Sunday, April 19, 2009

Needs and desires - The Kathmandu Post

or, Read From The Kathmandu Post
“Should I take you to Adidas showroom?” I asked my father's friends, actually a couple from New Zealand, who were wishing to buy a pair of shoes. “Your father had told me there are inexpensive wholesale markets in Asan. Can you take us there?” Francine, the lady, replied to me.

I was a little ashamed. But I forgave myself having grown up in a Nepali society and among people who like to show off.

It was Paul who needed a pair of sport shoes. But Francine was also checking out things in the lady's corner. “Are you also going to buy one?” I asked her. “Yes, I want them but I don't think I need them. I'm just doing window shopping.” She replied with a smile. Her acts were somehow influencing me. It was her fifth visit to Nepal and I could always see her in the same outfit. She is a high school teacher and was going to buy an apartment for herself after returning to her country.

Humans have desires that we can never fulfill even though we sometimes attain the objects of our desire. Their desire keeps growing. Thus they die poor even when they have enough wealth and comfort. They cannot live their life to the fullest because they are never satisfied with the things they amass. Instead, they long for things others have amassed -- whether wealth, or success, or fame. They rarely stop to ponder over the difference between needs and desires.

My yearning for a motorbike when I was doing +2 was not fulfilled, not because my parents could not afford it but because they knew I did not need it. They knew that people of my age generally feel the need to show off; that adolescents often demand things not because they truly want it, but because they want others to see what they own. Now I feel ashamed for my past stubborn behavior. I am now an undergraduate student and still don't feel the need of a bike. These days I counsel my brother, a fifth grader, who keeps crying for an MP4.

Need over desire is not just a philosophical idiom but a guidance for youths, especially for those who end up doing wrong things because of their problems and frustrations. Some of them are overambitious at this age. Their impatience and aggressiveness for their desires make them burdens for family and society. The guidance teens receive can shape their entire life. And the sooner they learn to prioritise their needs over desires, the better.

Nepal has to stomach political interferences and pressures from other nations because it depends on them. One simple way of becoming truly sovereign is by taking up a lifestyle that suits our means, and by using our internal resources as best we can. How about unemployed youths using bicycles instead of motorbikes to decrease import of petrol and reduce pollution?

COMMENTS- Letters To the Editor
Need and desire
Read from The Kathmandu Post
Thanks to Rajan Kathet for the nice piece “Needs and desires” (April 18, Page 6). The piece offers a lesson for all the youths, especially the unemployed ones. I agree that it is very important to differentiate between one's need and desire. In our hypocritical society, many people end up in a pitfall because of their desire to show off. Many youths, especially in Kathmandu, are suffering because they want things they can't have. So I'd like to ask all young people to be down to earth and choose a lifestyle that suits your means.

Rabin Rai

Khotang (from Kathmandu)