Wednesday, May 02, 2007

On Maslow's Pyramid and Mosquitoes.

Sweltering summer is here and so are the mosquitoes and the erratic power cuts. I was alone on a Sunday evening and I though I would not go far to have dinner. I went to the friendly neighborhood dosa shop (I love this place for their sambar). It was around closing time and ironically it was spruced up to perfection. Not coincidentally a new young guy had been put to work.
He was lanky, dark, and strong enough to hold his own structure from collapsing inwards. He wore a short, some how held in position by a black thread. His hair was long, soiled by sweat that dangled in front of his face proudly depicting the money he had saved on haircuts. He might barely be 17.
It started raining and at the sight of the first drizzle the authorities promptly switched the power off. Lightning gave a disco hall ambience to the rickety shop. I then thought I heard a thunder, but it turned out to be Yamaha Rx 100. It was a modified one, whose owner is convinced that silencer is no more than a dead weight on the vehicle. Three people scurried inside, 2 boys and a girl, straight from some disco or pub. The girl wore a see through top, gaudy and shimmering. She made the hall bright as her dress reflected a million candle flames on to the wall; a perfectly 8 shaped disco ball. One of the guys could well be a bouncer. He resembled a bull without horns, that managed to squeeze itself into a ‘iron maiden’ t-shirt. The third one was someone I could not avoid noticing.
He was lanky, dark and strong enough to hold his own structure from collapsing inwards. He wore a short, some how stayed below position – a low hip jean denim short. His hair was long, soiled by set wet hair gel; it dangles in front of his face proudly exhibiting the amount of money he spent on it!!!
“Are you sure CCD is not open” asked the girl. He voice was sweet I thought as they sat on the first of the three tables. “we may get fully wet” said the bouncer. “Oh shit da macha! Do you think it is F**ing water proof da?” ask out hero whilst he pulled out an ipod shuffle and gold flake small cigarette pack out of his pocket. Ha! Caught him. His language n attire doesn’t corroborate well with his brand of cigarettes. I could read his background with his brand loyalty. If I were to take a guess, he must have been the traditional back bencher in school who unwillingly managed a Bcom or BA degree. All three of them work for BPO. It was needless for me to eavesdrop as they were audible
The air got saturated with attitude, talks on ash-abhi’s wedding, day trading, youth’s burden to edify the nation, bigotry and some girl named Amritha who apparently is too conservative to go out with our hero. There were millions of complaints on the state of affairs, which I am very sure had nothing to do with them. The meaningful conversation was frequently interrupted by the girl who kept complaining about the mosquitoes. I couldn’t comprehend how complaining could help the situation. She also repeatedly raised concern on food hygiene. All her concerns received reassurance from our hero. “Macha.. I recently been to iron –maiden concert da macha.. awesome macha crowduu.. girls were super and lotta people potted (he means doped).. you should listen to this band for the ‘base’ gat da.. better than metallica. I know the difference.. I am a player myself’. The other two we awe stuck as he spewed his fake stories along side the smoke. May be the bull’s brain was disproportionate to his physic and the girl was anyways coming all over him.
During this drama, his clone came to me to take last order “anna, closing avvudhu” said he, scratching the bottom of the bucket to pour the last drops of sambhar. There were 3 candles in all, one each on the counter, my table and on our hero’s. The then took one dosa for himself, and sat on the third table. Either he was afraid to share table with me or wanted to get a better view into the girl’s completely revealed back, I thought. But he was more engrossed in his food. He relished ever piece of his hard earned labor. The owner called him in between slapped him once for having sat for dinner early and sent him back. It is then that I noticed his left hand was dysfunctional. But it doesn’t seem to bother him. May be he is used to it. I dint pity him because I thought he disliked it. He returned to the nook, continued eating as if nothing ever happened. t. Every piece was relished, savored as if that was his last meal ever in his life. He didn’t look at the girl; he didn’t need a candle; he wasn’t observing anyone; he wasn’t crapping about musical talents. The mosquitoes didn’t bother him; he just ate and; satisfied with the most basic needs, simply happy and contented.
It had taken me 10 – 12 minutes to finish one single dosa. Half the time I sat cursing my boss and worrying about a hike that never was. I thought my whole life went into a tail spin if this were to continue. Impending doom worried me. The remaining time I was watching the drama and observing people. But the one thing I didn’t do was I didn’t do what I came there for. I dint enjoy my sambhar.
The drama was still continuing as I was preparing to leave. They still were cribbing about Amritha, freedom, society and what not. They essentially were unhappy only because they didn’t have anything to be unhappy about. From what they had been and what they are now, BPO has brought an enormous unimaginable change. They have just been blessed more than what they had dreamt for. And now, they have essentially lost an identity which they are trying to create.
Shouldn’t they be thankful to fortunes? Shouldn’t I be doing the same? More the fulfilled needs, more the cribbing? Is it right to compare myself with the waiter at dosa shop and persuade myself to be happy? Will it lead to happiness or stagnation? But if always look up Maslow’s Pyramid, when will I ever get satisfied at all?
It took me back to simple question. Can happiness and growth co exist? What is happiness? The more I introspected the more I got confused. I realized Maslow’s pyramid is more a representation of happiness (leaving the 5th level) than needs. The more fundamental your needs are the happier you are. But the needs in them selves are an inverted pyramid. Such is human greed. After the 5 basic needs the security needs are some 10 in number and the number increases upwards to make an inverted pyramid. Satisfaction is such a myth. One just looses it as it one gets closer to ones goal. This is an age old wisdom that resurrects it self time and again, which is worth noticing one in a while to grade ourselves, to express gratitude to have what we have been given, and that your happiness had nothing to do with materialistic needs. My German colleague once told me, that he is intrigued by a Billion Indians subtly teaching the world on how to be happy without money. Quite true.
“Good thought” I told myself as another mosquito bit me to shake me off. So which level am I to sit and think about this? An unsatisfied L4 person may be, just like you who had patience to read this.


Blogger Shilpa N P said...

well well well........u r true of your reader!! "unsatisfied at L4"!
Vishwa, it was hilarious.....not in a pleasant manner i would say....pleasant?? i have almost forgotten how it feels! forget it! The descriptions are admirable.....good use of words- inspires me to write, right now!!

8:36 PM  

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