How would I change with a drastic drop in the quality of my living and working environment? How much would the lack of comfort in sitting, sleeping, bathing, smelling nice things, clothing and so on affect me? How would the inability to buy books and magazines and gadgets change me? How would the absence of rich and varied food influence me? Would the disappearance of air conditioning and my car and protection from dust make a huge difference?
Would the basic me just fall away and would I become some other person within a few months? Or would I simply have a mental and physical breakdown?
So I asked myself – What are the minimum conditions I would need to stay myself? The essentials?
The tentative list I came up with is:
1. Cleanliness, even without comfort
2. At least a few books, even if they are not my favourites
3. Some intelligent and knowledgeable people around, even if uneducated
4. At least a couple of hours of leisure time each day, even if not richly entertained
5. Family and some friends
6. Paper and pens, even if not a computer and the internet
7. My memory*
With these I could remain me in India, even if I suddenly became a labourer living in a shanty or a shepherd.
What about you?
(* Including everything it comprises from my past life like my education, travels, work, music, people, food, reading, etc.)
In the next part I will consider if I was transported to an undemocratic, war afflicted or fundamentalist region of the world what it would take for me to remain myself or if it is even possible.
Shashi on LinkedIn