Thursday, August 14, 2014

There and Here

Life in Afghanistan was simple in all ways. Relationships, needs, work, house chores, celebrations, endings and beginnings even sufferings and pains were all simple. I miss simple life.
As a child, you could play outside your house with friends and neighbors's kids, go to school, and help around the house. You didn't have many unnecessary facilities like smartphones, facebook and instagram to distract and confuse you. You would go to school in uniform and held accountable by your teachers and parents the same way for your behavior and academic accomplishments.
You would follow your education to college, be married (probably arranged), have kids, maybe have an easy government job, struggle to make ends meet and see your kids grow old. You wouldn't have many options regarding your work environment or accessories to facilitate your chores around the house. Your older siblings or your in laws would limit your choices and in return provide support, social, financial and etc. Eids, births, weddings, deaths and funerals were a community effort. Your sufferings were your basic human needs unmet, hungry stomach, naked feet in winter, lack of education, social abandonment etc. The biggest pain of that simple life is vulnerability to manipulation. That vulnerability is the root cause of instability in such societies, turning them into battle fields for "developed" societies. People are easy targets for extremists since they are simple minded and starved. Lack of education (formal and informal) for public allows their naive souls to be influenced by any group of thought that might strike a familiar cord with them.
Now let's look at the luxuries and welfare of the modern societies like that of USA. We have miles and miles of paved roads, supermarkets, drive through banks and fast food, phone lines and 24 hours TV channels just to name a few. The most comforting luxury is elevated state of security overall. Being a woman is not an inferiority factor. You aren't restricted to what you can do and be. There is abundance of almost everything, you just need to be able to pay for them. You have got technology at your fingertips, freedom of speech to voice your opinion and numerous laws and regulations to protect you. These are true luxuries of a developed country. With so many obstacles and suffering alleviated in modern life, one can focus achieving higher purpose in life. Earning a formal education, choosing your field of work, contributing to your own and your family's well being are some of the perks of life in the US.
One of the downfalls of a modern society is its individualism. There is less privacy and more seclusion, cyber crimes are real threats and protecting your identity and credit are like caging a ghost. Mental illness is on the rise, overall health of people is in jeopardy. There is no caste system but the social gap between poor, middle class and rich are continuously widening. Credit card loans, education loans. medical bills, mortgage and other forms of debt are overwhelming everybody, pushing them to work longer and harder. Sometimes life looks like a rat race. Relationships are strained and trust has become a luxury you can't afford on just any body. Physical torments have given way to psychological unrest in our lives. Worry is the thousand head snake that creeps on us often. Most often we in a war with ourselves and the rest of the time busy paying bills.
After living in the US, I can't imagine living anywhere else. But I can't help but wonder how my life would have been different have I lived somewhere else. Would I have had more peace of mind with less options in life?

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