You Lived in Better Times

Before replanting 2

The lush green fields of a FaceBook friend

Dearest Younger Self,

I still remember how your elders used to tell you not to waste things. Their mantra was “Save Money.” You never thought that, a few decades later, the whole world would be yelling at you to spend money, did you? Did you ever dream that banks would call you up and ask you to apply for loans?

I remember how scared you were to demand anything from your elders. Even if they asked you if you wanted something, you would look away and say you did not want it. In those days, everybody “saved money.” In those days, people were poorer. They thought twice before buying anything. They demanded products that could last a lifetime. And almost as if to make things easy for them, there were fewer products in market places.

But I live in different times. These days the markets are flooded with products, most of which you don’t need but end up buying because a smart salesman or an ad convinced you that you cannot survive without them. Or you buy things because someone you know has them and you want to “keep up with the times.” Advertisements bombard us from all directions, telling that we will never be happy if we don’t buy a particular product. Some of them even advise us to buy them right away in order to get them at a discount and “save money.”

The world has turned into a marketplace where you have to buy or sell something just to live. We are a society of needy individuals endlessly buying products. Since new models of cars, tablets, computers, smartphones, kitchen appliances, and others are being released every second, we are never truly done with buying anything. We are asked to exchange old things for the latest version of the same things. So I have exchanged old stoves, refrigerators, frying pans, blenders, and even mobile phones for newer and better models that hit the shelves.

And I cannot even question the necessity of buying something because I immediately get the label of miser. I am literally overflowing with questions.

  • Why did I admit my child to an expensive school when the same things are taught (perhaps better) at inexpensive schools?
  • Why on earth do people ask me to sell my old car and buy a new one when my old car is as good as gold?
  • Why do schools prescribe complicated uniforms with ties, shoes and socks, and belts in a country with a climate like ours?
  • Why do schools prescribe expensive text books when there are cheaper versions that teach the same things?
  • Why on earth did I purchase those expensive books for my three year old? Why on earth did I allow a smart marketing guy to convince me that expensive books will make my child’s future bright? What have books got to do with my child’s future?
  • What’s the point in organizing competitions for which participants have to spend hundreds of rupees? What’s so great about a first prize or a second prize or a third prize?
  • What’s the point in prescribing so many notebooks and copybooks when you don’t intend to use more than a few pages of them?

writing handMy dear younger self, you lived in better times. You did not even need a computer with Internet connection to write. I remember how you wrote stories and poems and even entire novels on the unused pages of old notebooks. I wish I could go back. This endless cycle of earning and spending makes me sick.

When a friend of mine recently told me that he has left the city to live as a simple farmer in a village, my mouth watered. How I wish I could do the same! How I wish I could go to a remote place and grow fruits and vegetables and keep chickens! How I wish I could write great things using pen and paper in the old-fashioned way, just as you did!

Your Older and Wiser Version (OWV)

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