When was the last time when you actually had a decent conversation with your family members? If you’re living alone in a ‘big city’, do you know your neighbours, leave that alone, do you even talk to your flatmate? If the answer is no, you my friend are slowing turning into a machine. Stuck in the glitz and glamour of the virtual world and running back and forth between home and office, somewhere down the line, you’ve missed out on a quality time with yourself. Some of you might even realize this and try to sneak in a few moments of pleasure by reading a book during your commute or by listening to music but that comes at a price too when you have no one to talk to at the end of the day (and I don’t mean the pretentious list you have on your WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger)!
Tragically we are turning into a mundane body, which works 10 hours a day, lives a virtual world, then gathers the energy for the next day while sleeping. The goals are changing, from satisfactory, relaxed, contended living to a potent, ambition, pecuniary oriented living. The satisfaction level seems to go up in comparison to the people around you. We want everything better in our life. If we have a cycle, we want a bike; if we have a bike we want a small car; if we have a small car we want a luxurious car. We are losing satisfaction. We want to achieve our desires and goals even if it harms others and for what? For that one moment of where you feel like you are the superior one in your group? How long will it take you to finally come to terms with the fact that you’re losing out on the integrities of life and that this is not what you had initially planned out.
The reason behind this desperate flux in our lifestyles is mostly because of the ‘data’ that is being ‘fed’ to us by the ones at power through various means of capitalism. For instance, you think you have the money to buy a Denim jacket and since it has been a long time since they were in fashion, you would have a unique place in the society if you wore one but what you tend to miss out on is the fact that there is someone at the top who decides if that Denim jacket should be out on display or not and eventually it is them with whom the power lies. You are just a mere means to display their creations and their decisions. Isn’t that disheartening enough?
The other aspect of the urban work culture is directly proportionate to the quotient of the urban poor. We all know who an urban poor is, one who has recently started to life the ‘big city life’ and earns enough money in a month to be able to exploit the ‘goodness’ that the city has to offer by making their presence felt in their check-ins at the high end restaurants and shopping malls. It’s a life where money holds more importance than contentment. If you have money, you can have your stand among the rest; if you don’t…well you can enjoy your tea at the road side stall.
The irony that the urban poor constantly live in is saddening. When the money is over, the urban poor has to look for ways to cover up their absence from the ‘happening’ life that they swore to be a part of.
The key to striking a balance is in looking for contentment and not chasing the riches. When you are satisfied with the humble daal-roti/rice and the occasional continental food, you know that living a life where it’s all about the show is not enough. In a country where more than half of the population is still struggling to find one square meal a day, the urban working class is an epitome of the dilemma that they face.