I remember my first time at a buffet. It was soon after my marriage. Yes, yes, I can see you going back to read the previous line one more time. But, where I come from, during those childhood years, eating out was considered a waste of hard-earned money. Instead, we ate what was served at home. Almost all the time. Whether it had to do with meals, career-decisions, or marriage, the rules remained the same — we either accept what was served, or go against family honor. This is one of the reasons as to how and why India has managed to achieve the dubious distinction of developing into the most depressed country in the world, according to a 2018 WHO report.
And no, I escaped the tyranny of ancient laws on account of being daddy’s apple of the eye, and my mother’s very sick child.
Getting back to my first buffet experience, the minute my eyes caught sight of the enormous spread, was also the minute when I realized that I was completely lost. I did not know what to choose, and how much to choose either, because, there was something that I wanted to eat more of, and another thing that I did not even wish to go near. But what is the point of a buffet if you do not eat everything or most of the stuff that has been meticulously laid out in front of you?! It is not only a lot of money down the drain, but also downright insulting to the chef. Not really, but it simply does not make any sense to go to a buffet and not experience it in the way it has been designed to be experienced. In the end, I tried to eat a little bit of everything, and eventually ended up wasting the food that I did not like, and not getting enough of the food that I really wanted.
Over the years, I have been to several buffet meals, enjoyed some and hated the others. When it comes to a matter of choice, I have realized that the lesser the number of items to choose, the greater the meal leaves me satisfied.
Here’s the part where we come to diving people into buffet-people and a-la-carte people.
The Buffet People
Have you noticed those people, them, the ones that are called “go-getters,” the ones for whom the fruits always seem to be hanging low enough to get plucked? Or the people who seem to be moving from one activity to another, the busy-bodies, the ones with their plates permanently full. Or the people who get bored or impatient with one job very quickly and move onto another. Well, these people are the buffet people.
The buffet people make their life choices and reach out for what they want. They work hard and long, and once they are done, they either keep coming back for more, or begin to look at the other options that life has to offer them. These people are also the ones who are infected by that constant “what-next” itch. Life is a block of buffet for them, and this is what drives their adrenaline — to get the most out of life.
As much as it is the buffet that makes the buffet-people, it is also the buffet that breaks them.
The call of the buffet is a call that cannot go unheeded. In other words, habits are hard to break. Often, the buffet-people will realize that they are leaving behind incomplete jobs. Or they might notice that something that seems to take off well, does not seem to find its completion space. Immediately, they turn their attention to the next job. Because, the buffet being the buffet, is a place of instant gratification.
My best friend is a buffet person. She has done a lot of things over the last twenty years, most of which have been abandoned projects. The good news is that she has no regrets over these incomplete jobs. The bad news is that she is currently perplexed over the fact that her existing activities, while having taken off in an exciting momentum, are not yielding the desired results. Yet. In the meantime, she is being pursued by a host of several other projects.
The sore part of being in a buffet, is that you get to eat only a small portion of everything. While there is space for more inside your mind, in reality, there is no space for more. Your stomach is done with the buffet. And that is the difference between reality and imagination — the infinite mind and the finite stomach.
The buffet is a great place to be, what with its choices and no-waiting time. To enjoy the buffet called life, the buffet-people need to practice the art of “enough.” Otherwise, they will realize that life is taking them around in frustrating circles of full plates, and yet, no stomach for the food.
The A-la-crate People
That’s me! That’s me!
I am an a-la-crate person. I know what I want to do with my life. I have alwaysknown what I wanted to do with my life. There have been no changes to my order from the menu. It is as focused and as simple as this brief on an a-la-crate person.
The only problem, is that I was so tired of waiting for my order to make its way to my table that I left in a huff. And when the food arrived at last, I missed digging into the delicious meal. Now that I have learned my lesson, I am ready to wait for my meal to be served, grateful for the fact that at least, I have gotten back to my table.
The a-la-crate people are the ones who are completely focused on the few things that they want out of life. The problem in this case, has to do with the test of patience. The a-la-crate people have to be ready to wait it out for their time to arrive. There is no question of instant gratification when they are in the a-la-crate zone. Patience, is the a-la-crate fan’s greatest skill.
So, how do the Buffet People and A-la-crate People come to be?
We are a sum of a multiplicity. Everything from our genetics, upbringing, the intensity of external influence, to our fiercest emotions, has something to do with why we behave the way we behave, and why we choose what we choose. In between all of this, we not only shape ourselves consciously, but also give in to the sub-conscious molding of our personalities. That is how our minds automatically lead us towards reaching out for the buffet-life or the a-la-crate life.
Our inner-design not only enables us to choose the food that we want to eat, but it also brings forth our destruction through the very same design. You see, the brain is designed to make connections, strengthen these connections through emotions and habits, and evolve as the greatest, single support system to its human. At the same time, the brain is also pre-programed to self-destruct. We are all meant to die, someday, and there is no escaping this reality.What makes us, will also definitely, break us.
It is how we choose to die that makes the difference.
For the buffet-people to live with an acceptance of the idea of “enough”; and for the a-la-crate people to live with patience, is the best way to bring about peace through a well-built mind, a happy stomach, and a contended heart.
Here’s to figuring out your inner space, and living an amazing life!