Having grown up with this idea of “Beauty lying in Imperfection”, I always thought of the unfinished art as a masterpiece; an incomplete love story as profound and life-defining, and a messy arrangement of books and artefacts on a shelf having its own character. There is a particular Indianness, in fact, an east-worldliness about this concept and the identification of power of an imperfect solution to any problem.
Our country finds its peace in its chaos.
Our great texts, like Mahabharata, which for me is one of the best layered epics ever told, is a story about family members and their dilemma on the battlefield. The life lessons given by Krishna to Arjuna are recorded in Bhagavad Gita, which is our holy text. We are one of the most argumentative populace in the world, yet we find our solutions in silence. We believe in transience of all things and the space continuum that has proven to work for us time and again. We are a country that runs ‘ram bharose’!
I am not taking pride in saying that we dwell on imperfect resolutions, it is just that it works for us every time. The ‘Chalta hai’ attitude may annoy a lot of us, but there is a different dynamic to it altogether. It may seem to be an unproductive and feeble thought on its surface, but when you dig deep into it, this attitude perhaps has a more profound meaning.
India and its citizenry have come to terms with its local fact that there are no permanent and best solutions for any problem. On the contrary, each problem meets with an interim solution that works for it at that moment. So, a solution that may seem to be a perfect solution in a moment is actually not a solution but a temporary equilibrium attained for that time. As soon as it passes, the problem seems to take another context, we come to a new temporary equilibrium, shifting from our previous solution to a new one. Thus, a solution, however fitting it may seem at that moment, becomes irrelevant with time, and we have to find a new solution.
The idea of perfection and imperfection stems from the habit of constantly labelling situations or people as ‘problems’.
Harsh environment or suffering necessitates collaboration. We work just to survive a difficult phase and somehow start getting used to it. As soon as the dynamic changes, we adapt ourselves to a new situation and a related survival mechanism.
The world that we Indians come from works on totality, which includes our families, society and environment at large. We do not operate on an individualistic level but somewhere find our existence on the community level. Although things seem to be changing with the newer generation, our roots still find solace in the concept of ‘Saanjha’.
We don’t tend to isolate the problem and try to solve it from an individual’s point of view. We believe in an ecological perspective. Also, we often hear our parents say, “It is just a matter of time, it will be taken care of with its passage.” We allow time to rub against things and let the seemingly imperfect solution become relevant to us and move on to the next solution by letting the wheel of time take its course.
If you ask me, the idea of perfection and imperfection stems from the habit of constantly labelling situations or people as ‘problems’. Quoting Santosh Desai, “Moving beyond the simplistic problem/solution mode into the process/time mode will allow for a much more realistic understanding of how things change and how little they do.” Our generation likes quick solutions, we want to jump to conclusions instantly.
We hear everyone saying that we shouldn’t be judgemental, forgetting that it is our basic instinct to analyse a situation at hand and make up our mind with an ‘imperfect’ solution or thought. Then, we let it manifest into actions. If we allow ourselves some time and relish it to reach a state of balance; understand the outcome, recognise it as a new situation, which now must be dealt with a new solution; then we can overcome the shallowness of our quest to be seen as successful and sorted in the short run.
Also, talking about mental health and increasing dissatisfaction among younger Indians. Our generation is struggling to embrace our struggles. We keep forgetting that good times don’t produce good societies. And if we work beyond self-interest and invest ourselves in group interests, it creates a group survival phenomenon and helps in developing a social bond, which most of us dearly miss these days. I would also admit that we work hard to heal the wounds, however, the scars may remain.
Living and enjoying our day to day imperfections bring us to a state of acceptance and clarity of thought. I hope the conundrum and my mental conversation would make you ponder on the beauty lying in our imperfections, and urge you to live by not glorifying them, but accepting them with time and a lot of grace. And trust me when I say this, “Aapki dua se, yahan, sab theek thak hai!”
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