Chennai couple inspires to be happy, tells stories of resilience

Vaani Anand and AVIS Viswanathan during one of The Bliss Catchers event.

Chennai: Bankruptcy in any person’s life is often a depressing phase, and if it’s an entrepreneur, bouncing back to normalcy takes inordinately long time. But for this Chennai couple – AVIS Viswanathan and Vaani Anand – the case is reverse. Vaani says they hit a jackpot. Despite being in deep waters, they identify themselves as the happynesswalas. And yes, that is how they spell it.

They run three non-commercial programmes – The Bliss Catchers, the happyness conversations and The Uncommon Leader – in Chennai.

In the first programme, inspired by Joseph Campbell’s ‘Follow Your Bliss’ philosophy, the duo speak to personalities who go beyond restrictions to do what they are passionate about. The happyness conversations was started after the hosts realised that everyone has got a story of courage, resilience and equanimity that bring out how people learn to face a situation. The third initiative features guests who demonstrate the power of reflection, resilience and resourcefulness – attributes required for personal leadership and entrepreneurship.

The aspect that is common among the three shows is to promote the idea of, and inspire, happiness among all those who pause to reflect on life. But there is a reason behind why they are doing it and what they want to do. Back in 1996, the duo ventured into total reputation management and were ahead of the game until they decided to part ways with an unethical client. The couple had a debt of Rs 5 crore. Had it been any other entrepreneur, s/he would only be mulling over ways to come out of the trouble. However, AVIS and Vaani acted otherwise. The two pondered about the purpose of being alive. What began from there has grown in a massive way.

“When we deal with a life crisis, we need to work the spiritual fabric of our life that is something both of us engaged in by embracing mauna. It taught us the art of training our mind. By doing so, we understood that we can be non-worrying – the state where you do not pick up the thoughts that worry you,” AVIS tells.

“We pick up the bags that only belongs to us from the conveyor belt in an airport and see the others pass by. We can train our mind to do just that,” Vaani explains.

Right from childhood, all of us have been taught that if one has integrity, sincerity (hard work) and talent, success will come. However, when you apply the formula in life, it is not the case.

“In life, when things do not add up, we become frustrated. Despite being extremely well known in the corporate sector, we were rejected by people. It was not because they did not like us, but because they had their own reasons,” Vaani elucidates.

The couple learnt that the formula does not work in real life. “We have the choice to take it easy, without becoming frustrated and not expecting the desired results. We embraced our choice,” AVIS adds.

They also developed another quality – non-suffering. When pain comes into our lives, it could have been caused by multiple factors. But the moment we start questioning ‘why it happens’ and ‘why is it us,’ it becomes suffering. “We removed these two phrases from our lexicons,” AVIS says.

To them, happiness is the absence of worry, frustration and suffering.

“We empowered ourselves despite the circumstances. Luckily, the journey taught us why we were being put through the difficult phase, and it made us understand why people do what they want to. We realised happiness is the most basic necessity, and everyone is in search of it,” she shares.

Right from the realisation phase, the couple have been disseminating happiness. “I decided to go out to the world and tell that it is possible to be happy even if you have problems. I will teach them to be non-worrying, non-frustrated and non-suffering for the rest of my life,” Viswanathan says.

Bhavani Prabhakar