Tuesday, 10 August 2010

India Part 3: The Simple Life

This final section on India sprung from my thoughts written in the previous entry. I’m at a point in my life now where the word ‘job’ is constantly on my mind. I’m 22, one year out of Uni and am desperately trying to work out what I’m good at and enjoy that could make me a living! (Any possible publishers or magazine folk out there reading this, it is now your cue to email me. Will write for food.)  Having gone straight from GCSE’s, to A levels, to Uni and dozens of career options thrown at me, now is the time to act on them.

As I’ve explained previously, having a job, no matter how menial it may seem, is highly respected in India, and that’s your life’s lot. The likelihood is that you will continue to do that job and get by for the rest of your life. I considered two ways of looking at this. In our western culture, many of us are encouraged and pushed to always achieve more. We’ll strive on through life trying to earn more money, respect, status, fame etc. I for one can say that this subject has definitely been on my mind recently. What can I do well and what job can I find to be the best I possibly can in that field?

Part of me considers it a shame that people in India just don’t have the opportunity to share this kind of dare to dream attitude. As a male, you’d probably end up taking on the family business, a trade you’d be born into, some turn out luckier than others! The only opportunity of work you’d have would be to tag along with Pops and hope for the best. Women would be a slightly different case as I guess you would help your mother in the home and use the things you’ve learnt from her in your own household once you are married. At times I found it sad that this would be their only choice in life.

However, there is of course another way of considering this. You could argue that many of these people just don’t know any different; this is their way of life and the norm. It has to be said that Indian people are some of the most friendly and welcoming individuals I have ever met, and what’s the betting it’s because they’re ten times happier than any high-flying businessman out there? Whilst they might not have what our western world might consider success or ambition, they hold more important values very close the their hearts; loyalty, family and hospitality to name a few.  To me, these seem like basic human principles that the Indian nation seems to have got down to a tee, and yet with our readily available education, they are some of the things we struggle with most.  Have our careers got in the way of also being content with what we have around us? Being so focused on what we need to achieve in the future has perhaps made us forget the simple pleasures of just living; a tasty meal, and evening with friends, or even just waking up after a bloody good sleep.

Whilst I will still strive to set myself more goals to accomplish in my life (and of course being grateful that I have the resources to do so) I intend to be happy with simplicity at the same time. If there’s anything that every single British person could take away from a visit to India, it’s to be grateful for our cushdy little set up here on our side of the globe. With this in mind, I often sat at dinner over there with three of the people I most love and admire in this world, and thought to myself that whilst it’s amazing to experience this country, it’s a blessing at least to be able to just sit and have a giggle over something with my pals (usually Mikey’s complete incapacity to remember anything whatsoever). I can honestly say I have never laughed so much in two weeks, and that’s a simple enough pleasure for me.

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