“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.”
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.