Well.. That is the title of the TED talk that I’ve watched at least a dozen times now. I am not a big fan of TED talks but this one is close to my heart because the speaker, Jon Jandai, is a very extreme version of me. In other words, I am a very moderate Jon Jandai.
No no.. I don’t own a Center for Self-Reliance or even for that matter, buy organic produce. If you listen to the talk by him, he talks about how he went to Bangkok to pursue his higher education but went back to his village because everyone was running all their lives to get an education and earn money but no one was actually happy. Once he went back, he started cultivating food in his own farm; began building one-room mud houses (several of them at that!); wore clothes that were donated to him (but in his words, now has more clothes than many of us) and even started researching about medicines.
I could relate not to his extreme ideologies but to the core of what he said there – that, we hoard stuff unnecessary for us (which are mostly beyond our means) just to stay in the trend assuming that these material things will make us happy.
In our family circles, I am the ‘kanjoos’. I can never convince myself to buy things that is not useful to us at the moment. Most of the times, things have to be a necessity for me to buy them. Also, I will at least ask myself a hundred times when a ‘high profile’ purchase needs to be made. That number reduces to only a fifty for any day-today stuff.
When my phone conked off last week, I really wished to have an iPhone. I didn’t mind the versions of it; I would even have an outdated one. But I really wished for an iPhone. Finally, when I researched and figured out the prices (we could not take a contract for various reasons) I found that the money I was about to spend on a gadget was really way over how much I’d even imagine. So, I settled with a Korean make phone which has all my requirements. Was I unhappy that I couldn’t get a iPhone? Yes, for a while. But in my heart of hearts, I knew I would’ve never forgiven myself for spending four times the amount I would’ve spent on an iPhone just for the sake of a brand.
It is not just the phone. I’ve been eyeing the Kindle Paperwhite for about two years now but haven’t got one because hey, I already have a Kindle 2, so what that it doesn’t have the in-built light. I can still read from it. Is it affordable? Of course. Is it necessary? No.
You can see me repeating my clothes every fortnight. I have totally three pairs of footwear and one pair of shoes. Except my reception and koorai podavai, my sarees for my wedding were all less than two thousand rupees. I never buy clothes for the kids which cost exorbitant prices. The laptop I am typing in was bought well over four years ago and needs massive overhauling, but if it’s usable then it will stay. There’s just one thing that I used to buy even before I need them. Books. But now being in the US, even that is not required because public library. **heart eyes**
Does that mean we have more than our means? I so wish but umm no. Does that mean I give away all the saved money to charity? No. Does that give me a holier-than-thou attitude when I see people who hoard? No. This is just me. I didn’t imbibe it from my parents, because they are people who’ve availed loans to go on vacations. I somehow turned out to be like this. A lot of times, I even get scoffed at for being such a stingy person. Do I care? Yes, it does hurt sometimes. But mostly, I am happy with being me. I am w(e)ired like that. Sigh.