March 18, 2010

About grass and India and women and the pursuit of happiness.

How much truth is there to the observation that the grass is greener on the other side? It's become one of those tired old cliches but what exactly is it supposed to mean? That no matter where you are in life, you want to be or do something the person across is doing? Is it just a cliche to hide petty jealousies and envies behind a thin veneer of words? Anyway, this week is ♪repetition vaaaaaram♪ as they would say on Sun TV and so I am going to type up my thoughts as quick as I can (Unfortunately, I do have some work that needs to be done today) before I head home.

So, I've heard of several theories that claim that choices inherently make a human being less happy. Simple choices, simple life, peace. By that definition America would be a very unhappy country but I'll put that thought in the back burner for now (As my English teacher at DAV used to say). Going by that logic, if I did not have a choice to come to America or a choice to go back to India now, would I be happier? Does that mean me would have been happier living in Des having never lived and experienced life in this country? Or would I be one of those folks who really wanted to come abroad but for some reason or just bad luck maybe could not? And then, would I be spending my days envying the greener grass on the other side?

And if I did not have a choice to return to dear old mera Bharath mahaan now, would I be happier because my life is lived here and can only be lived here (because of whatever reason)? Or would I then be cursing my luck for not having saved enough or worked hard enough to move back to India? Would I be envying those brave and fortunate people who actually crossed the seas back home? I can't say for sure because I am not in a position where the choice is not available for me.

This brings me to another question about us women. As a teenager, I was a little bit of a feminist in the sense that I viewed the hard life of women and the lack of recognition as a misery that they tolerated because they had no choice. But then, did they tolerate that life or were they happy living under a roof with their family able to cook and provide food for the umpteen mouths that needed to be fed? And the husband that needed to be appeased at the end of a hard day's work? Were they just happy that they had it in them to do so much -- cook, clean, birth, please day after day? Or did they see it as a drudgery that they had no escape from? Did the lack of choice make them happier than modern women? We keep coming across statistics that claim modern women make more money, have more freedom and yet are unhappier while the men folk have raced ahead in terms of happiness. Is this because we have so many choices in front of us -- work/stay at home, provide outside care for your child/care for your child at home or even the basic cook/take out? I guess for women of the previous generation -- providing outside care for kids, working outside the house, ordering take outs were not an option, were they? They did their jobs and at the end of the day, snored their way into the next chore-filled morning. But, what went on in their heads? Just thoughts about how to manage the children and their school work and house hold chores and finance? Or did they dream of some version of me-time too? :)

It's hard to generalize and banish choices as evil. Sometimes choices rock -- Hersheys Bliss white chocolate or Lindt white chocolate? (Provided you are not thinking, exercise to lose the extra pounds or just pack them on and give up the slim-wicked-mom-figure ideal)...

So, if it's all in the mind and it's all about choices, can anyone be happy pretending their life was the one choice they had and they better work at it and make it the best one they had? You know, how you keep hearing about people who survived accidents or were laid off and the shock jolted them towards what they really wanted in their lives? Perhaps if we are clever enough, we can sort of do the jolting without the precursor. Just put our minds on time-out and ask them to sort the mess inside them asap -- basically, Quit crapping and go get a life, willya?!


Anonymous said...

We chose to move from the US after having lived 10yrs there, to a much greener grass(literally, cos it rains so much)in the UK.

I would rather live in the US than in any other country....apart from Des of course, still considering it!

I guess we have too much choice and that IS the main problem, wish we didn't have the option to choose itself, then things would just happen to force us in that situation...Think I would really like that right now....

For me every other Vaaram is a repetition vaaram, why oh why did we move?? the grass is really pretty around here, but it doesn't seem as dull as it was in the US!

Have a nice weekend :)

SK said...

Follow your heart, make a decision and stick to it.
There is a line I read some where recently -
Successful people are those that come to decisions quickly and stand by it longer.

I have realized one thing. There is no such thing as - this is the best thing to do. Happiness has to come from within you, it is independant of where you are and what you do.

Think about what YOU want, and not what you SHOULD want.

Didnt mean to preach. Of all the different choices, the best choice is to CHOOSE to be happy, right NOW!!

Anonymous said...

What's up with this r2i dilemma these days ):-


RS said...

Padma -- Ah...I hope you make your peace with your new land :)

SK -- Preach all you want, I like listening :)

Prem -- My current obsession until I switch to the next one :)

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