Initiated by three friends and colleagues Azra Bhagat, Kanika Sharma and Shirin Kekre, The Happiness Trail, is an attempt to map happy memories. The threesome set out and asked people to send in photographs of places that bring them happiness, along with a short memory describing the emotion they associate with the place. We spoke with co-founder Azra Bhagat, to find out more about the project. Read on to see what happiness means to the trio, where they plan to take this venture and some of our favourite happiness anecdotes submitted thus far.
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What was the inspiration behind this project?

Happiness is infectious. We wanted people to have one destination where people could not only share their own happy memories but also take a look at other people’s memories. Happiness is also a very subjective concept so it’s interesting to see a wide range of images and notes being sent in about the different triggers that set off happiness in different people.

Where Avneet and Nikhil Manchanda find happiness:

"Years ago, we met here as students. So we knew exactly where to rekindle our romance."

Pictured here: Whitehaven Beach, Australia

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Where Nicholas Vaz finds happiness:

"There's so much relief in the fact that there are still some places that are far too remote and dense to destroy".

Pictured here: Rolla, Great Himalayan National Park

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Where Devika Shivadekar finds happiness:

"Nope, I'm not a muggle anymore"

Pictured here: King's Cross Station, London, UK.

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What goals have you set for yourself for this project?

In the short run we want as many people as possible to hitch a ride with The Happiness Trail, making mundane life feel a little more magical. It’s an easy, comfortable escape from boring boardroom meetings and your boss’ ire.

In the long run we would like to physically map out all these locations and make a trail that people can follow or visit. We would love to integrate this with Google maps, so that every time someone checks in to a spot on the trail, a shared memory will come up with that spot.

Where Shasvathi Siva finds happiness:

"Two most beautiful reasons to life. Calvin & Hobbes."

Pictured here: Khargar, Navi Mumbai

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Where Harshad Rajadhyaksha find happiness:

“And suddenly I saw a tiny lump of a tree come alive, sit up, and start chewing a nut!"

Pictured here: Victoria Memorial Gardens, Kolkata, India

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Where Karthik Krishnan finds happiness:

"You know you've hit the happiness jackpot when you're with The One and the heavens part and bless you."

Pictured here: Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh, North India

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Where Harshad Rajadhyaksha finds happiness:

"After having their brains cooked in those costumes under the harsh Spanish afternoon sun, Bart and Homer Simpson took off for a little stroll!"

Pictured here: Puerta del Sol, Madrid, Spain

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Do you think a person can relive a happy moment by revisiting a photograph of it?

Yes, definitely. The beauty of a photograph is that it captures a very precise moment in time. It’s a frozen capsule of a moment in our lives and when we look at it again, we relive that moment. By letting other people into our memories and being lead into theirs, The Happiness Trail promotes the reliving of happy memories and the exchange of happy memories.

Where Harshad Rajadhyaksha finds happiness:

"Here in Mumbai, when I dash from work to grab a bite for lunch, I go to a hardly-any-place-to-sit food court at the mall next door. While working in Colombo, on the other hand... "

Pictured here: Entrance of the Barefoot Garden Cafe, Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Where Sreshtha Chatterjee finds happiness:

"25 years ago, on this street, papa taught me how to ride a bicycle. Just in case I fall, he never left my side. Today, I try and return the favour."

Pictured here: Calcutta, West Bengal, India

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Where Harshad Rajadhyaksha finds happiness:

"Fairytales are born here," whispered this tree to me.”

Pictured here: Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

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Where Sreshtha Chatterjee finds happiness:

"During my two years of copywriting in Delhi, I kept myself sane by rescuing and fostering puppies from a pet adoption centre called Friendicoes. The pups rescued me is more like it. This one was a few weeks old when we got him home. I used to call him 'Doodle'. My naughtiest son ever. Athletic, noisy, an insomniac. Everything that you don't want your son to be. Paper-shredder, woodcutter, man-eater of a pup. Baby shark with tiny needles planted in his gums. In short, the new and updated version of Hannibal Lector. Funny thing was he never cared whether I was funny or gloomy. Had a good day or bad. Was a writer or a doctor. Rich or poor. As long as I fed him Cerelac and let him bite my nose. I don’t think I can possibly ever miss anyone more."

