by Ravi Tandon
Our religion and education preaches us to let go of things. Life is a temporal phenomenon, a process that is ever in motion, and yet we seem to love the perceived static nature of things, which generally is untrue. The case with love, money, food and almost any sort of pleasure is just the same. We seem to hold on things for too long, till they seem to hurt us and then we let go. Strange are emotions.
Over the years I have always wondered how would I as an individual contribute to the society. As a student I had always believed in the fact that I would be able to easily help those in need up to my powers. I do not feel a great deal of attraction towards wealth that I could save. As I entered into a new phase of life, beginning with my job and a corporate life, I realized my reluctance to give away with my ‘possessions’.
There is a mental image we create of ourselves, a cocoon in picture. This image projects us as being the righteous, morally and ethically correct person and yet in reality when you try to look through others’ point of view reality is a lot more different. I may view my self as a person trying to help others, being kind to them and being empathetic to their feelings. Yet, a reality check forces you to think otherwise. Our society functions on a material driven success criterion. As children we are taught to become winners, to be the first in almost every race we partake. Therefore, why would we ever want to lose out on the amount of money we have in our accounts. If that is a metric of our “success in life” which sane person would ever want to go and throw away his lead. This essentially means we are reluctant to give away with our money, which leads to an imbalance in the society – a heavy tailed distribution of wealth, where a few are highly rich and a large number remain poor.
The phenomenon of hoarding is so deeply rooted in our minds that the justification to not give away money seems so comfortable that we start losing apathy towards those in trouble and become simply oblivious to others. A very simple example could be an old lady that sits on a small fruit stall that I walk by every day to my office. Sometimes I wonder, what can I do for her, give her some money do something that could improve her life etc. There are no answers. The saddest part of the whole experience is that I do not even feel sad at her dilapidated state of life. Sometimes I feel more helpless than her, for she is powerless and so has lesser guilt than me. I have some powers, some wealth, youth, time and enthusiasm and yet I ignore her. Sometimes that stare of her makes me wonder whether it is me looking with disappointment towards myself.
So, I guess I decided to go ahead and donate some money. Although, logically that does not solve any problem and is nothing in comparison to what could be done. It is something that makes me aware of what I need to do. It makes me focused towards something I wish to do. I want to break that cocoon of self-glory and live a life where I really bring smiles to people’s faces. Hope that happens some day .