This post has been inspired by a story narrated by a character in a fascinating book about Banaras, or Varanasi as it is now known.

“After breakfast I go go my shop. It is a grocery shop run by my two sons,. The oldest and the youngest. I have three sons. The one in the middle is a lawyer. Our financial troubles are behind us now, I am a happy man. But I was a happy even during the difficult days because I was always satisfied with whatever little I had. I never asked anyone for favours. Satisfaction is the most important thing in life. If you have satisfaction, you have everything.”

This character is a man that the author meets in an akhara. He is a retired old man who had come up the hard way as many characters in the book do. Like him, the others in the book too come across as satisfied people who enjoy living in Banaras and the author goes on to say this finding of his too.

“That’s my takeaway message from this trip to Banaras: satisfaction is everything. All these days I was rubbing shoulders with sadhus on the ghats, but finally, on the day of my departure, I have come across a sage, that too in a gym.”

Varanasi has always fascinated me and I have written one story about my own experience there in one of my blogs. I have also reviewed a film Masan a story located in Varanasi, in my blog.

While the author  Bishwanath Gosh, was impressed by the Banarasi’s satisfaction quotient, I think that he has missed out on the macro picture of the satisfaction levels of most Indians.  Having travelled across the length and breadth of this country during my working days, and a garulous one easily chatting with strangers, I can vouch for the fact that it is a remarkable attitude of most Indians to be satisfied with their lot in life.  For instance, I am sure that it does not come as a surprise to my readers, I for one am a very satisfied person.  I do not envy others more wealthy or healthy as, I am quite content with what I have and what I have become.  Almost all of my friends and family members are like me and many foreigners have observed this trait and commented negatively as being stoic or unambitious.  I think that Bishwanath Ghosh has found the correct description of this trait as being satisfied with one’s lot.

I think that this is what the great American sports personality meant when he said:

“The measure of who we are is,  what we do with what we have.”

~ Vince Lombardi.

Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say about this same topic.

13 thoughts on “Satisfaction.”

  1. Vince is best known for “WInning isn’t everything, it is the only thing.” He was very old school -and quite successful. A very interesting take on this subject,

  2. this is very interesting to me.
    I remember as a little child once having to discuss a comment on my report card from school. “she is bright but she doesn’t apply herself. she is an underachiever.”
    all my life I let that small nugget of what someone else thought of me affect my ‘achievements.’ until one day when I realized that was only HER opinion of me. she didn’t ever know what was in my heart.
    I had learned to read before even attending school thanks to my grandmother. and I never thought of myself as an underachiever! until that one teacher did.
    now I realize that I have been and AM a very happy underachiever!
    there have been many life tests and I hope I’ve passed them with courage.
    and integrity. those are two important things I value and hoped to achieve.
    like you I am happily content with what I have and who I am. I don’t envy or compare. I see it as a waste of time.
    there is always somebody bigger better smarter richer healthier…
    the list goes on. LOL! but who wants to read the list?
    I’m just grateful. life is good. just give me the simple white plate.
    and maybe being an underachiever is simply a lovely way to live!

    1. Tammy, do allow me to spin your teacher’s comment differently to your interpretation. Wasn’t “perception” mentioned recently?

      She acknowledged your being “bright”. Surely, that’s a big positive you could have taken away.

      A teacher’s job is, partly, to see potential. She saw your potential and, most likely dispassionately, foretold that maybe you wouldn’t exploit such [potential] to its max. So, there.


  3. I don’t know – I am, by nature, content even during adverse circumstances, happy to be alive. Doesn’t mean I am always satisfied. If we were [self] satisfied at all times we’d hardly strive, would we – in any sphere of life?

    One line of your post that caught my particular attention your first man saying “I never asked anyone for favours”. Poor him. I am dead suspicious of people who don’t ask a friend for a favour if and when they need one. It’s false pride. And pride comes before the fall.

    Other than that, my dear Ramana, this minute, whilst perfectly content, I am DIS-satisfied to find that you didn’t reply to my comment on the blog post before this one.

    Still, sometimes there is nothing to say,

    1. I am sorry about the delay in responding to your comment on my previous post. Rectified now. Asking for favours in this particular context in India means that he never asked his relatives for support.

      Good that you are content and I hope that you remain like that all your life.

  4. For most of my life I’ve been quite satisfied with my lot and enjoying whatever I’m doing. I’ve never been remotely ambitious or desperate for something more in my life. I don’t understood those people who are never content with what they have but are always rushing after some new goal, some new achievement.

  5. Tammy… I have always believed that teachers have a template of comments… They just write in one in each report as they go through a pile. This comment I have seen verbatim in my report cards, in my kids and their kids report cards.

    I have always been a second class student and I don’t think I am any less for it. As RR says we are taught to be content and satisfied with all our blessings. Money and belongings are necessities… That is all.
    However I do look at a pretty dress worn by somebody and say I’d like to have that…or a nifty handbag or something. I ain’t no saint 😁😇

  6. (to start off, I’m behind with blogs etc…life just got differently orientated)

    I’m a bit like Padmini – I envy someones good fortune to own a xyz branded bag or wearing a designer dress. But it doesn’t mean something like that is regularly in my wardrobe.
    My grades at school were appalling – and I didn’t do a whole better when I went to University, but other than 3 complete fails, I scraped through. The ones I did better in were art-related papers…(funny that)

    Now, being older – I might be a bit more satisfied but meeting Margaret on the bus today – reminded me, that I had hoped to be travelling again…instead I’m vegetating whilst I think I’m not fit enough to drift off again…

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