Rags To Riches

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Unless we are born to a Tata or a Birla, none of us are born with a golden spoon up our butt. All of us come from middle class families or at least came from. At least I do. I came from a lower middle class family where we struggled to make a decent living at first. Later as my sister and I completed our studies and started making good money we rose up the ladder to an upper middle class family. But I do not act like I was born into luxury. I still remember those struggling days and hence I know the value of money. This is how I am always gonna be. I see a lot of people around me who act like they were conceived on the bed of luxury, when that clearly is not the case. Unless you had a gold crib as a child, you still are a part of the rags to riches story. Whether you contribute to it or not, is something else altogether.

One of the biggest examples that I see around me are those people who come from small towns to a big city like Bangalore. Suddenly, their mannerisms change and they act like they took their first breath here. Brand names like Puma, Nike are thrown in during regular conversations. For majority of their life, they would have shopped at local markets, but suddenly all they can see and talk is about Levis. Do not get me wrong, I totally respect people who come from small towns and make it big in the city. But they should never forget where they came from. When you are living with limited money, every basic is a luxury. All we wanted then was a shirt and a pant. Screw the brand. As long as it was a new piece of clothing, we were happy. But now, people conveniently forget all of these and shell out thousands for a single piece of clothing, just to keep up their "image". I have not got the meaning of that word right until now. Its all about status and proving to people that you can afford that particular brand.

Such people clearly forget the past when they struggled for a decent living. A car bought on EMIs clearly overtakes an old scooter, and local snacks are soon replaced by gourmet pastries. Is it that easy to forget where you came from? Or does the value of money decrease when you have more of it? A friend of mine says that she has never travelled by the local bus and only takes an auto to travel. She was the same girl who used to travel with me everyday to and from college in a local bus. Today she can afford to take the auto, so she happily erased the old memory from her head. People who only wore clothes stitched by a local darzi, suddenly only shop at malls and look down upon those small shops. This is exactly what troubles me. Everybody out there is struggling for a living. People should not forget that once upon a time they were there too. People who thronged tailor shops, to get the cheapest deal suddenly act like they do not even know who a tailor is.

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I can afford almost anything I want with the money I make. But I do not try to over compensate for the years where I hardly had anything. I know the value of money and I know how hard it is to earn a decent living. I cringe on a few things and spend on the mandatory ones. It is not like I have lost memory of how I was a decade ago. I look back at those memories fondly and I am proud that such memories have made me the person that I am today. I have lived in a single hall and kitchen when I was young and today living in a duplex house does not make a difference to me. It has eased a lot of things yes, but I have not forgotten the closeness we had then.

The reason I am talking about all this is because it irks me whenever I see people who act like they were born with a diamond encrusted spoon up their ass. I know children of successful business men who have all the money in the world yet choose to lead a basic life. It is those people who are between the lower and upper middle class, who act like they eat gold coins for breakfast. Such people take loans after loans and buy all the appliances in the world, to prove a point to their neighbors. Ladies with nighties and duppattas suddenly wear only kanjeevarm sarees to go out and buy vegetables. Local footpath slippers, make way for 'Metro' and 'Soles' and nukkad ki chai is replaced with green tea and lime. The struggle to survive is taken over by the urge to become upper class. Its a very sad thing. 

Never forget where you have come from. This is something I firmly believe in and this is what keeps me rooted. I live for myself and not for anybody else. I speak of my struggles as easily as I speak of my achievements. I do not find a need to hide them, because I do not think that it is something bad. And there is no way on earth that I am ever gonna forget them. You might forget happy moments but you can never forget those times when you worked your ass off for something small. And if you are one of those people who forgot that they were poor once, believe me, what goes around, comes around.

25 comments:

  1. YES.. YESSS.. never forget the rooots..

    You are a good human being for sure .. and have the right virtues.. God bless

    I find it funny when people after earning a bit money think they are someone different.. but what they forget is that the money earned today can easily get lost tomorrow ..

    we should never ever forget what or who we are .. because its that which keeps us rooted and keeps us human.. I know change is constant truth but a person who changes himself because they have some money .. is not worth calling a human..

    Loved the post .. Thank you so much for sharing

    Bikram

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    1. I agree with what ever you said here.

      Thank you so much Bikram.

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  2. What you have written is so so true. I know a lot people who have conveniently 'forgotten' where they came from. You live in a city now, then it's all scorn for people who thrive back in your own village. I mean, seriously, shouldn't such folks quit the fake life? Whom are they kidding!

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    1. I know! I absolutely loathe such people too.

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  3. hats off....salute...respect...completely agree with all ur thoughts...:-)

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  4. We love this life more because we know the struggles we've undergone to earn this living, and that makes it all the more worthwhile.

    I actually pity those people who don't realise that the present is beautiful because of all the hurdles that we've cleared in the past to reach here.

    I know people who lived in single BHKs in India, who later migrated to the US and the like, and who now pretend that they were born right inside the White House. I feel sorry for them, really. I know they've earned it well, but the real value is lost when they tread on their past and crush it under their feet, instead of feeling proud of themselves for having come this far.

    I've been fortunate enough to travel with dad all around India, on his transfers, and I'm happy I did. Because it still keeps reminding me that I can always adjust under any circumstance, even though I might be able to afford something better.

