Wai! Norzin Lam fell silent from the usual roar of traffic as we observed the first ever International Happiness Day on Wednesday. Except for some loud music issuing forth from here and there, all else was tranquil. It was a fine feeling to walk the street without having to calculate the speed of approaching cars and trying to out-run them to cross over to the other side.
Our Prime Minister walking down the street with his grandchildren, talking casually to people as he passed by, and parents letting loose the toddlers on to the street to refine their wobbly steps with no worries of them being run over by cars were some of the memorable moments of the day. It was a day when the high and the low came out as one to assert that happiness means the same to everyone. It was a Bhutanese way of expression, refreshingly unique.
The day also left us with some important lessons. Children coming out on the streets with whatever plaything they could lay hands on to make the most of the streets empty of vehicles shook us to the fact that we still don’t have appropriate play fields for children. What we have has proven to be more of a hazard than favourite haunt for the children.
This incites a wild idea that one of the streets in Thimphu should be closed to traffic always so that we at least have a place to walk with our children and our grandparents as leisure permits without having to compete with speeding cars. We could even name it as ‘The Happiness Road’.
If the world can set aside a day in a year for happiness, why can’t we, the pioneers of happiness philosophy give a street such a name? It would be a nice idea to walk the road of happiness everyday than thinking about it once a year.