Sunday, March 22, 2015

Importance of simplicity in my life...

It is usually said that 'simplicity' is a virtue, many of us also believe that it is a beautiful thing to have. People loved simplicity of Mahatma Gandhi, the way he dressed, the way he lived and the way he presented himself. He is perceived as one of the icons of simplicity in real life. I am personally not a big fan of lavish or exuberant lifestyle, I prefer simplicity but I don't do it just for the sake of showing it off but I really like it as a way of life. Let me say in the beginning itself that this is going to be somewhat very personal post, so I will be talking a lot about myself so anyone who is not interested in it should feel free not to read it. Simplicity can be defined by different people differently and here I am discussing my interpretation of it.

I remember reading a comment of some Gandhi's follower when he wrote, 'it costs great deal of money to keep Gandhi living in poverty', this statement may or may not have some real meaning associated with it so I am not very sure about intention of the person who made it. But it is also a fact that simplicity is more appreciated or noticed more when it is practiced by people who can afford to live lavish or exuberant life. So simple life style of celebrities or business tycoons or any famous person is appreciated more than simple life of some common person who is not well known. Simplicity of life which poor people are forced to practice is not something we talk about as we know that they don't have any other choice. I do recognize that Gandhi really believed in simplicity and his life is a great example of that, I am also one of the people who are greatly influenced by some of his thoughts. But in today's world it is not easy to live that type of life unless you really believe in it. I am telling this from my personal experience. In today's world of consumerism, aggressive advertisement, where markets and corporates dictate almost everything in your life, it is not easy to escape force of consumerism. Today we live in a world where everything is judged by perception created by many alternate realities, there are many perceptions created around us and among all this it is not easy to be simple. Heavy advertising creates many different perceptions about many things in people's mind, they are told what it means to be happy, how to live a perfect life, what is meant to be beautiful, etc. etc. People all over the world are literally bombarded with messages where others tell you how to live a perfect and happy life. This is how we get attached to particular brand or we crave only particular model of phone or car or clothing. It is not easy to escape from this, the design and delivery of these advertisements is very effective. They are prepared after thorough market research and based on study of human psychology. Slowly but steadily people start believing in these ideas. They really start thinking what these institutions want them to think, having your own car becomes a need but not  luxury, going on a family vacation is considered as basic element of happy family life, owning your own home becomes a social necessity it is not enough just to have a reasonable comfortable accommodation. These are just a few examples I am citing to give a idea about this point which I want to stress here. Many perceptions like these become integral part of our lives and we start judging world around us based on these standards prescribed to us by markets all around us. 

I come from very humble background, my parents really struggled to keep us afloat in really competitive and brutal world. They immigrated from their home state to totally new state with respect to culture and language in search of better life. They tried their best to provide us with everything and I believe they did a great job within their own limitations. They really wanted their kids not to face same struggled and problems which they faced in their lives. For us there was no other option than living a very simple life as we couldn't afford anything more than it, so for us back then simplicity didn't seem like a virtue but it felt like a bad joke by destiny on us. But slowly as I read more, as I matured as an adult I realized that it can be a virtue and even can be a chosen way of life, since then I decided to live as simple life as possible. Simple in terms of thinking and simple in terms of living within my own limits. It was a very conscious decision which was influenced by some great people about whom I read that time. I also understand that everyone can make their own definition of simplicity, so simplicity can defer from person to person. So let me make it clear once again clear that whatever I am talking here is my interpretation of simplicity, my own definition of what I think is simple. At the same time I must also clarify that I don't judge people by their choice of lifestyle, according to me everyone has right to choose how to live their own life. It is a matter of personal choice and there is nothing right or wrong in it. I totally understand that everyone's needs are different and we all have right to pursue what we think is best for us in our lives. So my advocacy of simple life should not be taken as criticism or condemnation for any other type of lifestyle. 

As I said it is easy to live simple live when you don't have any choice. Back in days when I used to tell people that I like this simple way of living life and would try to live like this even if my financial situation changes, very few people believed me then. Most of them thought that I am advocating simplicity just because I am forced to live that type of life because of our financial situation. It was same when people didn't believe me when I talked about gender equality. They all said to me that I was talking about this just because I didn't have a daughter and my thinking will change once I will have daughter of my own and face realities of this real world. Fortunately our first child is a daughter and I still believe in gender unbiased upbringing of kids. So the truth is so far I managed to hold on my core beliefs but the truth is things can change any time. I am writing this based on where I stand today and what I believe in today so one can very much argue that there is no guarantee that things will remain same in future also and I totally acknowledge this concern. But things like equality, simplicity, freedom of expression, kindness and compassion are very important for me and I value them immensely. People around me also help me by giving their continuous feedback which keeps me on track. I am loving my choice and I hope everyone gets to live the type of life they want, after all happiness ultimate goal of everyone's life and I will everyone to achieve it without harming others.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

1 comment:

  1. That's a great topic , loved your take on simplicity , I'm going to copy some sentences from this article into my blogspot and I'll reference you , Amazing job ! Keep it up