As many of you know, a friend of mine from my Infy days (2005-2007) visited me last weekend. We were sitting at The Thirteenth Floor, gazing out at the Bangalore skyline when she asked me, “Do you have a good life here? Are you happy?” Ever the optimist, I promptly said yes.
And later, I thought about my ‘good life’.
I live in a country where poverty, lack of basic human rights, illiteracy, unemployment, lack of healthcare and proper hygiene and much more is a reality for many. I have to only look out of the window of my air-conditioned car to see that reality plainly and starkly.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up here, or because as an empath I can feel deeply, but this reality always tinges my gratitude. Being a ‘have’ or a ‘have-not’ is simply an accident of birth. And our lives will be shaped by what we do with the cards we’ve been dealt.
The holidays are when I get a breather. Maybe that’s why my mind starts to automatically take stock. Below are a few things I’ve been thinking of lately.
In a country where making ends meet can be a constant source of worry for most, I’ve been able to create a niche for myself in a place of my choosing because I’ve had the luxury of not having to worry about rent, utilities, organic veggies and well-fitted yoga pants.
At 37 and single, I rent an apartment in a nice neighborhood with no problems. I don’t have to contend with nosy neighbors interested in why I’m single or when I’m going to get married. No one cocks an eyebrow when I come home late and I don’t get long ‘settle down now’ lectures from aunties in my building. In a space dominated by the 9-5-vers, my largely bohemian lifestyle is accepted. A decade ago this would’ve been impossible.
I’m living in a country in which people are fueling the growth. We are demanding more from our leaders and our bosses, from our parents and our friends. We are choosing to get married later or not at all, and it is being accepted. We are choosing to use are expensive technical degrees to start small entrepreneurial ventures which we hope will make big impacts, and we are finding support. We are trading in the old definition of stability and finding purpose in new definitions.
These are pretty much the thoughts in my mind during this Diwali.
For those of you living in India, do you also find yourself thinking along these lines? Or am I an over thinker?