This string of thoughts started when I was thinking of how to get my table back. Actually a few months ago the glass of our TV trolley crashed and our TV fell. Luckily it didn’t break. A miracle happened too that day. It was pitch dark in the room. We — Alka and I — heard the crash and woke up with a start. She got down, went to the switch board and switched on the lights. To our shock, there were tiny shards of glass everywhere on the floor. Alka had walked upon them, without a single scratch, and we consider it nothing less than an inexplicable miracle.
Anyway, ever since then we’ve been using a small table that I used to use for my work, for the TV. Today I thought if we could shift the TV onto something else I could may be get my table back and this would give me the flexibility to work from the bedroom, or my workroom, without having to shift the bigger, workroom table, to the bedroom whenever it is too hot. This lead me to the idea of purchasing a flat-screen plasma TV that we can simply hang on the wall. Of course for that I’ll need to use my credit card and the card being on standing instruction, big chunks of money are deducted all of a sudden if I’ve been careless with the spendings. So I thought, if I can get the standing instruction canceled, I can do a big spending and then pay back gradually. Of course I’m doing no such thing.
But many people do. During the recession times when governments are trying to bail out big corporations and companies I’ve read many people complaining why they should pay for the stupidities of those who don’t know how to curb their spending addictions? In America millions of people took loans and never paid them back, whatever was the reason, and this has also happened in India. There is a reason why wise people say that you should spend discerningly. When people go overboard they tend to buy things they can’t really afford, and in most of the cases, they don’t even need them. For instance, we don’t really need a plasma TV and besides, the picture quality from the cable company cannot exploit the abilities of a plasma screen.
People buy big homes, big and multiple cars, expensive clothes, latest gadgets, and keep sinking themselves into the quagmire of debt. Even the companies selling these things encourage people to take loans and use credit cards. In malls they are ready to issue a credit card immediately so that you can use it to buy their stuff, and a majority of people do find such offers irresistible. When you are using a card instead of cash, you don’t even realize how much you are spending, and by the time you realize it, it is too late.
Once Alka and I had a long discussion on the rampant consumerism afflicting the society. She says I made fun of her during the discussion but I don’t remember that. Anyway, she staunchly dislikes the idea of buying things unless you really need them. I on the other hand, had a quite liberal view. My attitude was, why the hell should I bother if you want to spend your money buying stupid stuff? As long as I’m not doing it, you can burn your money and bury yourself in debt-grave for all I care. But this is wrong. Even if you’re not directly involved, if there is an ill in the society, everybody suffers, whether you’re part of that illness or not. This is the way the society functions, in fact the whole world functions. The current recession was caused due to people who wanted to own things without earning them. People who lived within means also got caught in this groundswell of excessive greed and indulgence.
It’s like pollution. It affects all of us, whether we actively pollute or not.
What do you intend to do about that?