Never take for granted

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. English proverb

All of us tend to take too many things for granted. The fact that we are blessed with all basic needs and a lot of comforts make us believe that all of it is available in plenty and that it is our birthright.  If for example the internet line drops even as you are reading it, it is possible that you would be cursing the service provider, the state of technology and perhaps even the general administration for the minor inconvenience which suddenly seems like a major calamity. We generally value things only when we cannot have it or when the alternatives are too poor to replace the original.

Let us look at the three most important things that we take for granted – relationships, our own self and the environment.

The people we take most for granted our own immediate family parents, siblings, spouse and children. We do we in most cases share a strong bond with them, ironically it is this bond that widens our relationships. We assume that our parents will support us no matter what, and when they side with the truth when we are on the wrong, it comes as a rude shock. All the while we may perhaps have believed that our siblings will be united in matters of division of property and inheritance till we make the painful discovery that everyone  has a mind of his/ her own and that we made the mistake of taking our relationships for granted. Many of us are guilty of planning for our children’s future and urge them to follow what we feel is the right future. Alas our children display an independent streak and prefer their hearts call than the dictates of the parents; too late we realize that our relationships changed along the way.

We erroneously believe that we know perfectly what is best for us; be it in food, clothing or living and saving habits. We take our jobs for granted, consider our health to be ideal without any tangible proof by way of checkups and believe that we know best how to plan for the future. In the process we might be facing grave dangers be it that of sudden job loss or an unexpected lifestyle disease like heart attacks or stress or diabetes. Just because we have a large social circle we cannot assume we are popular. It is more plausible that people make you feel popular because they want to curry favor with your or would like to piggy back on your contacts and influence.

The environment includes that space that we are concerned with and is not limited to just the ozone layer depletion or carbon emission. The political space, the economic space, and the social fabric are also key elements that make up the environmental space. By not participating in the election or political process, we are taking for granted that the rest of the population will vote or raise concerns which will reflect our concerns or beliefs. Similarly our casual and limp reactions to issues like price rise, inflation and poor governance reiterates the fact that we take our democracy for granted. Our feeble or cursory reactions to social unrest, strikes, hartals, bandhs etc. as also to the hoarse cries of the environmental activists is further proffer that we take the environment around us for granted and do not see any major upheavals that  will threaten our smooth life.

Our passive involvement and poor rational for remaining passive are merely symptomatic of the large malaise; that of taking the system for granted.

Remember: “There is no longer a way out of our present situation except by forging a road toward our objective, violently and by force, over a sea of blood and under a horizon blazing with fire.” Gamal Abdel Nasser

Try this:

  1. Have you made a will? If yes have you updated it? If no is it because you take it for granted that you still have a long life?
  2. Do not take anything for granted and to this end let us attempt to do some of the following
  • Write letters/ emails/ send thank you cards, birthday cards, get well soon cards etc to those whom you really feel deserve it. It could be relatives, former teachers, mentors at work etc.
  • Have at least one environmental issue as a concern and do what you can to support the cause. Donations, taking membership of a concerned organization, spreading their message to people around etc. are highly recommended.
  • Make it a point to have a wide circle of friends from all sections of society. Do actively participate in their religious, social and cultural activities so as to enjoy inclusive living and appreciate the varied dimensions of life and its splendors.

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