On Superficiality

19 June, 2005 at 17:52 1 comment

So, my Israeli flatmate took a look at my sandals (sorry folk, I am not wearing chappals as these are warmer) and said that they were rotten. Irrespective of the fact that he is a student and that he works in a ‘posh’ shoe-shop, the fact is that yes, the sandals are rotten. And I dont care. In such cases, when truth stares you right at the face, I normally take a reverse-gear approach and ask a silly question (should probably name it under my name as a law) –
“So what? Who is going to see if I wear good footwear and fall in love with me, eh? Even so, I would not want to fall in love with that woman who gives importance to footwear anyway!”

As is always the case when I ask questions, D had no answer. I mean, why/when/what/where/how/who gives importance to what we wear? If so, then is not the beholder being superficial? I mean, if I spend a lot of time on my wardrobe, that makes me superficial. But if I HAVE TO spend a lot of time because that is what is expected, then is it not that society which gives any iota of importance to what I wear being superficial?
Who is being more superficial? Yet another chicken-egg problem. Blamy, this phenomenon is there everywhere just like [small worlds]. I wonder why and should explore. Hmmm…

Coming back, for all I care, I dont mind. Yes, the sandals are quite rotten. But they are not broken yet. Dont fix until it broke is the mantra. I still wear the same shirt I wore 8 years back. Those been-there-done-that-got-a-shirt t-shirts from University. Deal with it.
I follow a fairly simple thann-mann-dhann rule (aka, the only things that should be clean are your body, mind, soul and wealth (that makes 4 for 3 words) but Sanskrit is quite a compressed language) as told to me by an old, uneducated, gavmaar guy in a poverty-stuck village I happened to visit as part of a [TeNeT] project.

Of course, it was not always like this. Deep inside at one point, I was quite superficial. I had Nikes (yikes), Rayban (which I banned) and all those brands (as seen on TV and magazines) in my wardrobe when I joined in a high-paying software engineer job (yes, I am an Indian – what do you expect). That was what I did with my first salary. Go shopping. And yes, with my Mom. She likes buying things for me. It makes fer feel like she is pampering me even if being lower-middle class, we could not afford to. I did not want to deprive her the privilage. Even had a few flings. A few dances. Late nights in pubs (but without smoking or drinking). But then things changed. Drastically, if I may add.
Because when you’ve seen what I’ve seen, life gets very disillusioning. All those visits to the villages and seeing how people live, nay survive, just makes you realize that all that what mattered to you is very trivial. Seeing these people live without proper or any food, medicare, education, art, entertainment, money, electricity, internet (that is true) is quite a fall of your pristine view of the world. A world we come to accept just because we happen to inhabit it the way we do.

The sad thing is that the state of affairs is not the peoples doing. Not at all. Heck, criminals in Europe have better facilities than these innocent folk. Their only mistake is that they were born in a darn poor location. Yes, that location-location-location effect again.
What kind of an intelligent society are we thinking we are living in when a persons birth co-ordinates determines their entire life, huh? It seems shocking to me because in one of these 900-million people, genetically speaking (I do believe that our brains have some wiring inbuilt into them that determines our success and affinity to success in certain fields), there could be a Schrodinger, a Picasso, a Tiger Woods and whoever we hail as [heroes, villains and geniuses]. Notice the villains part. They are just geniuses gone wild. Their IQ is said to be higher than average. Will talk more on that weather permitting. It is just that they are not that intelligent enough not to get caught and hence be branded as villains or criminals or whatever. That guilty-until-proven thingy.
Coming back (again), all these so-called poor people lack is opportunity and India (or any poor country which pushes the number to about 5-billion) the infrastructure to provide the proper facilities. What kind of a sick society are we living in when we cannot provide the basic necessities of life to every living human being when in certain parts of the world, dogs and cats and mice are taken to beauty salons? I mean, here there is someone whose only job is to work part-time in children day-care (having fun and playing games – now that is a great job to have) and she does not work 1% as hard as these people toil in the unpardoing sun just to survive the day. And yet, the inequality in quality-of-life between these people is so huge that you can push an entire [bubble universe] into this void.

I can probably go on and on about this. But I will end here. All I want to say (if D is reading) is that I have given up on spending 3% of my life in front of mirrors. This veneer that I used to put up to show to people that I have a job and am getting paid (read, flaunting brands) does not have any importance anymore. I do not know how my colleagues react to this. Or if they talk about “SJ is so shabby – look at his sandals”. I dont care not because of the above ‘blurbosophy’ but because if they have nothing better to talk about than my sandals, then they are useless people talking talkity talk. A reflection of how much importance I should give to them if at all. There are bigger problems to be solved out there than my sandals or what your neighbour wore this morning. Better realize that.
All I care now is how to make that 3% work for me and for others. Lets see where we get on…


Entry filed under: Glasgow-Travails, India, Life-Theories.

My Art Philiosophy Mozile – What You See is What You Edit

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Vish  |  1 July, 2005 at 00:47

    Hey Sriks,

    So, i stumbled across this post somehow by the virtue of google.

    I see a lot of philosphical edge in your ramblings….





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