Imagine never being able to eat out; not even a plate of papri chaat from the roadside kiosk. Never being able to go shopping for clothes or for gadgets. Or being able to go to the movies. Imagine not using a car or a taxi and walking till you drop. And having to do all the housework yourself.
Sounds like a nightmare? For 28-year-old Gaurav Mishra, it’s just an average day. Not because he’s living a life of poverty; in fact, he’s an assistant general manager with one of India’s leading automobile companies in Mumbai.
But for an entire year, Mishra, originally from Patna, has set off on an experiment to go “off consumption” — which, by his definition, means that he won’t buy anything unless it’s a necessity.
His experiment, he says, is an attempt to find a way to lead a simpler life. “People getting tired of consumerism will be a big trend. And as a marketer, it’s a trend that I want to study,” says the MBA from IIM-Bangalore.
He’s also tapping into the the ‘swapping economy’ after being forced to look for alternative accommodation instead of a five-star hotel. “I signed up for ‘couch-surfing’, in which people offer their couches to strangers for free,” he explains.
It’s early yet in the yearlong experiment. “I’m worried about how I’ll continue to relate to my friends if I can’t go out. Right now, they’re still willing to come over, or cook for me when I visit them.”
And of course, there’s the problem of maintaining a love life: how does a 28-year-old take a girl out on a low-maintenance date? “I’ve gone to Juhu beach once, cooked dinner twice. But I may soon run out of options,” Mishra confesses.