A while back in class 12th I read an essay by Mr. Jainender Kumar titled “Bazaar Darshan” as a part of our Hindi curriculum. Although it’s been a while since I’ve picked an NCERT Hindi Text book, the text of that essay echoes in the back of my mind every time I go to a mall, visit department stores or come across the flashy discount or sale advertisements both offline as well as on online platforms. “Bazaar Darshan” talked about the market, its temptations, business which thrives on false promises and insecurities and a society that aloofly prides itself on purchasing power when it’s actually trapped in vain consumerism. The critique is not of ownership, but of the importance we assign only to the “things”, often forsaking the experience, relationships and growth.
In today’s world more and more online home delivery services dealing with everything from groceries to clothes are thriving. Hundreds of e-commerce sites are expanding themselves with pay-per-click model and we are surpassing the world in purchasing power (India is the third-largest economy in the world based on purchasing power, though we rank 127 in terms of per-capita GDP) and interestingly many parallel studies suggest that we top the chart in number of people who suffer from Depression and Anxiety (WHO) and more than 50% of these people live in Metros (NIMHANS).
It’s time to ask: Are we spending our money or if our money is spending us. The need of the hour is Minimalism- a lifestyle that helps people search for happiness through life itself. Gandhi’s words “Simple living and High thinking” explain this concept. For a while now I’m trying to practice this principle and the changes are truly liberating. There are obvious and direct benefits such as less cleaning, more organised space and more money. Other indirect, however equally profitable benefits such as peace of mind and easy decision making can’t be ignored. When Mark Zuckerberg was asked about his limited wardrobe variety, he replied “I really want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve the community.” Basically the drill is about engaging with what is essential. If you are stressing more about packing before setting off on a small trip, then you are doing life wrong.
Now a lot of us like our things and we sometimes can’t resist, after all that’s something only mahatmas and monks can do. But again, Minimalism is all about allowing us to make choices and purchases more consciously. Here are a few tips on how we can do the same:-
- Shop only when you need something. Don’t shop for fun or out of boredom.
- Frequently de-clutter and give away the items that you don’t use.
- Before buying ask yourself if you really need it or whether you are succumbing to the temptation of discount.
- Spend freely on things that give you joy. Eg. It’s justifiable to splurge on the statement boots which you will use the whole winter instead of buying multiple mugs which will just sit on your kitchen cabinet.
- Block all the spam advertisements on your phone and e-mail.