Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Its simple to be happy but difficult to be simple

I heard Rajesh Khanna say this sentence in Bawarchi, "Its simple to be happy but difficult to be simple" and my brain got food for thought! Why is it difficult to be simple? Is it because we lack the basic definition of 'Being Simple'? This is how my definitions for 'Being Simple' varied over the period of time.

Definition 1: Simple is someone who isnt extravagant. Someone who lives a life within his reach. Someone who isn't brand conscious and does not indulge in frivolity.

This led me to believe that being simple is being someone who has a decent income, is usually wise with money and would not spend 2000 bucks on shoes or 15000 for dinner at Taj. I fit the bill when I was in college. I was all the above and more. I was also socially responsible (meaning I gave back to society whenever I got a chance), I would spend time with friends and family (mostly indoors or once in a while a Shiv Sagar restaurant for special occassions) and was a part of the missed call giving people (so not too high mobile bills). Was it because I was a student with lack of funds and did not want to burden my father with unnecessary demands or was I really simple?

But then I joined the IT industry and I became the part of the yuppy 'gen next' people with cash on hands. I gifted my sister with a cell, my mother with gold set and a microwave, my father with the music system (branded) for our car, went to concerts, got my hair straightened at a branded parlour(which is a very expensive thing to be done) and I have lost the count of how many parties I have been to. Does that mean I am no longer simple? On the same lines we can then say that - a person who earns say 50 bucks in a day and spends 25 bucks on desi daru would be more simple than say a person who earns 15000 a month and spends 250 on a glass of champagne. Can we really equate monetary strength and standard of living with simplicity? Am I not the same person around 3 years ago? If I am (which I am certain of) then why do people around me feel that I am no longer simple. Stumps me and so it makes me want to change the definition of being simple - just the way scientists would do - one theory failed so develop a new one which supports the existing phenomenon.

Definition 2:Simple is someone who is not complicated. Someone who does things in a simple way, someone who has a simple funda in life - I speak my mind and I am clear about issues in my life.

Fairly direct I would say. Thus, a simple person then would mean who is honest and forthright, someone who leads the life their way(irrespective of standard of living), Thus, I could wear expensive Nike shoes and yet be simple. I can tell what things upset me and what dont. What issues I can handle and what I cannot. I can decide how much I spend and how much I can indulge. I dont have to worry about hajar parameters that could affect my living. Thus, an uncomplicated life - and so I am simple. And this definition makes yours truly simple with or without money. But this also makes all business men not simple - they have to worry about profits, markets, prices, reforms etc - and this I agreed to. This made politicians and people in media not simple which was my idea too. But, this definition made Mother Teressa not simple - since she had to keep worrying about many issues in life and did many very complicated things which a normal person could not do. This was something that made me want to change this definition. Mother Teressa is simplicity incarnate. So, if a definition doesn't include her as simple ought to be changed.

Definition 3: Its your ideas, your purpose in life and your character that you have make you simple. And it is possible that you alter your character and still remain simple.

Hmmm... This one looks fine... Business men are simple because they have a simple purpose - profit and so long as they are not criminals. Mother Teressa is because she wanted social reform and went to any length to bring about betterment if her people. I am simple because I want to live my life according to my means, have fun alongwith being responsible and stick to my core set of values. This definition kinda includes everyone doesnt it. And yes it is difficult now to be simple because
- not everyone can pass every test their character is put up against
- not everyone can be focussed on the purpose of their life all the time
- and not everyone always have clear ideas in every situation because life has this uncanny knack of confronting you with most unexpected ones


Anonymous said...

Hey, this is a nice way to go about defining the word "simple". It wasn't simple indeed to do so!

But personally, this sentence kind of puts me off actually. I mean, the part of the sentence you talked about is something that atleast carries meaning. But what about "it is simple to be difficult"??? I don't even understand what that means? What does it mean "to be difficult". And why should it any more simple than being simple???? I think this senetence is like bunch of others which are made to sound good than to carry any non-trivial meaning.

And for me, person is simple if he/she can draw happiness from small things. (Ofcourse small things will need another definition, but that is left as an simple exercise for the reader ;))

Viraj Datar said...

hey, its a good blog.. but i believe that ur second definition of 'simple' needs some work. it essentially ends up saying 'simple means when a person is simple' :)

but yes, ur thoughts are good. everyone struggles in life to achieve simplicity. as situations, circumstances and stature in society changes, this struggle becomes more challenging. the trick i think is to have a basic definition of 'simplicity' and then try to achieve a place as close to it as circumstances allow.

so then, as u get money, giving good gifts is natural, but not making expectations about gifts high all the time is simplicity. as u join the corporate world, having to go to parties is natural, but avoiding liking and living only parties and beginning to dislike being with family and doing good ol' things with friends is being 'simple'

well written shamu..

VK said...

But why is simplicity so important? A 'simple' person wouldnt ponder about it for sure :P
IMHO it is the complexities of behavior, attitudes, ways of life that add richness to life if one looks at it beyond an individual level..

Amit said...

I guess there are two different issues here. One is the interaction with ones own self isolated from the rest of the world and the other is compatibility with the rest of the world.

I think many of us who get thrown in alien surroundings once in a while might be able to evaluate this indirectly. How does an individual behave when he his environment changes drastically?

The point is not that you have money and can afford to spend it on cosmetics, attend parties etc etc, the point is that if you were thrown outside this environment where all these things werent available how much would it gate your life?

I agree with Viraj, your second definition was completely uncorrelated with the example you gave. Having a simple funda in life does not reduce the number of worries that you have. These worries are simply born out of that simple funda! An ant has a simple funda - getting the grain of sugar back to the anthill. Do you think it has less worries in life?

Ultimately I reiterate that its all an issue of compatibility with yourself or with others around you. Evaluate this yourself when you get a chance to go onsite or when you join management school at a place perhaps where you dont have your fans to take care of you from day 1.

Prachee said...

Hmmm...complicated blog on simplicity! You seem to be the mistress of ironies :-)

Anonymous said...

completely poinless and vague post...sorry to say

drumsticks said...

Hey there, came here by searching 'happy being simple' because i've been really complicated lately, but i don't want to. i want to be happy.. and i think its only through becoming simple that one can be happy. :) i like your definition of 'being simple'.

Anonymous said...

Very nice definition you have given to the simplicity.....i must say its amazing.....This shows how simple you are.....But your thoughts about simplicity is little you need to be simple....let me know if i can help you.......

Bhanu said...

satisfaction is simplicity.

Aakash Kumar said...

You written a very beautiful frontview of simplicity .
But I donot know what is simplicity .
i feel that the way the life takes you without judgeing without following anyone's showyness,always tells sweet words,No expectation ,Desire less than desireness.