6 July 2014

The World Supermarket

Once upon a time there was a big sale at the World Supermarket. The World Supermarket is a huge supermarket, several miles in length and breadth; with hundreds of floors in height. It has every object in the world - all at a discounted price. There is always a long queue at the Supermarket, but because of the big sale there was an even longer line that day.

Everyone was going to be at the Supermarket that day and so I decided to go too. It would have been very strange if I had not gone. So I entered the queue and patiently waited for my turn. I could see my uncles, my cousins, my friends, my neighbors and almost everyone I knew. They were all there - it was a huge festival.

After some time, I got the chance to enter the building. Oh boy, the Supermarket was endless. It had very long alleys stocked with everything one could dream of. Food, houses, clothes, education, careers, vacations, old age homes - you name it, and you could buy it. Different prices, different qualities, different "made in", different colours, different sizes - everything was available.

And so I started shopping. I started with the food line and bought a large supply of food. No matter how much food you buy, it is always less. I have noticed that when I am hungry and I open the fridge, there doesn't seem to be anything that I think will satiate my hunger. And so I bought lots of food.

Next I went to the clothing section. I bought lots of shirts, jeans, shoes and undergarments. The question was what to buy - the clothes that looked nice on me or the clothes that were in fashion or the clothes that were comfortable. For some strange reason, there were never any clothes that would fit all three. I wondered why.

And then I stopped wondering and bought a house. It had everything I would possibly want or need. A beautiful garden, a fully equipped kitchen, enough rooms and you wouldn't believe this - it came with nice neighbours. I happily bought it. I was convinced that nothing could ever go wrong with this house.

After one has crossed these three sections, every shopper has to go to the Education & Career section. This is because your future education and career will decide if you can pay for all this or not; and if yes, then how long it will take to pay. One has to be very cautious in this section, they say much of your happiness depends on it.

So I entered this section and went straight to one of the counters.

Counter : Please provide your shopping list
Me : Here you go
Counter : Given your preferences, we believe you should become a doctor. You will have to study for 10 years and after that work for 40 years to pay

I thought to myself. This wasn't a bad deal. 50 years and I would be free. I knew people who could not pay and either their things were taken away or their family had to pay for them. What terrible unhappiness. At least in my case that would not happen. Thinking this, I agreed with the counter and collected my acknowledgement.

I was almost set. Of course, now all I needed was a spouse. It is very important that one get married; life can be very lonely without someone special. Family is the most important thing in life. And that is why in the World Supermarket it comes towards the end. Though it is quite strange to imagine that the World Supermarket would ever end.

The matrimonial section is very different from all the other sections. Over here, you just stand and look around. Soon enough, someone will poke you or you will poke someone. And if you like them or they like you, then you are all set. When liking someone, you should look at their purchase list - you can't like someone who doesn't buy like you.

That day was a good day and I was able to find someone very special. They were just like me and it was like at first sight. Their purchases were quite decent and they were slated to become a lawyer. How wonderful, I thought to myself.

It was time to checkout. I submitted my purchase list and went to my new home. My spouse also moved to my new home, because it was bigger than the home she purchased. We unpacked all our things and were so happy. We were finally settled. Everything we wanted or needed was with us. What more could we ask for.

That night, while lying in bed, I mentally ran through the list of things I bought. I joyfully admired their features and felt content with my choices. I motivated myself to work very hard for the next 50 years. After all, this was happiness. With this thought at the back of mind, I went to sleep.


50 years later, I went again to the World Supermarket. This time I skipped all the sections and went straight to the "new enquirers" desk. There I requested for "death" options. I claimed that I had paid all my dues, I had everything I wanted, had done everything I liked, was married for as long as I wanted and now had no reason to live. I told them that there was nothing in life that I looked forward to and wanted to die now.

They said that this was not possible. First, they showed me some new vacation plans, old age homes, retirement specials and even new spouse options! I staunchly refused each of them, saying I did not want anything more. I wanted to die. That is when they opened my file.

They claimed that there was an error on my part and that I had misrepresented by purchases. I cross checked each of them and there seemed to be some confusion. I was certain I had not misrepresented, but the papers read a different story. I could not do much. This meant that I had dues to pay and that I had to work some more.

That night, while lying in bed, I mentally ran through the number of days I had to work. I planned what I will do on each of those days. I motivated myself to work very hard for the next few days. Maybe, this was unhappiness. With that thought at the back of mind, I tried to sleep.


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