    Thanks for sharing this piece here, Soumya. I'm glad you did :)

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    1. I totally agree. Indians abroad are a whole new species altogether.

      Lucky you! Thanks Sreeja :)

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  5. My childhood was rather easy. But when we got married, we started with no money in our hands. The Boy's savings were used in the wedding and well, the rest is history.
    I had fun looking at the cheapest stuff. I had fun starting out with basic food and accommodation. I had fun doing every hpusehold chore on my own including cleaning the bathroom.
    And now, we can afford much more than we ever thought we could. It makes us happy. We spend a certain amount and save a decided percentage. If ever we had to go back to what we were, I don't think we will have any difficulty adjusting. That's the only way you should remember where you came from - willing to go back to that place where everything was so precious and treasured.
    Other than that, enjoy the ride :)

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    1. Enjoy the ride, but don't act like that's the only ride you have been in :)

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  6. As you already know, I'm a self proclaimed rags to riches story too, and no I put myself in a different zone altogether, because there is exactly one person I know apart from myself who has actually been homeless at one point. :)

    The thing with the changing tastes of people once they get some finances in order is, hey why not?! I earn that kind of money now, so why not indulge? Obviously, changing yourself completely so much so that you forget what you did NOT have at some point, makes no sense.... why would anyone do that?! I LOVE the fact that I am a self-made person! I am sure you do too. Isnt it such a kickass feeling?! :D I am still the kind of person who budget-shops, (and so are my friends thank god!) only that our budgets have now graduated from local shops to labels we can afford. S is completely opposite, being the youngest, pampered child in a pretty rich family, and it was hard striking a balance in our outlooks. According to the in-laws and the family astrologer (insert intensive eye rolling), I am a "miser" (their words no kidding!) who is supposedly good for their "spend-thrift" son. HAHAHHAHAHA! :P

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    1. Forgetting what you were before is just not done. It is a kickass feeling, more so because I have struggled in the past. Also, I do not act like I was born to spend.

      I'm called a miser too, but I do not care.

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  7. I agree with everything that you said. Today most people judge others on the money they have- which brand they wear, where do they eat. The roots are conveniently forgotten. And I respect you Soumya! Hats off!

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    1. I pity such people. Thanks Reema!

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    2. Reema said what I wanted to say :)
      I hate such people.
      An excellent post Soumya :)

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  8. Your post is like the motto of my life. I still want to live that basic life that I lived a decade ago when we were a little less blessed with financial luxuries. Because I know. I know how it helps shape our perspectives and life on the whole. I still like street shopping where it is suitable. When I need something more professional and luxurious, I do let space for it but very knowingly and consciously so that we don't spend money like they hang on the trees. In fact I proudly call myself a small town girl

    I had a friend who was so like me. We hit it off instantly in college because we both were small town girls with big ambitions and we have proven ourselves now. Sadly she took the other route once she started making big money. She made more than me but she would be broke by the tenth of the month. She would buy all the gadgets in EMIs and end up paying credit card bills with all of her salary. She would buy things paying big bucks for a single use. I tried to make her understand but it was in vain. Finally, it started a hit on my self respect when she started treating me like a miser and I stopped trying to help.

    According to me, there is no greater sin than forgetting your true identity, your roots where you came from. Because that is the real you, molded into shape by wonderful parents and life.

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    1. I'm glad there is someone like me :)

      I totally agree. Screw your friend, she will get her due soon.

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  9. Everybody is exactly like what you just said. Everybody. I mean it. I have never liked people who showed off. I just know that show offs are cheap, very very cheap and people just dont know it.

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    1. Exactly. They think they are being rich while there is nothing cheaper than that.

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  10. More power to you LEO!
    I was born in a lower middle class family too..both parents clerks in Bank and Income Tax respectively. Then we moved to become middle class as promotions after promotions happened. But now I live away from them. I started my own career journey. I started earning 5 months back. Its not much since I am a junior lawyer, but it is the best in the industry. I need to carve my own niche now. And slowly make my own way.

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    1. I'm extremely proud of you and love you for that! <3

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  11. I might be playing my victim card again but among my peers, I always felt that I have had to go through the crappiest financial family crisis imaginable. Unemployed dad, rich and anti-pathic grandad, and a mother and daughter duo caught between their clash of egos. Of course, that wasn't the case. I made it through one of the best and costliest schools in my city, a convent. In terms of clothing, I have been raised on hand-me-downs and I never bothered about what I was wearing because one, my elder cousins have a better sense of style than me and two, I now borrow mostly from an elder cousin who regularly goes on a shopping binge to the biggest and brightest malls in delhi. SO I have my share of puma and adidas. But I can proudly say that I am not a brand person.

    My family is still in financial constraints and the fact that I have done precious little to sort it out, bugs me immensely. I have given myself one final year to pursue my interest in literature, flap about in a myriad different directions to see what is going on and where I can create my niche. But after this time period expires, I know for certain that I need to stand up and step out and for the first time in 22 years, take up responsibilities that my father has carried on far too long.

    All these things and experiences define me today. I'm far from perfect but definitely on a way towards who I want to be. Great post! :D

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    1. Wow, you are awesome. I feel so proud of you. I'm sure you will make it this year.

      Thank you :)

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  12. Your head may touch the sky and beyond, but always keep your feet on the ground.
    Awesome post like always Soumya :)

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