Friday, July 16, 2010

The More and Less of it

I do not remember what led to this train of musings, but well, warning you to keep off if you don’t want another dose on the philosophies in life from yet another person!
Well, I have no idea how to start off to an absolutely non-introductory start..

Why do we always want More? Just because Pepsi tells us wisely Yeh Dil Mange More?  The question I pose is, is there a More or a Less?  Isn’t it all relative?

A poor guy who earns just enough to have two square meals a day and lives in a garret wishes that he just had more money to move to a bigger hole. The bigger hole leads to bigger aspirations and so on.  A person commuting on a bicycle may wish for a motorbike, a person on a motorbike for an AC car while the gentleman in the AC car would want a bigger car maybe and his wife next to him is grumpy about why his friend’s wife has More diamonds than she does.  For him, More diamonds is Less money and all the traffic out there makes him wish he could take the Lesser bicycle fleeing both the traffic and the grumpy wife.  Its funny when people are proud of their wealth and others jealous of them for it. Don’t they know there is always someone richer, brainier than them? Even the richest in the world want to get richer in the race to remain the richest. At the end of, don’t we all know it’s a journey to oblivion?

While at school, for a kid, a trip to Juhu beach Rs 5 worth of peanuts and 10 Rs of Bhel and a balloon would be a wonderful holiday. In college heading off to Lonavala-Khandala in an ST bus, yet enjoying the ride on the rickety bus singing songs loudly would be just as much fun. With the first job, even if it doesn’t pay much, a trip to a farther off hillstation or Goa is more fun. Now suppose our lad has further gone ahead in life, nothing short of exotic foreign locales please his family. Why don’t I just pause for a moment and put this grown man where he started on his Juhu beach with Rs 10 worth peanuts(Rs 5 of inflation J), and then on that bus which is still rickety, to Lonavala. Well, ofcourse he ll be miserable and hot and bothered with so many poor people around him and cannot conceive how he enjoyed those moments but the fact remained that he did like so many in that station of life do and that same More is now so very Less.

Go to any Sari shop in Mumbai. The range of prices is mind boggling. I am sure a sari of Rs 500 pleases a our maid at Diwali as much as a sari of Rs 50,000 pleases the so called rich. And this Rs 50,000 may probably be peanuts to our designer label toting celebrities.  It is crazy what people can pay for a brand. I think there is very little value in a Gucci plain black conventional leather purse that sells for Rs 50,000 if I can get the same for Rs 500.  Ah, but the brand has More value you see, even if the cost of material and labour and other overheads are valued at Rs 500.  Take for example, a branded Cross Pen that costs Rs 5000.  Give it to a young executive who knows its value.  He will value it and think its worth a lot.  Give the same Pen to a factory laborer who has no idea about it, as a big prize, and he will curse saying, it is worthless to him.

So, probably, being happy is completely relative to the expectations and desires and Less or More of anything has different connotations for different people. Its not just money which could be the ephemeral factor on road to satisfaction. The value of time is different for an athlete where a microsecond might count , a terminal patient to whom days might be longer than usual, or a parent whose kid is growing up quickly or a commuter who has missed a train. The ugliest of old dolls might have a sentimental value to the richest kid. Being the CEO of a company would be of greatest consequence to one while being in a comfortable less stressful job might make another happier. My point is, the measure of everything is relative. Money, time, ambition, relations, comfort, everything. There is no difference between More or Less the final goal being fulfillment or contentment. It is not to say, we should not desire more. Our aspirations will rise and that is a human trait that has brought us a long way. It is not to say, lets be contented with what we have and not exert ourselves to fulfilling ourselves to our potential. These are thoughts just to say that we need to value more what we have and stop the comparisons of More and Less because there is no difference. What we may perceive of little value to us today, could be a dream and an aspiration to another. 

Disclaimer: I honestly do not know if I can actually follow all these ruminations given the fact that I am a materialistic, self-centered, pleasure loving person caught in the rat race..well who isn’t?  But do not question me or judge me too harshly for indeed, I am afterall another trivial human being.