Being A Minimalist And An Indian

Ashwini Gurung
Jun 30, 2019   •  20 views

Having lived in India my entire life, I can prove it to you that this is a nation of Hoarders. You are so used to hoarding because of generations doing the same that you never even realize that what you own has only one-third of useful items. I urge to take a step back and look over all your belongings, yeah I know, the dread is slowly washing over you. And although the younger generation of contemporary times is leaning towards the principle of Minimalism, you still find this only amongst the tech-savvy, upper middle classes or the elite.

So how does one account for a country of a billion and more people to subscribe to something so impossible? To say 'less is more' here is somewhat like a dreadful curse uttered from your lips and that which will affect the whole "khaandaan." The entire principle of abundance and prosperity prayed for by worshipping Lakshmi would be wasted on an ingrate like you if you ever suggested not keeping the items not used in daily life.

From bangles to Sarees worn only once in five years, from brass plates regularly cleaned and washed to the umpteen numbers of spice packets and pulses, every corner of the house is always bursting with unopened and unwanted goods kept for the sake of it. Statues, posters, a plastic bag which is home to a dozen more plastic bags and dry fruits left to decay are just some of the added utilities that would cause even Marie Kondo to hyperventilate.

Why have Indians loved all of their material possessions, refusing to see logic and reason? It has also been a running joke that Indian passengers can never travel with only one item of luggage.

Whenever I journey on trains I notice a lot of tandems created; the reason that Coolies (people who are paid to carry luggage from outside the station to the area where the baggage is unloaded) are in existence is that every single family with say three kids and extended relatives will travel with thrice the luggage. In it would presumably be home cooked food, containers carrying dry food and snacks, clothes enough for months even if you're only leaving for two weeks and all the toys that the kids insist on taking with them, one or two kilograms of fresh produce that one would be brought to or from relatives and things that are bound to be exchanged.

If one compares this confusion with the sleek, minimalist décor and the subtle colors never bursting out but rather staying on in their sober withdrawn walls, my view has been biased towards minimalistic awareness would easily give up on the former.

But as we look at it, we realize that Minimalism is antithetical to Indian culture. It suppresses vibrancy and poses an immediate reversion from our traditional roots of crazy colors. India is a mighty nation, and to strip it of its voice and mute it into the soft tones of grey and rose gold is asking too much. The spices, the warmth in sharing with relatives goodies made from home, the home-cooked meals so much better than packaged Rajdhaani meals on wheels (although that will also be eaten later on) it's all very familiar and nostalgic.

This does not mean that one can't possibly be a minimalist and an Indian but it's all about how both can be amalgamated and recreated into something fun yet not a product of each of their extremities otherwise we would either be staring at a wall of confusion or one with blank nothingness.