I remember speaking with a friend in the late 80’s in my home town of Delhi when 2020 seemed so far away. We wondered what life would be like in 2020?
So much has happened in the last 30 plus years but like a frog in hot water we have become accustomed to the changes. We take our life and our privileges for granted.
I still remember the days of trunk calls, letters that took almost weeks to arrive, having to fill buckets with water as running water was not the norm. Having candles and flash lights placed in strategic places for when there was no electricity. The celebration and the crowd that gathered in our house the day we got our first color TV, the video that transformed our evenings and we were no longer held hostage to the Wednesday chitrahaar or the Sunday evening movie for entertainment. We could rent a VHS tape and watch any movie at will.
In the 90’s I moved to Hong Kong and the world of travel and razzmatazz opened to me. I now had my own shared apartment, my own color TV and video player, had running water and electricity 24 hours a day. I got used to these lifestyle amenities and when I traveled back home to India I would get very frustrated when the electricity shut off or the water started to trickle instead of gush from the tap.
Today as I look back, I feel a sense of nostalgia for the good old days. The simplicity and the slowness of those days had an endearing quality that we seem to miss in this hyper fast and super connected world.
We have everything that we desire and more and yet there is discontentment, anger and frustration. The more we get the more we want and the more we expect. Just like a frog who in hot water does not know when the water starts to boil and eventually dies, we too are heading towards self destruction by becoming immune to the over consumption and over indulgence of our times. Our festivals have lost the sanctity, meaning or purpose and have become an excuse to indulge in more stuff.
With Christmas just gone our landfills will get millions of tonnes of unwanted and returned items. We never stop to think of our consumptive behavior and we can’t let go of bargains. I am guilty of partaking in this … can’t miss a good deal syndrome … everyday in my inbox or Facebook or Instagram I see someone trying to sell me something, and in my weak moment, I give in to my desire and order stuff I do not need. Then I await its arrival and the moment it arrives I feel the temporary pleasure and it soon finds its way somewhere in the back of my cupboard or drawer. During bouts of cleaning, the pleasure and guilt surface in tandem.
I think we are all subliminally targeted into buying all this stuff that we surely do not need. Our sense of self is now outsourced to the stuff we have. We believe in a version of our self that is defined by what we wear, what we drive and where we travel and what and where we eat. Our self worth seems to be defined by our net worth. I think at a deeper level we are all looking for validation and acceptance and we believe buying and giving helps us get that validation.
It’s 2020 in a couple days. I am not one to make resolutions but this year I will try and make some changes.
1. I will try and curtail any unnecessary buying.
2. Give and receive more compliments than gifts.
3. Eat more meals with friends and family and choose healthy.
4. Breathe consciously and be grateful for every breath.
5. Read and write at least one paragraph everyday.
6. Move my body for at least 30 minutes everyday.
7. Sit in silence and contemplation for 15 min a day.
8. Be kind.
9. Be patient.
10. Be extremely grateful that I am around to see 2020 … a year that seemed so far away.
To my dearest friends and family I wish you a wonderful 2020 and may you be contented, peaceful and happy.
And stay away from Sales