Monday, April 04, 2011

Not Enough

Lots going on here. Got my leg brace off on Saturday (ACL is healing nicely). Enjoyed historic moment when India won Cricket World Cup on Saturday night and the resulting fireworks made my boys cry (temporarily). Shane survived a scary incident with a live wire and pliers. Our yard continues to attack Lukas (welts/hives from mystery allergy or perhaps insects). And baby #4 refuses to arrive; current plan is to induce on Wednesday.

But I wanted to write about something painful I've noticed. I grew up in a place that said: if there's not enough, we'll make more. As in, if we run out of apple pie, we'll make more. If there's not enough money in my account, there must be a way to earn more. If a store runs out of an item, there will be a nearby store that carries the same item for a little more money.

But here, and in many developing economies, people remember. There was a time in the not so distant past when there was not enough. When the rice was gone, there was no more rice and people died. When the gasoline ran out, the cars and motorcycles simply sat on the side of the road. When the money ran out, there were no loans available or second, part-time jobs.

Actually, since moving to Hyderabad about 5 years ago, there has been at least twice when there was a gasoline shortage for over a week. Many times when water for bathing/washing simple wasn't available for several days (both the well at our house was dry and the city stopped delivering water). And there have been many, many times when the electricity is simply turned off without an announcement and, soon, the batteries run down.

The results can be good. No electricity means children adjust to lukewarm gas-stove heated milk instead of microwave heated milk. We take baths by candlelight. Sometimes people with more will share. Overall, we adapt and don't get complacent.

The tough thing is that people who have experienced "not enough" instinctively fight for more. They might fight even when there is plenty to go around. For example, the space on the road is limited and there is no mercy for pedestrians or cars with too great a following distance. Or, although seats are assigned on a flight, people scramble to be first inside. Seeing the desparation and lack of grace that comes from believing there is "not enough" in the world is distrurbing, but understandable. Showing grace in the midst of agressive posturing is tiring but important.

(originally posted on Monday, April 04, 2011 as "Not Enough" at