It dawned on me about a decade ago that time and money are both resources. There came a time when friends or relations would say, “Kya saala, bahut paisa kamaata hai aaj-kal!” and I’d reply, “I feel rich in terms of bank balance, but I’m really a very poor man in terms of time. I don’t even have time to sleep properly! I’m sleepy all the time, I can’t do any of the things that I’d really like to do…” And I wasn’t just complaining; I really felt sorry for myself.
More recently, I figured out that appetite is also a resource — and I mean appetite of various sorts, including appetite for work, appetite for fun, appetite for reading etc. It happened when I started dieting myself down from the 95 kg that I had let myslef slide to. I started rationing what I ate at any given meal, and realized that if there were items A, B and C for dinner, and they were all my favourite items, I had to decide to either eat very limited portions of each to avoid overstepping my limits, or sacrifice at least one of them in order to let myself really dig into the remaining one(s). If I failed to do either, I paid a price in terms of blunting my appetite for life and fun for several hours after dinner.
Today, I don’t think spending money is an issue for anybody in our class. Time is an issue, but people are increasingly talking about time-management, and some of them are walking the talk. Increasingly, I hear of people sacrificing earning opportunities and, to a lesser extent, career ambitions, in order to be with their families.
But Appetite Management, I submit, is the big issue of the times that we live in. We are urged to shop to feel good about ourselves… “retail therapy”, they call it. Credit card offers, shoppers’ club offers, hefty discounts, one-on-one offers, super bazaars with BIG shopping carts, offers to take back your old TV sets etc for a discount (real or imagined) … we are being urged to SUPERSIZE EVERYTHING!
But our limited physiques and psyches can’t take it! We end up feeling soul-sick, spiritually bloated, cluttered with goodies inside!
Recently, about three months ago, I went through a period of telling my family to junk stuff. I raged around the house, tearing into things that were sitting in our cupboards, drawers, unused corners, table surfaces, you name it! I wanted to dispose off a quarter of the possessions in our house. “Get rid of half my shirts, half my pants, half your dresses! I want to see half-empty drawers, half-empty cupboards, vacant table-spaces,” I cried. My wife, children and parents couldn’t really see what the fuss was all about, but complied to some limited extent, thanks to spectacular (and uncontrollable) displays of rage… smashing mirrors with fists, punching my own face black and blue etc. (Not dignified at all, but that’s how I am when I’m like that!)
“Give this nutcase what he wants; humour him, calm him down, buy time till this phase blows over”, is how they seem to be perceiving it.
Today, I’m relieved to see some space in my house… some emptiness that needs to be filled. Today, we’re going out to look for a functional little dining table and chairs that will hopefully not clutter up our space too much and make me feel claustrophobic again.
It’s good to feel emptiness. It’s good to feel hunger for things. When you feel overfull and bloated, you feel like throwing up. A person who’s eating is nice to be with, whereas nobody likes to be with a person who’s noisily puking. I understand that.
I have to learn to manage my appetites better… all of them. Because otherwise, I just get soul-sick!
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