I lead a simple life devoid of materialistic wants. Unless I'm acting "practical," I do not associate myself with any material desire. In other words, my ideal world would be one where there are no possessions, no desire, and hence no ill feelings that are borne out of them.

I've grown with these views. And I'm a thinker. So each time I'd see someone obsessed with materialistic stuff, I'd get mad. I haven't been much of an expresser, so, of course, I never told them. I'd express it as philosophy to whomever I talked with.

Till I decided to give this mindset a go, I'd never liked talks of going to the movies, going to malls, going to all the other centres of consumerism. I somehow associated them with a mentality I didn't quite approve of. A certain wannabe-ism, a certain rejection of satisfaction, a certain sort of greed and self-obsession.

At that time, my idea of a respectable guy would be a simply dressed man regardless of his status, who doesn't wish for excesses and, just like me, doesn't approve of all this materialistic behaviour.

What I used to see, instead, were masses of pathetic and more pathetic people, all blinded by God-knows-what beliefs. I would almost scorn someone for being desperate about acquiring something new, for having more, for all related crap. I found no sense in all that. Fine, if you do want something that you can boast of or that you should really be proud of, go get the best of everything. Can't? Well, you have reason not to be happy already. I always thought there was something wrong about my thinking, I only never saw it.

And then one fine day I was sitting on a bus and returning home, looking at the multitudes of materialistic people all around my city, when I suddenly realized a simple fact - life belongs to the individual. It's my own life that matters to me. I felt stupid as I asked myself for my own views on that. I don't care if he or she possesses this or that. I don't care what new stuff comes out to allure people into more consumeristic behaviour. Why do I not care? Because it's not my life. So when would I care? If it were my life. And that's what makes everything significant for those I mistakenly called the "materialistic" folks. I apologize for thinking negative of them, but I hold my views nevertheless.

And then the bigger face dawned upon me. So it's like they care about their life, which is why they feel they should get better, have more, etc. Having more, having better - these reflect their perception of "better." That's good enough for me. If my society is hell-bent on bettering itself, I could not be happier. There's this sense of betterment that drives the whole society. So, do I not have that sense? I must be kidding myself! I would not have gotten into this discussion with my own self had I not wanted to get better. But I have a different perception of betterment. And for some reason, all those things I saw in bad light earlier still don't make their way into it. I still have my simple simple. And I'm as happy as anyone living one.

The takeaway from the whole course? I got rid of some hard feelings. As I mentioned earlier, I'm not much of an expresser. If I have a problem with the world, I'll either discuss it with my friends or contemplate in isolation. I don't give myself a chance to sort it out with the world. And I'm glad I don't because at the moment that would be a stupid thing to think of. It's difficult living in a world where you don't respect the rules or the people. I've been in situations where I've had to make those compromises. And that's what they made me learn. You can't live in peace unless you sort it out. So, finally, I've got one less charge on the world I live in.

I still maintain they're overly materialistic. But sometimes it doesn't matter. And who am I to mind anyway?