You were in Bhutan recently, a nation credited to being one of the happiest countries in the world. What do you think could be the secret to their happiness, and what lessons did you bring back with you to include in your daily life here?
I believe at some stage, Bhutan’s government decided to put environmental upkeep of the country above profit. Seventy per cent of the country is still a forest, while India has less than five per cent remaining. For me, that is a no-brainer. Mindless industrialisation does not make anybody happy. I believe, Bhutan has somehow created a balance between the two. They keep their lives very simple. I also feel like their state policies themselves encourage happiness. I was quite surprised to see that the punishments for bringing pesticides and the likes into the country are almost the same as bringing in drugs. In India, we don’t have clean drinking water. Most of our cities have hazardous levels of pollution. How will we sustain in the long run? Nobody would want to enter the future, and no one would want to bring kids into the world as they will be ridden with a guilt of not being able to provide the necessities to these new lives.
For me, the environment plays a vital role in how your mental health is, and how you feel. I think Bhutan has managed to do that very well. I never encountered any traffic during my stay there. I did not hear a single song, and I did not witness a single fight erupt on the road. I believe that there are many other factors behind making it the happiest country in the world as well. For instance, Bhutanese people are nice in general. If you ask someone on the road for directions, and if they are free, they will go all the way to drop you there. I was amazed to see this level of humility.