Pictured here: Kalkaji, New Delhi, India

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What is the kind of response you have got from this project?

A very positive and happy one! Our friends and people in general have been extremely encouraging and forthcoming.  We have got a lot of intimate and special photographs and memories from people.

Where Gitanjali Saxena, Anshuman Wanchu find happiness:

"Strolling down the narrow lanes of Mykonos, we found a house with a boat on top. People here decorate their houses on the outside too – little knick-knacks, paintings, and installations like the one we saw. How infused is their world with beauty that it spills out for random onlookers to see? 'Painfully beautiful' - I understand that paradox a little better now. Happiness? Well I’ll have to go there again. I was too busy being jealous this time."

Pictured here: Mykonos, Greece

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Where Shruti Sunderraman finds happiness:

"You will keep crossing bridges until you find the one that wasn't built for crossing."

Pictured here: Yuksom, Sikkim

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Where Suraj Shah finds happiness:

"So this was just another fantastic something said by Rumi. Till I got here. And lived these words. 'Out beyond the ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about’.

Pictured here: Bavarian Alps, Germany

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Where Anushka Jadhav finds happiness:

“She makes me fall in love with each place we go to together. I can't tell of it's the place, or her."

Pictured here: Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh.

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Have you noticed any trends in terms of what makes people happy?

We’ve been inundated with pictures of sunsets, mountains and the sky. It seems like most people relate happy memories with these. However, we hope to receive a lot of other things, since happiness is quite a subjective matter.

Where Lahoma Bhattacharya finds happiness:

"We lay on the ocean bed, twirling our toes as the waves tickled our feet. This was the summer of 2014; my first holiday with my best friend."

Pictured here: Bentota Beach, Sri Lanka

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Where Harshad Rajadhyaksha finds happiness:

"I came across these two little devils creating sweet havoc around their respective dads. Only to be swiftly bundled up and carried away by the big daddies."

Pictured here: Wenceslas Square, Prague, Czech Republic

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Where Sumanto Chattopadhyay finds happiness:

"The boat is the last man-made thing I see. Then it is pure azure. Strangers become friends. I live the moment at 100 frames per second. If only I could slow it down more."

Pictured here: Cap de Creus, Spain

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Where Sandeep Jain finds happiness:

"I stopped for a while, overwhelmed by what lay in front. I took the deepest breath I've ever taken. Have been hungry, ever since."

Pictured here: Leh - Manali Road

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Do locations make people happy or the people they spent those moments with that truly make them happy?

We think the location and things that make us happy usually have an emotional connect to the people we associate them with. The two are hard to separate from one another.

Where Riya Parikh finds happiness:

"For those are the streets I first explored, and those are the alleys that caught my heart before. To the city by the sea, without which I would still not know I am a wanderer."

Pictured here: Marine Drive, Bombay

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Where Delon Mascarenhas finds happiness:

"This spot offered me a different perspective on the world, accompanied by a super breakfast with my crazy family. I mean, what is life if it can't be savoured slowly and steadily?"

Pictured here: Kumaon Hills, North India

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Where Harshad Rajadhyaksha finds happiness:

"This place reminds me of this book that I used to read; It was called 'Bandra' and had pictures on the side."

Pictured here: Bandra Village, Mumbai

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Your favorite happiness story that you have received?

"The easy option was to call her and wish, Happy Birthday.
But then I decided to drive her down 150 kms from Chennai and show her this."

Pictured here: Beach Promenade, Pondicherry

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Where Devika Shivadekar finds happiness:

"I slept in one world and woke up in another. Magic wands were used at night. For there it was; snowfall, as seen for the first time, through my bedroom window."

Pictured here: St. Andrews, Scotland, UK

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Where Sreshtha Chatterjee finds happiness:

"This place is where my father was born. And raised. And this is where he got his bedtime stories from. "

Pictured here: Ghoom, Darjeeling, West Bengal

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Where Harshad Rajadhyaksha finds happiness:

"In one of my earlier offices, there hung from the ceiling a couple of white plastic birds suspended by transparent thread, who were meant to add cheer by flapping their wings whenever the conditioned air permitted. Realised how sad an attempt it all was, when these beauties presented me with the real thing on a stroll along the Limmat."

Pictured here: Banks of the Limmat, Zurich, Switzerland.