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I come from a middle class family. Both my parents were working in order to fend for my sister and me. Yet, we were content and happy. But somehow, the people around were not. There was a constant comparison by others, trying to put us down. Oh you do not have an own house, you guys don't own a car and more blah blah. Any normal person would feel bad when such questions were hurled. We did too, as it was offending to say the least. The people talking had their houses and cars, yet they only felt content when they compared themselves to us. Reassurance perhaps. As a child, my parents gave me everything that they could afford. Strangely, I was never a demanding kid. I was content with whatever came my way and my folks made sure that I was taken care of well. I was put in the best of schools and thankfully for my parents I was a topper and received scholarships one after the other. I went to one of the best colleges for my degree, in which I secured a free seat, after scoring a ninety eight percent in twelfth standard. Nobody saw the fact that I had secured a free seat, everyone kept wondering how my parents could afford to get me studied at this big college. Some of them are still wondering.
The word rich never existed in my dictionary. I never dreamt of pretty things or anything extravagant. Luxury is not something that I crave for and I definitely do not get a kick out of comparing myself with someone beneath me. My luxury could be someone else's basics. And some rich soul's luxury could be my basics. I was aware of that. Such is life. And who are we to define who is rich and poor? Is richness only measured by the amount in your bank. Or by the gold on your body? Some people save money to dangerous extents. Saving is good, but stinginess is something else altogether. At times I wonder what these people are saving for? For a gold grave perhaps? It is disgusting to say the least. I know the cost of living is getting higher by the day, but why live in poverty now in the hope of a better tomorrow. What if you die tonight?
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I feel rich every time I look at the smile on my husbands face, or the joy on my parents face. I feel rich when I see the appreciation I receive at work or for my writing. I make enough money for my needs, and unlike a lot of other people, I know the difference between 'Want' and 'Need'. Someone once told me, a person should have an own house, a car, and the capacity to buy anything he wants. Such a person is a happy man. Seriously? How many of you think so? What if this same person is a lone divorcee battling cancer? You think he is happy then?
Everyone has ambitions and dreams, but it is really important to keep them realistic. Comparing yourself to your siblings or neighbors is like suicide where you dig your own grave and lose the people who would come to cry at it. Money, money and only money. Some people can only think about that. I have seen relationships crumbling around me for the sake of money. The rich want to get more richer wringing the neck of the poor. Who cares, as long as their bank balance improves, right? Oh you have money, great, then I shall be your best friend from today. What if I am a cold blood murderer hiding behind a facade of dollars? Who cares, as long as you get to see the green.
I own a lot of wonderful things. Big branded watches, clothes, shoes etc. But why? Because I like them. Not because I want to show it off among the people around me or blow my own trumpet with the richie rich song. I know the things that I can afford and I only buy things that I have the money for. Buying stuff on credit or on EMI's is something not for me. People have been bugging me and my husband to pick up a car, since we are married now. I wonder what the connection is. We have a bike and both our workplaces are within three kilometers from home. He drops me and picks me up. What would we do with a car? And that too in Bangalore traffic. I love bike rides and hence we both are more than happy with our bike. We are not buying a car because we do not need it. Not because we cannot afford it. The same thing applies to everything that others think that we don't have.
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Ever noticed that richness can only be calculated in comparison. He is richer than her. She is more richer than him. He is the richest man on earth when compared to him. Total bullshit. People use such statements to feel good about themselves. That's about it. Such people only thrive on comparison, without bothering about happiness, love and the small day to day things.
I feel rich when I dine at the Taj, as well as when I dine at a roadside joint. Because, I can afford a decent meal for myself. I feel rich when I wear a Ralph Lauren, as well as when I wear something off the street. Because, I can afford to dress nicely. I feel rich, when I write. Because I am blessed with the talent that some others can only dream of. I feel rich when I dance, because there are some poor disabled souls out there. I feel rich when I cook, because I know I can afford the basic ingredients. I feel like the richest person on earth when my husband hugs me, because I know I have all the love in the world. That is all I need. And want.