Whenever I make some money, the first thing I make sure is that I have enough groceries and kitchen supplies for my home to be fed with for a period till I could find another opportunity to make some more money. Second thing I take care of is of my laundry as I would need good, presentable, if not very lavish or exclusive, clothing in case I am supposed to attend any professional meeting or social event. Third priority place is taken up by house-related liabilities including payment of all the services my household requires. This is what is simplified and generalized as basic necessities or fundamental needs for a civilized individual – Roti, Kapada aur Makan – Food, Clothing and Shelter, as they have termed it.
Once these needs are taken care of, I assume myself worthy of considering items that go under ‘luxury’ that includes grooming myself with all those Personal Care products For Men the market keeps flooding with and the TV commercials with female(?) models keep flaunting incessantly. Once I am done from my head – with the Hair Gel that makes me look sexy (really? Now I believe that Princess and the Frog story!) to my toes – with those pointed Shoes that would make me feel like walking in heaven (is that the reason they cost a fortune?), I graduate myself to a higher step on the social structure. However I understand that I would need some more accessories to make my stay longer and comfortable at that level of society and then I consider upgrading my Infotainment – TV, Smartphone, Laptop and Tab.
When I finish raising bars of all my personal standards, I look around and find some domestic things that need to be fixed for other people’s sake as they also deserve some comfort being my home-mates, let alone relatives, some even blood-ones! With a benevolent attitude of a philanthropist, I approve all those petty tasks to be carried out and ensure their reimbursement against a detailed, transparent report of the work done even for fixing of a blocked kitchen sink. The point I am trying to make here is, even a generous and big-hearted person like me puts my own personal luxuries before the needs of other households who are doing everything to make my life easy, if not meaningful, and even provide a purpose for my ‘Being Human’ – a though that I would like you to hold and ponder upon for a while!
Up-to-date from tip-to-toe and armed with all the state-of-the-art infotainment gadgets, I step out of the house to find my old car waiting to be warmed up for the day in the parking and I make a mental note to change it on the first opportunity of affording a new one. Now, as I am not as fortunate as my neighbor to enjoy a luxury sedan with plush seats, roomy beige interiors and powerful torque, I prefer a long route to my destination that has a smooth, wide road with minimum obstacles including traffic signals. My GPS say it has tolls, but that’s okay if I could save on time, after all time is money, you know!
On the wide, less-populated, relatively quite road, listening to classic music on my way, I remember that I need to put a new frame to my Grandfather’s Portrait and hang it high on the wall of my living room. Just the memory of my Grandfather lightens up my mood and I get into my favorite act of playing with memories of my childhood with my Grandfather. As my heart feels with proud about my Grandfather and our glorious past, I decide to embellish his portrait with the biggest, most exclusive frame available in the town and make all visitors to my house look high and admire my Grandfather’s deeds and my aesthetic sense and rich taste to spend a fortune on a single frame that upholds my ‘Great’ Grandfather’s memory.
Till this point I am doing well by following the theory of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and have almost reached the Self-actualization state with self-esteem, if not self-transcendence with my grandfather and wondering – if I am a civilized individual (Huh?) and this is true with me, it must be for others. Together all of us make a Society and societies make Nations, do same principles apply to the nation at large?
This bad habit of asking disquieting questions when everything is going well is another thing I have inherited from my Grandfather who was a School Teacher!
While I am lost in trance of a journey from down-memory-lane to dream-of-future days-to-come, a thought strikes my mind just like a lightening – would my School Teacher Grandfather have ever approved of such extravaganza to glorify his picture for public appeasement? And does that make even a bit of a difference to Him, to me or to what I have inherited from him? Besides, wouldn’t this wasteful act of mine put my claim of inheritance of his values in jeopardy? If not, is this squandering worth it and at the cost of what? Won’t it be more sensible of me to preserve, digitize and publicize all His Social, Cultural, Spiritual, Literary and other works? Wouldn’t He be happier if I could do that instead and uphold His emblematic image high by leaving alone His corporeal picture in modesty?
My Grandfather always does this. Whenever He appears He will always awaken the soul, shake the conscience and ask disturbing questions unnecessarily. Why He cannot just sit quietly in the most expensive ornamental frame I am buying to put him in? Why he need to probe into the farmer’s plight and the buyer’s remorse and the consumerism trap and the time-saving light-speed vehicles and the pro bono policies and their Idols, Statues and Memorials… and what not?
My life would have been easier haven’t I inherited that keeping conscience attitude of His, isn’t it…? Alas, I am descendant of a (Old) School Teacher who retired as ‘Head Master’ but never stopped being one!