Hosted by the Odyssey Bookstore, this is a live, reflective, non-commercial Conversation Series anchored by both Vaani and AVIS. the happynesswalas explore the lived experiences of guests who have faced Life's upheavals stoically. Sharing from their own journey and those of their guests, Vaani and AVIS showcase learnings on the value of choosing Happiness in any situation or context, despite the circumstances. Audiences take away inspirations and reflections on living fully with what is!
Please scroll down to see pictures and videos from Editions in 2020.
the happyness conversations on Saturday, April 25, 2020
Featuring Twyla David!
Twyla’s father died suddenly in 2004 when she was barely 14. Taking advantage of her vulnerability, one of her uncles sexually abused her. Shocked, not knowing how to process what was happening, Twyla initially bottled up her trauma. Battling depression, she even attempted suicide. Then, when the man brazenly persisted, she exposed him at a family dinner. What followed pushed Twyla into a dark, lonely, space. Her family collectively ordered her to keep quiet to “protect their reputation”. Only Twyla’s older sister stood by her. Dealing with pain, anger, shame and grief was a long, debilitating, journey for Twyla. But she soldiered on – completing her Master’s in 2012 even as she always kept a job that gave her both money and dignity. Yet, the “feeling of numbness over the unfairness of it all” kept weighing her down. In 2013, serendipitously, she got an opportunity to tell her story to 50 women at a congregation at a chapel. Several women in the audience confessed to her that they had been abused too and thanked her for inspiring them with her courage, with her sharing. That day, Twyla believes, she found her Life’s Purpose! So, she started anew, telling herself that the man “did not deserve even her hatred”. She has since dedicated herself to help survivors of sexual abuse to cope and recover. Remarkably, through supporting others, Twyla has healed; and she has found love and Happiness! Her book, Time Unstitched, in which she recounts her cathartic journey and miraculous awakening to “light and meaning”, released recently. Listen to this beautiful, powerful, Conversation! You are sure to glean unputdownable takeaways – on how you too can find Happiness while groping through darkness and pain!
the happyness conversations on Saturday, February 29, 2020
Featuring Umasree and Raghunath!
On their wedding night, in August 1997, Raghu confessed to Uma that he was dealing with schizophrenia; he had been forced into this arranged marriage by his family. Despite being shocked by the unfairness of it all, Uma decided to give her relationship with Raghu understanding and love. It wasn’t at all easy. The social stigma associated with mental illness, his family wanting to hide his condition, the endless domestic pressures and an attempt on Uma's Life – camouflaged as a fire accident – inside their house, brought the couple to the brink. Desperate, one day in 2005, Uma went up Raheja Towers on Mount Road, in a bid to end her Life by leaping off the top floor. In the elevator though, serendipitously, she bumped into Siddharth Jayakumar, the superstar banker-author with a cerebral palsy condition. Inspired by the encounter, Uma decided in that nanosecond to give her Life, and love, another chance. Laboring through compassionately, Uma and Raghu have helped him overcome his mental health challenge. They live a meaningful Life together now, leading thriving careers, championing for mental health awareness, supporting social causes and doting over their daughter Aishwarya. Listen to them share their incredible journey – of how they found meaning and Happiness by celebrating Life despite its imperfections!