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The elusive satisfaction

190309_open page_dissatisfaction

190309_open page_dissatisfaction  

Life’s distractions and meanwhile the pursuit of happiness

I step out every morning, go down the lift, start my bike, and hit the streets. I never speed while riding it; I take it slow so I can see the faces of people around me, rushing for work, in a haste to start the day, vendors screaming, autorickshaw drivers looking for passengers to headstart their day, and everyone else, just lost!

You know what I notice every day? I see unsatisfied faces, even when they are smiling; they are silently sulking within. I see people running on their toes, losing patience, and never getting to be themselves. There are people I see cleaning others’ mess and theirs, I see people dropping their kids off to school with a happy face because they will get a few moments of relief while the kids are away. They were unsatisfied when they were not having kids and are unsatisfied now that they cannot live their lives to the fullest, the way they used to when they were unmarried. Irony hitting hard yet?

I see rich people driving luxury cars but fighting with someone on the phone, maybe their spouse or parents. They got so busy earning for the luxury they didn’t have that they ignored what they already had.

So I see all these when I am riding, and then I halt at the traffic light and now I have 90 seconds to observe the world around me.

I see a Royal Enfield stop beside me; the guy is good-looking and so is the girl riding pillion, but I hardly notice any intimacy. She is engrossed in her phone and he is desperately waiting for the light to turn green; I think he is late. I turn my head and see a fancy autorickshaw with mini disco lights and a chirpy autowallah, but the passenger seems disinterested, he is holding a book. I guess it has something to do with business; might be a student.

Suddenly I am distracted by a girl selling roses; she nudges me and asks me to buy the bunch. I loved roses at one point of time but now they are a part of my bitter memories. However, I look for change in my purse in a rush, the light will turn green any moment, I hurriedly hand it over to her and take the bunch and put it in my hand bag; the light has turned yellow now. But within those seconds, I see the girl happily hopping and giving the money to her mother. She keeps it in her jhola and gives the girl another bunch, she goes back to playing with her baby and making more rose bunches; I see a satisfied face now.

Out of all the people who cross me and whom I cross, the only satisfied faces I see are of the underprivileged and deprived ones because they are innocent. For them, the only thing that matters is eating and finding a roof under which they can rest, and not being beaten off the streets. They are unaware of the luxuries the fabricated reality has to offer into which we are already sucked in; they don’t care about them or the brands.

They just want a cloth to cover themselves, even if it’s a shabby one. But still, they are satisfied way more than the unsatisfied faces we put up every day and complain about our lives and jobs. At least we have those essentials and even more, some people don’t have limbs, but climb Mount Everest, and here again we crib every day.

What if everything was taken away from us, leaving us only with the basics and our memory wiped; will we be finally satisfied then?

rupsha41@gmail.com

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 1:30:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-elusive-satisfaction/article26481819.ece

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