Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Less is More

Some time back, I got an image message on WhatsApp from my niece Aarthi, who always sends beautiful messages and amazing videos – god knows where she gets them from. This particular message was a neat small square box which just read “Less is More”.  Nothing less, nothing more (pun intended)! It looked funny and contradictory, but on that day I did not have either the time or the mind to delve deep into it.
Later on, I came across incidents or experiences that taught me how true a statement it is.  Depending on the incident, you can wear a perspective lens that suits the context.  Let me explain.
I go to work on a two-wheeler, and as a time conscious person who doesn’t want to be labelled “Mr Late”, I am always on the search for better routes to reach my office which is a cool 25 km from home.  Of late, after the schools reopened after summer this year, I found that the roads on which schools are located got choked more tightly than previous years.  It took only 25 minutes to cross 15 km from home, but once you touch the school road, the next 200 meters took almost 10 minutes!  So I had to find routes devoid of school traffic, and eventually did, with the result that in order to save 10 minutes, I had to travel a kilometer and a half extra!  So, less time meant more distance!  Perspective lens: Time and Distance.
On the annual pilgrimage I take to Sabarimala, this year I forgot to pack the usual thin bedsheet which is used to position the “irumudi”.  So I had to buy one at the shop opposite to the temple. I bought a nice, strong bedsheet.  As I started my way up Neelimalai from Pamba, little did I realise that each gram of its weight would pull me down so much, adding significant exasperation to the already grueling climb uphill. By the time I reached Saranguthi past Appachimedu, the 1-2 kg cloth felt like 10 kg!  Second realisation.  Perspective lens: Ageing, gravity.
One the way back after an excellent darshan – in fact, several excellent darshans over the two days, the same bedsheet had to be carried separately on hand, as other things of importance occupied a place of preference in my shoulder bag.  Though not heavy now, as we were only climbing down, it sure was an inconvenience holding the bedsheet on hand as compared to walking with free hands.  Therefore, I decided to give it away to one of the needy people.  Within a few minutes, I could find an old lady begging for alms, who was only too willing to accept the bedsheet.  She was happy, I was relieved. Less luggage, more comfort.  Perspective lens: convenience.  Less possession, more satisfaction.  Perspective lens:  compassion.
It also made me think of the number of poor people we have in this country who are in need of help.  They have less, they are more and their needs are more.  Perspective lens: wealth, number.
Yesterday, as it has been long since I saw my grand-daughter, I made a trip to Madipakkam where she lives. I must have spent two hours there, playing with her, helping with her drawing and doing puzzles with her.  Time just flew, two hours felt like two minutes.  What seemed so less – two minutes – was actually more – two hours. Less boredom, more activity.  Perspective lens: engagement,
And the distance I had to traverse to make this visit – another 25 km extra for the day – seemed nothing.  Perspective lens: affection.
I am sure one could find so many ways this simple message can hold true.  As I am thinking and writing on these lines, I am also awestruck by the revelation that such a simple, small message opening up my mind to so many thoughts, leading to the final realization of this post: less words, more interpretation! Perspective lens: introspection, exploration.

Thanks, Aarthi.