Thursday, 15 April 2010


There's a piece of recitation I remember from my school days. It was titled The Indispensable Man. It went somewhat like this (I am not quoting exactly):
Whenever you are feeling important, take this simple test: Fill a bucket half full with water. Dip your hand in it, up to the wrist. You may splash about and shake the water. The hole that is left when you take your hand out is the measure of your indispensability.

Am sure you've figured the point that the piece above is trying to make. There was a point of time, I'll confess, when I believed the above to be largely true. I still believe it to be mostly true in the context of organisations and workplaces. After a brief period of adjustment, everyone WILL get on with things, and your office will continue to function without you. And no one will be happy or sad for all eternity.

On the personal front however, it is a much grey-er area. On the one hand yes, life does not stop and we learn to be happy and move on. So if it is about mere functionality, then yes, no one is indispensable. But then people are not about mere functionality (that's the domain of machines). When one does look a little deeper than mere functionality people do become indispensable. They are capable of causing lasting happiness or sadness to those they come in contact with. There is a warmth and comfort and sense of security that they do provide. And while someone else can provide some of that, no person is completely replaceable. There will always be something missing, a little void that only that person can fill. There will also be the happiness that only a person can provide.


Hari Nair said...

No person is completely replaceable - yes. But the void you talk about... can be filled. The happiness you talk about... can be provided by someone else. Because, those things are not something the other person gave you really - they are your own. The void is within you. The happiness is within you.
And happiness knows no kinds. So two different people/things cant really give you the "same" happiness. There can be levels of happiness - a smile, laughter, ectasy,bliss...and that's all you too. Depends how much you identify with that source of joy, how much attachment you have.
Maybe one person cant replace another. That void though - yep, someone else can fill that.
So, smile today, cos some day you are going to laugh about it :)

Unknown said...

@bloodymallu Now I never said I wasn't smiling today did I??? However, yes I agree with you. Happiness, in the larger sense, knows no kinds. And it's the attachment that one has that defines the quality of happiness.

But at the same time attachment, since it springs from the fact that each individual is unique, is bound to be there in some measure. It's what makes us love some people and not others no?