The little story of a dragonfly: Hope

The little story of a Dragonfly:

This is the story of a water beetle who lived with her friends deep down in an obscure lily pond. Their life in the soft pond mud was content and uneventful, away from the direct sun and any disturbances far above. However, every once in a while, some beetle would climb up a lily stalk making its way up, up and away. Never to return. This would make all of them sad, wary and fearful.

One beautiful summer morning the sky above was still rosy, when down below, this one beetle got restless. Boredom and curiosity got the better of her and she started her climb up one firm lily stem. She was determined find out what lay beyond and to come back and share her findings with her friends below. The climb was long and steep, and she finally broke through the surface of water into a sea of gleaming lilies ubiquitous in the gorgeous sunlit pond. She was fascinated beyond her wits, but the long climb had tired her out. She lay on the lily pad in the blanket of the warming sun, soon falling into a deep sleep. She slept long, only to be shocked once she woke up. Her body had transformed during the long nap; she now had a long electric blue tail and lustrous wings, perfect for flying. The beetle was transformed into a brilliant dragonfly! She took her first flight above the pond and the lilies, rising and swooping and soaring back up again. A whole new world had opened up for her, a way superior life than that the one she had known all her life. More like a fantasy beyond her wildest imagination. Now back on on lily pad for a little respite, she remembered her life under water, and felt a pang of sympathy for her friends. In a gush of emotion to tell them all about this new world, she headed to get under water only to jolt back. Her new body was no more for the water.

A realization came upon the beetle that even if she went, her friends wouldn’t recognize her, nor believe this “absurd” tale. That they would realize it only when each one takes that step and experiences it for themselves. Poignant, but peaceful, the beetle took an deep breath and darted into the dazzling sunlight towards her glorious new life, now as a radiant Dragonfly!


In the face death, the harshest but most certain reality of life, this story assuages us that our loved one might just not cease to exist. They might just have found a glorious world beyond our knowledge. It gives us reassurance. It gives us hope.


In the face of life and the living, when I died many tiny deaths in face of frustration and failure and hopelessness and depression, it empowered me to go beyond the unpleasant and the dark. It urges to go past any complacency of a certain  “just OK” life-situation encouraging for an exploration of a more meaningful and fulfilling life. It gives the hope of a possibility of something splendid, only if one resolves to break through.

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. Inspiring story of hope. Quote form the Shawshank Redemption by Andy Dufresne to Red.

To hope!

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.

I picked up the book after listening to this segment on NPR’s On Point. Loosely translated, “hygge” (pronounced Hhyuoogah) would mean something like cozy + intimate + joyful. I’d say it’s a book about how to feel Christmas-like, all the time. It is interesting to note that the weather in Denmark is not what you’d ask for: continual rain with truly no dry period, very short days during winter and mostly cold weather in general. Despite this, or because of it, the Danes are so good at the art of hygge. The more adverse the weather, the more one feels the security of the warm indoors, safe from the hostile outdoors.

The author of this book Meik Wiking is the CEO of The Happiness Research Institute in Denmark. He tries to bring the reader to understand how it would look and feel to hygge (BTW, hygge can be used as a verb or an adjective). He gives a list of “things” that bring about the required “feeling” and effect: the lighting (like use of candles and diffused lamp lighting, and a wood fireplace, of course), clothing (socks, scarves, woolen jumpers and such), foods (a hot drink, cakes) and the company of a small group of like minded people. How he talks about cake, convincing “scientifically” how our brains are wired for sugar to make us feel good! (All the diet theories out the door I thought to myself; good thing I didn’t have any cupcakes in the fridge.) Reminds me of another such ostracized food, and do excuse my ghee propaganda here: In Ayurveda the meda dhatu, one of the seven fundamental elements in a human body physically representing the fatty tissue, when well nourished, gives the person a feeling of love, compassion and abundance. No wonder the chocolate binging when one is sad or depressed!

It is always simple rustic things that bring about the intimate cozy feeling; hygge is inversely proportional to bling. Surely, the soft touch of wool or the look and feel of rustic wood is much more welcoming than the sterile feeling of steel and glass. The author has an interesting list for ‘hygge on the cheap’. And a list for things to do every month and during the winter and during the summer. Actually, it is a book of lists, and for a list-ful person that I am, I kind of like it. Ok, so moving on, another list has some interesting Danish recipes, but what I loved the “elderflower cordial“, or just the idea of it, bringing to my mind smells and colors of sunshine and lemons! (Pic below).

Denmark, consistently a top ranking country for happiness of the people is concerned, is a welfare state.  The Danes worry less creating space for the feeling secure and happy, which, I think, is just wonderful. People mostly bike in Copenhagen instead of using cars. It is all about slowing down and enjoying the now, which, for most us, is but an academic goal set in future time.

What I loved most is to google the list recommendation of places to visit in and around Copenhagen. Below are some pictures from the web. The book is peppered with graphs (no, not intimidating at all) and illustrations which are minimalistic and beautiful, just like the book cover.

To tell you the truth, I started the book in a lot of excitement and expectation that was vaguely in line with Power of Now or Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, books I found phenomenal. This book was nothing like that, and didn’t give me those “aha” moments must’ve been looking for. Useless, I thought a few pages in, much disappointed. However, as I read on (I always try to finish a book I start), it dawned upon me that the book is about the art of creating hygge and thats what it does, and does it alright. Recalibrating my expectations, I found the book written in good humor about good feelings in life and how to go about it by transforming your space. I must say, if not anything else, it certainly makes a beautiful coffee table book with a benign cover and short sections for a quick read. The Little Book Of Hygge on a rustic living room table, some candles, a fireplace and a couple wool blankets thrown in, can’t not add to the hygge factor of one’s space!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.