Cal and I have a problem when it comes to cars. We both hate it. There is something very unpleasant about the smell of a car. Inspite of using the best car perfumes, the stink still remains. I feel extremely claustrophobic inside a car. And the car AC is another enemy of mine. Even if I sit for five minutes in a car with AC I get a splitting headache. The stink then adds on to it making me want to puke immediately. To avoid all this we both always travel on our bike. We are extremely happy and comfortable with it, but society is not something that would leave us alone. People tell us to buy a car soon, now that we are married and all, you see. Well, I do not see. Both our work places are less than two kilometers from our house, so why do we need a car? And we love travelling on the bike. Next, people think that we are stingy and do not want to spend money on a car. Great! Just because you can afford it doesn't mean you have to buy it. Right?
Cal and I are extremely practical people and we know that a car would be a nuisance to us. We'd rather use that money to go on a holiday. But according to society we are lower class because we do not have a car. Two wheelers are for the poor people they say. A four wheeler is considered a status symbol, so what if it is bought on a loan for which you will have to cringe for the next eight years. As long as there is a car outside the house, people will think that the family is rich. Our society is a wonderful thing. The way they gauge people and their status is an algorithm that no Harvard student could have come up with. Two wheeler = poor. Four wheeler = rich. Two wheeler+four wheeler = decent rich. 2 four wheelers = very rich. Rented house = poverty. Own house (with twenty years of loan) = rich. More than one own house (with forty years of loan) = royalty.
First of all, who has the time to go about looking into the houses of others or what car your neighbor has bought? Comparison is the thumb rule of the Indian society and the jobless housewives are the harbingers of it. A two BHK house is considered a hut, while a four BHK one is considered a palace. And some people want to show off even when they do not have the money for it. Why? Because they need to look good in front of society. They have to maintain their "image" after all. No matter how fake or false it is. And even comparison has a few basic rules that people happily ignore. When you are at level one, you will compare yourself to the one at level two and then try to get there. You will not directly compare yourself to the level seventy five person and crib about not getting there.
The amount of jewelry worn by a woman shows of the status of the family. It can be fake, begged, borrowed or stolen. But yet the status is established. Same to go with the thickness of the bracelet worn by the man. Such a ridiculous society we are a part of. A couple gets married and are immediately expected to buy a car for their use. Status check: one. Next they need to take all the loans that they can get and buy a house. Status check: two. Then almost immediately they need to have a baby, since they are now settled with a car and a house. Obviously, because a car and a house are the only things you need to think about before having a baby. Status check: three. Then you have to deck the baby in gold from top to bottom to show that they come from a rich family. Status check: four. Next when you die, you need to leave your property to your kids and they will fight over it. Status check: five.
Cal and I both come from rented houses and we have also moved on to a rented place of our own. We have immense peace there and we love it. But we are not expected to be happy and peaceful because it is a rented house. What will people say? Log kya kahenge after all? Bull shit. An own house or a car should be a necessity for the family and not just a status symbol to show to the society. I have always believed that when things are done just to prove a point to someone they go downhill right from day one. But who cares what is happening inside the house as long as people on the outside think that this is a rich family. I am disgusted by such people. Fakeness here takes a whole new level and this provides more fodder to the ever gossip hungry society.
Flaunting can atleast be accepted if you have the capacity to earn it. I see so many children flaunting off their parents money and so many wives flaunting off the money made by their husbands. And all this just to show the outside world that they are capable of owing something. Even if it is of no use to them, they buy it only so that they can prove to the world that they can afford it. As for me, I show the world one big middle finger. I live in a one BHK house because it is just two of us. Not because we cannot afford a two or more BHK place. We own a two wheeler because we do not need a car. And we hate cars. Society can place us wherever it wants to. We are not the ones to care about two wheels or four. One bedroom or more. We are people who buy the things we need. And not the things we want or the things we can afford. There is a huge difference between a need and a want and society sadly hasn't heard of the former.
Maybe if people understand the difference, the world will be a better place.