It’s strange, the ways of life. The way we’re brought up with subliminal survivalist instincts bred into us right through our childhood. All those years that we’ve spent seeing people around us bargain. And we learnt to do that too. Bargain with the vegetable vendors and the rikshaw-pullers. Bargain with the innumerable people we meet on the streets to the ones working in our houses, cleaning the dirtiest corners of our homes. We bargain, and stay suspicious and wonder how much they might be robbing us at that moment. Overcharging on a KG of onion or a ride back home or for a month’s house work, within which there were easily 3 more days of absence than had been decided.
All that bargain to save us a tiny fraction of what we would spend otherwise on a dinner at a fine-dine or watching a lame rip-off of an English Hollywood drama. Or even worse, what we would spend on that silk kurta that would hardly ever see the light of the day.
That really does skew my perspective of human generosity. Of all the people, whom we could choose to exploit and bargain with, we choose the poorest. The uneducated ones, incapable of defending themselves and the ones to whom a little extra money would mean a thousand times more than to the owner of my neighbourhood spa.
It’s almost hypocritical. We ask and plead god to give us things and care for us when we cannot care for anyone but us. It’s almost like that advertisement by Naukri.com in which the mistreated employee is complaining to a colleague about his boss and then behaves in the same disrespectful way with the boy serving tea at the road-side shop.
And if it is not the indifference, then only one more reason cold possibly explain this hypocrisy. Our high degree of obtuseness, or ignorance, or both that makes the consequences of our actions oblivious to us.
That most of us in-spite of a relentless debate on sustainability and warnings of energy, food and water shortage, can indiscriminately continue to use and waste resources and not once think about the price that the lower end of the pyramid might have to pay for it. The value of their lives for us must really not even be measurable on the same scale that we use for our regular down-town acquaintances.
All we seem to be doing is caring for ourselves and out of our petty concern for our social needs, doing a little bit for our immediate family and friends. That’s as much as what marginally evolved animal species do. Seems like a rather meaningless way of living, doesn’t it?