“Happiness is what you feel when you know how you are feeling. For example, when faced with a tragedy, when you find the inner strength to cope with the situation, when you get up, dust yourself and move on, that feeling, that understanding is happiness,” explains Jayshree.
There’s a spiritual depth to her perspectives. She confesses that she does have those times when she tears up, when she feels lost and is in pain. In 2011, she lost her mother who was a ‘friend, philosopher and guide’. Then she lost her husband, another huge pillar of strength, in December 2013. “The pain is intense. It is like somebody is cutting you up. So I feel happiness is so abstract. I have learnt that you must be happy when you are happy. And when you are unhappy, be unhappy. Don’t ever ask why,” she says.
The equanimity about Jayshree perhaps comes from learning to live without something basic — that we all take for granted, our hearing — for all your life. “It is okay if you can’t do somethings in life. Some can hear. Some can’t hear. I have learnt to focus on what I can than focusing on what I can’t. This is what Life is all about. I live by the twin principles my husband has taught me – don’t complain, don’t expect sympathy!”
These principles have led Jayshree to take her seeking spirit and anchor it with the cause behind her Ability Foundation — an organisation that works with specially abled people. She questioned why society was labeling people as disabled. She champions that people with disabilities are people first — they need understanding and opportunity, not reservation, not pity. So Ability Foundation was born in 1995; and has today evolved into an institution that is built to last. Jayshree serves us all a gentle reminder of the transient nature of life when she says, “Every human being is temporarily able-bodied! Everyone, if you live long enough, will be disabled soon.”
If we can embed this simple, thought-provoking learning in us, we too can deal with our everyday challenges better — and be happy!
— [@AVISViswanathan is a Life Coach, Happiness Curator & Author of ‘Fall Like A Rose Petal’]