Monday, November 30, 2015

Musings On The Road

I travel on a road,
To a place I have to go,
If I want to be there,
I don't even know.

Lack of space,
Sweaty race,
Fear and anger,
Set the pace.

Enjoy the journey,
Is what they all say,
And I am yet to see
Many a cheerful face.

The one whizzing faster,
The one weaving through,
Do they have it figured
Or do they even wonder?

At the destination,
There's no pot of gold,
If I travel again the same road,
Will a different story unfold?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Walk of Couples

Near my workplace is a park with lot greenery, a playground and a walking track. On some evenings I go there for a leisurely walk, while allowing my mind to drift and gain some new perspectives on some issues. The park bustles with activity with men and women indulging in some form of exercise, children playing and with people just chatting.

There are three different categories of couples who visit the park. The ones in their early twenties, who sit on the benches, talking to each other, lost in each other's eyes, oblivious to the world; the ones in their late twenties to forties, who come to the park together for their exercise but walk separately at varying speeds; and then the elderly who walk very slowly together with occasional bursts of conversations.

I think, this pattern is also indicative of how we act in the journey of life. Young couples start of with love as the foundation of their aspirations and actions. They dream their dreams together. At some stage, they migrate their efforts to proving and establishing themselves, and their partner becomes someone in the periphery of the overall priorities. In the never ending chase for fame and proving their worth, times passes, children grow up, friends drift apart and younger folks outpace them at work. Now they realize that their partner is the one who is still willing to walk with them at their now diminished pace. They turn their attention to their partners perhaps out of necessity or perhaps to discover the love which to begin with had given them wings.

Why doesn't it become obvious early on that a journey with love even if traveled at a slower pace will provide more growth and happiness than a solo race to a mirage?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Most Generous Country

According to the World Giving Index (WGI), published by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), based on trends seen in 2014, the most generous country in the world is Myanmar.

The WGI measures three different kinds of giving undertaken by people in the past month: 1. Donation of money, 2. Volunteering and 3. Helping a stranger. For this year 145 countries were surveyed.

Ninety two percent of Myanmar's population donated money and 50% volunteered their time. It is possible that the country's generosity may reflect its culture of Theravada Buddhism.

The other countries forming the list of  top 10 in the WGI are United States, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Ireland and Malaysia.

One very interesting finding is that only 5 G20 countries are present in this year's Top 20, indicating that economic prosperity does not automatically lead to increase in generosity.

In this survey, India ranks 106th, last among the South Asian countries. However due to the large population, India has the greatest number of givers. In 2014, more than 183 million gave money and more than 334 million helped a stranger.

Correlation between Generosity and Happiness

I thought it would be a good idea to compare the rankings of the most generous countries with their happiness rankings to determine if there is an apparent correlation between generosity and happiness.

According to the World Happiness Report 2015, the following is the happiness ranking of the top 10 generous nations: Myanmar (129), US (15), New Zealand (9), Canada (5), Australia (10), UK (21), Netherlands (7), Sri Lanka (132), Ireland (18) and Malaysia (61). India, even with a significant number of helpful people, still ranks 117 in the happiness report.

Although a number of factors determine the happiness levels of a nation, it seems obvious that people in happy nations give more, while it is debatable if generous nations are happier.