Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Put on Your Thinking Cap


“Pink se panga nahi lene ka” orders Preethy Zinta, and so sells everything pink – from Scooty to Mobile phones. “Yeh Dil Mange more!” proclaims Shah Rukh, and we get that moral sanction to indulge in hedonistic ways of life. Money can’t buy happiness -- but it can buy you a big yacht so you can pull right up next to it. Irrespective which ever god we believe in, we all practise the religion of consumerism. For Tara, shopping is a feel good factor! In plain words, she suffers from compulsive shopping disorder. Tara wants to buy that wine red Saree because she feels that looking good would improve her marriage! Her husband Rahul is a tightwad. He secretly wishes for the new iphone but keeps quiet because he knows that he would have buy Tara a diamond stud, if he buys a iphone for himself. If Diamonds are best friends of girls, then whatever happened to Tara’s old buddy who has stood by her all these years? He wonders! In today’s world, it is not “cool” to express feelings and share deep emotions by mere words. Presenting gifts is a mandatory requirement of expression of love. That is what Consumerists do.

Short attention span in everything we do, demands that all things fashion should be "renewed" every six months. Since long, we have stopped growing old with our valued possessions. When did you last purchase an item that you will still treasure holding it for years? Vintage has become history. Consumerism has led us into purchasing almost exclusively disposable goods. Doesn’t work? Throw it! Buy another one! Even before we debate whether to repair our old stuff, we are enticed with a plethora of new goods ready to burn our pockets! And then, it is a treat to watch how cleverly people invent ingenious reasons to buy new items. Whom are we trying to fool?

Stressed out? Just go out and Shop! - Such crass consumerism gives us an instant sense of self gratification. We associate our identities with the phones we carry, the brand we wear, and the restaurants we hang out. We buy things because our neighbour has one. We splurge, we flaunt, but we hardly consume what we buy. Celebrities endorse every product from Navrathan Tel to expensive cars, highlighting our insecurities and stupefying our sensibilities into buying things that we would never need. Do you seriously think you can delay ageing by using a Rs 500 cream? Do you think you can control obesity by drinking Diet Pepsi and munching zero trans fat potato chips? Do you really need to buy the fuel guzzler SUV when all you need is some means of transportation? Think again.

Consumption is not bad. There is no harm in satisfying one’s needs. In fact consumption is essential to keep the economy going. But the problem comes when one tends to create an imaginary need to satisfy his/her other surrogate senses! You buy a mobile phone and you think you have satisfied your need? Wrong! Soon, you are introduced to GPRS mobile net surfing, and you are just not happy surfing the net through a small screen. How about a Blackberry? After all you get 100 emails a day. Who cares if all of them are forwards mails! There you go. Within months, you “upgrade” – a nice term for indulgence. Soon, a blackberry seems not enough. You can’t watch those important video attachments which you receive in your forward mails, and your ignorance about latest fun stuffs is a sore thumb among your friends circle. One among your friends flaunts his new 12’’ Sony VIAO. Will you stop from buying one for yourself? Unlikely! You have come a long way – from owning a simple mobile phone to spending 50 grand on a laptop, all for something that had zero importance in your life. That is consumerism.

Take a little time out to do some soul searching. How much of your consumerist attitude has permeated your life? If you realise that you can change the life of someone among millions of poor in this world who live under one dollar a day, with that one buck you save by internalising reduce-reuse-recycle practices, would it give you any incentive to do so? I leave it to you. You are the best judge.


Lone Crusader said...

This is mainly due to our mentality of aping the West. Watch www.storyofstuff.com the director has explained how consumerism affects the environment, people and communities.

Well, you know, George W Bush advocated that the Americans go "shop", after 9/11. And now the whole world feels the pain of their consumerism and the virtual wealth they had due to credit cards, and other finance-products like MBS, CDS etc.

alps said...

the sad thing today is that when we recieve gifts too we check out their brands and their cost... love is being equated with what thatsomeone buys for you... consumerism is what the world is mostly about today...we are faujis u kno and here i too find its got enmeshed with this new and sad way of life...everyones competing with each other and have forgotten that samosa treat a neighbour wud bring in so chai cud be had together...you are writing real well!

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ชื่อที่แสดง said...

This is mainly due to our mentality of aping the West. Watch www.storyofstuff.com the director has explained how consumerism affects the environment, people and communities.


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