Saturday, December 26, 2009

Need and Greed



Nowadays I maintain a close proximity with lethargy, disorientation, and some supreme quality nonsense and I take the privilege unto myself for indulging in this heinous abuse of time. Believe me; all the above abstractions are highly addictive. The extent of “Satsangatve Nisangatva” even in the non virtuous territory dawns upon me. Writing has taken a back stage and rhyming words seduce my mind into a vortex leading me into a territory of insulation and peace. The myriad poetic experiments on the pages I write on bear a testimony to this.
Last week, however, after a conversation with a friend of mine an intelligence byte struck my cranium and I pledged to write about it at the first opportunity time delivered on my side. This could go down as an analogy for certain ways of living . Also it sowed the seeds of adoration about a personality I never held in high esteem earlier. I pay him salutations in the concluding paragraph. Sorry for the lengthy prologue, here I go…....

Last weekend my childhood chum invited me to accompany him to a temple prior to a lengthy chat session in our colony which we indulge in at weekend evenings. He follows the temple-visit ritual very religiously, an Iyer Brahmin after all. As usual I was negotiating that I join him for the chat session directly, skipping the temple visit which ensured a 20 minutes walk and another 20 minutes wait till the time he is done with his monologue with the Almighty. This time I had a genuine pretext, I hadn’t taken a bath in the morning. “Take a bath now I will wait”, he put forth his argument. “We don’t have water at our place and I cant waste tank water for bathing, its reserved for 'post- commode-warming' activities, which on weekends may be repeated significantly (“Moreover the lower the quantity of water in the tank on the loft, lower is the pressure with which water emerges out of the spray, I thought to myself.”)” I replied. My mom who was overhearing the conversation yelled,“ask him if they have water in their building.” The leading ladies of our settlement have their spies and pounce on every iota of information regarding how much water “other” buildings get. The time for which their building gets water is a secret guarded more closely than the Holy Grail by these ladies. My friend Krishna replied “Yes we do have water”. Later, when we were chatting he said “You guys are foolish; in your building everyone has a storage tank on the loft. The common tank on the terrace is emptied within hours as you people fill your personal tanks on the loft. In our building only a couple of them have personal tanks so we get water almost through out the day. We are thinking of sending those with such loft tanks a notice.”
That night when I was in my room with classical music and dim light to my company, somehow the conversation kept ringing in my mind. In my friend’s building people use water freely and it flows like in the good old days, with full pressure and almost throughout the day because everyone directly receives it from the building’s overhead tank. In my building people store it on their lofts resulting in water at a limited pressure and an uneven distribution as people’s loft tanks vary from 250 liters to 1000 liters.Those without any loft tanks (2 in number) have a tough time managing things,on weekends they either go out or have to store water in barrels.Those with smaller loft tanks(250 l) have to ration water scrupulously.Those with 500 liter loft tanks are left with a little surplus at 8.00 pm while the 1000 liter masters have enough to last them for the first half of the next day in case water doesnt turn up at all, if they dont splurge it wastefully.
All the tank owners undergo some anxious moments after 8.00 pm if water doesnt flow in as they can see their almost empty loft tanks by dusk, this anxiety spares the residents of my friend’s building. Also a fleeting piece of information brushed my ears, those with loft tanks often drain surplus water to fill in the “fresh” water. Now my loft tank doesn’t have a drain valve; however that doesn’t leave the piece of information bereft of its truth quotient entirely.

The same amount of water and the same number of residents.Yet in Krishna's building gushing water flows out of every tap till the afternoon next day and in my building it stops flowing just two hours post eight in the evening and then onwards it drips mildly from the loft tanks .
The fact remains that if there is a central pool of resource and everyone shares the surplus as well as the deficit, without capturing them in individual pools, surplus shares may reduce but deficit periods are less taxing. Thus if everyone is content with a leveled lifestyle, collective sharing always ensures longevity of good times. Surplus shares always have a certain nuisance quotient attached to them and are rarely rewarding. If resources are super surplus, this question doesn’t arise at all, but for scenarios where resources are limited sharing is the best policy and storing is criminal. Moreover sharing drains away all the insecurities that may flourish in the mind regarding a particular resource. What’s remarkable is this perspective doesn’t categorize humans based on their calibers but the availability of resources, thus considering all humans irrespective of their caliber in any sense eligible for a life. And in the coming days resource availability will be a prime concern.

As Mr. Mohandas Gandhi had rightly said “There is sufficient for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed”.

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