quite a large history of scars herself and, at first glance, it seemed too good to be true. I wanted to believe that she was different from the other girls I had dated and that we could ‘fix’ each other. With this expectation, I tried my best to change for her, I really did. I gave her my 100% and relearnt what it was to pursue a girl with romance rather than lust. I distanced myself from my family and friends as well as bunked college frequently to give her most of my time and even got a part-time job to spend money with her whenever I could. The first few months were amazing. We went from party to party, restaurant to restaurant, and frequently stayed out for weeks at a time, getting to know each other in a way I had never truly known a woman before. For a brief span of time, I was happy and felt like I could finally start experiencing life in a new way altogether. Maybe, just maybe, it was not too late to redeem myself from my past.

27th October 2018 was the day when everything I had held onto dearly was taken from me. We were planning a joined birthday celebration as my ex’s birthday was a few days before mine, so we picked a date in between and booked a villa for the party. When the night began, I could not have been any happier. We had good music, a wide selection of drinks, and a house full of good friends to party with. However, as the night went on, my ex was showing interest in another mutual friend of ours at the party, and though I had my suspicions, I gave her the benefit of the doubt, until the heart-wrenching moment when I saw her go into a separate room with him and lock the door behind them. Until that point, I thought I knew pain, but heartbreak? This was immeasurably more painful and all I can remember was the room going silent and my thoughts growing deafening as I pathetically sat on a sofa wondering what to do next.

I wish I could say I walked away and moved on, but I did not. I had nowhere else to go and nobody else I could trust. For the next 9 months, I tried to fix the relationship even though she continuously found more ways to hurt me, knowing that she had my heart under her thumb. When I finally found it in me to break up with her after several cases of her infidelity and manipulation, I did not even have my dignity left to take with me. What hurt, even more, was that the ONLY person I had been vulnerable with did not value me enough to at least tell me she had cheated on me, as I had found out myself each time she did. It’s one thing to take a man’s pride but to take away a person’s self-worth? Wanting to run away from it all, in 2019, I had moved to Bangalore to pursue a career in a new city, far from her and my past, and ready to try dating again to make up for the lost pride.

Yeah, well, that was not how things ended. With each successive date that followed, it took away crucial pieces of my already broken heart and by the time I realized it, I could barely recognize the person left behind toting my name. I soon came to realise that the weight of the pain that I was carrying and the pain I had inflicted were too much to bear alone. However, when I tried to connect with my best friends at the time and open up to them, I came to realize the burdens that they too were carrying and realised that there was no qualified person in my close circle or family with whom I could open up to about all of this. I was in an entirely different city, which was far from home, and the friends I had made there were too new in my life to trust with this information. I was truly alone, in a hell of my own making, with nothing but my fragile heart and piercing guilt as my company. Frankly, a therapist would cost too much and, being an avid psychology buff myself, there was very little a therapist could tell me that I had not already tried to tell myself. To make matters worse, the people I had tried to open up to assumed that I was exaggerating or being dramatic and that only solidified my resolve to take my woes and scars to my grave with me.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away,’ ~ Revelation 21:4.

After encountering the intense Love of Christ on Dec 9th 2019, it was like someone had turned on a light inside of me and exposed the shadows within my heart. Before, I could only see the world in black and white, but once the veil was removed on that fateful night, the entire world was now visible in different colours. I had read about different people’s encounters with Christ earlier and how it had changed the very direction of their lives, but to experience it firsthand is breathtaking. Years of much-needed therapy were made completely irrelevant in that one night that gave me an eternal reason to hope again. And it did not just end there. One of the second things that I did as a new believer (after learning to follow Christ firstly) was to patch up the relationships that I had almost lost a few years ago and amazingly, 90% of the relationships that I had almost destroyed before were completely restored and I still am fortunate enough to have stayed close to many of the good folks that I have had the privilege of knowing for years now.

Although the ride had been shaky, today, I am an entirely distinct person as I sit and write this article. And contrary to popular opinion, I cannot take credit for any of it. I was on a one-way path to self-destruction and there was and is still nothing I could have done to have changed that. Even though the evidence for the Biblical narrative is enough to rationally conclude that Jesus is God after conducting a detailed and objective investigation, the real reason why I serve God and have dedicated my life to following Him is that He loved me before I knew who He was. He chose me before I was even born. While everyone else I trusted walked away, He came after me. That fateful night, I did not find him, rather; He revealed Himself to me. I am where I am only because He has mercy and loves the broken and downtrodden. To be completely transparent with you, readers; I have dedicated months of research to reading several chapters of the holy books of other popular religions to see whether the message of Hope in the underlying message of the Bible is repeated there as well (to test the theory that all religions are the same), and to my utter amazement, there are no verses or scripture in any of those books to comfort the aching heart of a broken man.

The nitpicked passages and verses shared by some well-meaning folks who claimed that it would help me were merely superficial and contradictory to the overall message found in the context of other chapters and doctrines found elsewhere in those same books and therefore warranted no significance, interest or comfort to the existential needs of mine and many others as well. Emboldened by the dawning reality that the Bible is indeed a historical record of actual events, real-life people, and a collection of prophecies, promises and the Word of the one true God, I opened up to the idea of sharing the Gospel message and my faith with others through this blog and through one-on-one interactions. So, dear reader, if you are also going through something difficult, I hope that this article and its message would provide comfort to you knowing that you are not alone, and if you feel up for a chat, please reach out to me through the contact form on this website page and I would reach out to you to offer you a listening ear and judgement-free space to hear your woes. Whatever may be your next move, please read the following promise spoken by Jesus Himself, recorded in the book of Matthew (11:25-30) -

‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’