But is it really a need? Do I really need it or do I just want it? How many of us out there say that we just absolutely have to a certain electronic device, or a specific hair care product, or perfume, or video game without really taking into account that we don’t really have a need for it? Our wants always overpower our needs and we tend to find a way or a reason to make it seem like a necessity.
Recently having returned from a two month visit to India, I’ve realized now how much we take for granted here. So many of the things we have are not necessary in our lives, yet we buy it anyways. For example, in India, tissue boxes were not available in every house. Many people did not buy them because they felt they were a waste of money. They often carried around handkerchiefs or used old cloths to wipe up spills. That is just one of the many examples we see in less developed countries. Those things we take for granted are considered a luxury in some parts of LEDC’s (Less Economically-Developed Countries). (Note that some parts of India are extremely well-developed, and many in Mumbai live better than most Canadians).
What I noticed while I was living with my grandmother is that many people don’t really have those wants that we constantly feel. It’s not necessarily that they can’t afford it, but that they know how to control their desires and, with exceptions of course, live a more humble life. They buy the essentials, their needs, and move on. I felt so much more grateful for the way I live my life here. But what am I really getting at? That we cannot control ourselves? That I’m a changed woman after returning from my visit? That we ought to boycott Kleenex and carry a handkerchief for the rest of our lives?
Well, let me first draw your attention to a dreadful situation that occurred recently in Pakistan, another LEDC.
“On Tuesday, September 15, 2009, in Karachi, Pakistan, approximately 18 women died in a stampede while they were waiting for handouts of flour. Police did not monitor or organize the event properly because they were not informed beforehand. Mohammad Amin khan of Karachi Civil Hospital said some of the women had suffocated and that there were at least 20 bodies. This unfortunate event occurred in the Holy month of Ramadan. (The Associated Press)
You hear it all the time: “be grateful for what you have, or be thankful for what God has given you.” It’s become so repetitive that we’re immune to it. We’ve become desensitized to the harsh realities that LECD countries face. Newspapers, magazines and television sources are constantly bombarding us with stories of the pain and suffering that many in less developed countries are facing. It didn’t really shock me that there were people out there fighting and dying just to get some flour to cook a meal at home. But what did shock me was that, although my heart did go out to those poor souls, it was just another story to me. It was just another situation that occurred somewhere else that didn’t really concern me. With few exceptions, many people are the same as well. They read the story, feel sorry for the victim(s) in question, and move on with their lives. And what’s worse is that we’ll never change. No matter how horrific the incident, we cannot help but move on with our lives. Nor do we even appreciate the bounties that have been provided to us by the Almighty any more so than normal. Just think, the lives of the deceased in Pakistan and those who were affected is just another news article to us. Just another sad day in their already sad lives.
Maybe we should stop and think. And maybe, we should donate that money to those who can’t even afford a meal? Maybe we should sit down and take a longer time during our salaat to lift our hands and make dua (prayer).Only He can provide for us, but He can take it away from us in a matter of seconds as well.
My point was not to tell you to stop buying toilet paper because we can use leaves, or to stop buying ink because we can write out our 45 page essays. Limit yourself and truly figure out the difference between your wants and needs. Understand that sometimes you don’t need to have it all and realize that there are others out there who have nothing. We are a more advanced country, so we do have more use for the things we may buy because they make our everyday lives more efficient. My point was for you to understand this—what we may take for granted are considered luxuries to others.
I still want that laptop though.