Flower sellers, Bangalore market, India

In many surveys India ranks among the top five nations in happiness. The World Values Surveys reports that “in several of these countries— India, Ireland, Mexico, Puerto Rico and South Korea—there are steeply rising trends” for 1990-2008. And while Indians are not as happy as Americans on those surveys, they are much happier than the Chinese and a lot of other peoples who enjoy a higher standard of living. In 2006 I met these workers making wreaths and leis in the market of either Hyderabad or Bangalore — I can’t recall which! They were incredibly gregarious; I could barely get out of there because they were offering me chai and nippattu, which are a crispy and addictive cracker.

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