Shopping sprees are illusory ways of finding true happiness, realises Vanisha Uppal, having overcome this addiction after taking up meditation
Festivals and celebrations allow us to indulge in shopping ‘officially’: “Let us buy a new car this New Year” or “It’s the right time to buy a new house.” The markets and malls entice us with their alluring varieties of clothes and food, not to mention the beauty salons in fashion now. All this shopping makes us feel good only for a short while, and yet we enjoy it every time. It’s the same with meeting family and friends. After an hour of being together, the same old stories are repeated and we run back to our comfort zone—that corner of our bed or sofa. This is all we need. But soon this realisation fades, and boredom takes us back to our same old exhausting ways.
“Live life like a lotus in the pond, which remains unaffected by the water around.” Easier said than done! I got my first job at 22 and used to spend all my salary on shopping: branded clothes, shoes, bags, etc., and always looked forward to some occasion to show them off. Often get-togethers and meetings ended up in cold wars or unexpected conflicts with others, thanks to our judgmentall attitudes.
I was pretty clear about my objective for shopping—I earn, so I spend. It also boosted my self-esteem; at least I felt so. But after a few days of indulgence, the same emptiness returned.
Later, I got married and had a baby. I left my job and became financially dependent. My shopping, now, was even more fun than before marriage. I also made some friends with whom I would go shopping and dining once a month. Again, I had my own reason: I deserved to be pampered. It also made me happy and de-stressed me. But soon, I felt even more emptiness.
A few years later, life pushed me to be independent, and I could not spend money the way I used to. The very first month without shopping was difficult and directly affected my social life. Without shopping, there was no joy left in my life. My ‘shopping friends’ thought it was unusual and felt very sad for me. To them, it was as if I was cutting myself off from the rest of the world. The funny part was that I was more worried about someone inviting me to a party, as I would not have something to wear to the occasion. So I started avoiding my social group, and they avoided me too. It was a terrible time because I could not think of a life other than friends, celebration, and shopping.
But wonders will never cease. Six months later, my life took a new path. Meditation came to my rescue! I found changes in myself; a desire to be simple developed in me naturally. I started liking and accepting myself, irrespective of my physical looks.
The shopping became meaningless to me. I laughed at myself and felt like a fool, running around, trying hard to please others. Through my own experience, I came to realise that the shopping desire was like a bubble—just an illusion! The added bonus is that I have become more understanding of others’ desires.
Through this process, I learnt how desires can get the better of you and how hard it is to overcome them. How long it takes to realise this is anybody’s guess. It takes the time it takes.
Let us celebrate our daily life in the best possible way without harming others. Happy New Year.
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