HAPPINESS IS A ROUND THING
“Happiness is no laughing matter in the Kingdom of Bhutan — academics study it, spreadsheets track it, billboards tout it, conferences debate it, world wants to have adopt it and every year, flocks of foreign intellectuals travel to Thimphu to share their ideas about what exactly makes a person happy.”
Bhutan’s fourth king, Jigme Singe Wangchuck, invented the idea of “Gross National Happiness” in 1972, when the entire world was rushing towards the idea of “Gross National Product”. He decided to measure the country’s growth, its socio-economic prosperity by the the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment.
On our 10 Day Bhutan Journey, we wanted to discover the meaning of happiness and what bhutanese thought of happiness. Inspired by the balloon project, we went out to design our own happiness project.
The Idea was to hand out badges.
We asked people one of four questions pertaining to happiness: what is the source of their happiness, what do they love the most, what defines them and how happy they were. Based on each person’s answers, we drew or wrote on their badge.
Throughout the two days of doing this project, we received beautiful answers and gestures from the happy kids, beautifully dressed women and even the humble monks. It was beautiful to have a conversation with them and see there face lit up when we offered them the badge. After giving 50 badges we had a variety of answers, but for most the source of their happiness came from their family, friends and the country itself. And we realized that the sense of belonging, love, and security in their hearts is the real secret of happiness in Bhutan.
Here are few pictures from the project :)