I’m happy. In a hitherto unheard instance, the Indian Army entered Myanmar and avenged the loss of their brothers. Army officials stated that about 100 insurgents were killed and there has been no counter from them so far. Neither the media nor the terrorists’ intelligence sources saw this coming. The operation was covert, carried out in cooperation with the Myanmar government, and has made us Indians feel proud and secure. A lot of credit for this goes to Narendra Modi’s foreign visit policy.
Apparently I am not alone. Millions of other Indians are happy too. Twitter and WhatsApp are filled with updates on how proud the army has made us feel. Some friends and I were discussing this on a WhatsApp group. And then, one of them wrote “Myanmar is okay, Pakistan is different. It’s like the difference between nuke and a hand grenade.” In short, he implied that the army will only have proved its mettle if it attacks Pakistan.
At first, I was livid. I seethed for about an hour. Then, my anger turned to pity. It reminded me of my younger days. Once I had scored 60 out of 75 in Algebra. Just once! I was so happy that I mentally was announcing it to the world from atop Mount Everest. Mom, however, thought differently. “Good”, she said “but what was the highest score?” Experience had taught me that when it came to studies, every time my mother said “good”, it was followed with a “but”. And my mom wasn’t the only person, was she? No. Indian parents have a reputation to uphold, and by not doing this, they are probably letting themselves down.
It’s not just Indian parents who indulge in comparison. This sort of behavior and thinking reflects an Indian resident’s lifestyle. Indians are unhappier than Pakistanis. Can you believe that! We’re more frustrated than Pakistan, though everything we have is a hundred-fold more than them.
I think that globalization has made us Indians take what we have for granted. Nothing is enough, and that’s why Amazon’s Aur dikhao (show me more) resonates so much with us. The outburst of things to possess has driven us insane. If we don’t have more than the person beside us, we have failed (or so we are made to believe). We have become slaves to the media. Traits like appreciation, gratitude and contentment are just good for talks in a satsangh: ironic, considering that our scriptures teach more contentment and less desire. It reflects even in our conversations. Talk to someone about something you did or intend on doing, and they instantly plug themselves into the conversation. Comparisons begin, advice is doled out without asking, you’re often made aware of ‘how wrong’ you are… it’s all about how you stack up against them.
It’s time to evolve beyond the conventional mindset that has been a part of us for decades. Stop comparing events and people. Appreciate unconditionally, and be happy for what you have. Silently thank God (or your stars, if you are an atheist) for small things that you are fortunate to receive. And quit saying that your life is f*cked and you don’t have anything to be thankful for. If you can read this post, it alone means that you are more fortunate than 75 percent of the world’s population. If you earn 5 figures monthly, you are more fortunate than 90 percent of India’s population. If you have an iPhone, you are more fortunate than me ;)
Practicing appreciation is not difficult. This is not about appreciating the Indian army or the Modi government (though you should). Appreciate small things that people do, or their feelings when they share some thoughts with you. Quit undermining someone’s accomplishments by comparing them with yours. Be grateful for family and friends, learn to live with less, and witness your own life become happier. And since you influence those closest to you, you will spread happiness in their lives too. Now isn’t that something worth living for!