At what point in our lives do we say – that’s enough?
Is it after you get your first house or going by the rate of inflation now, your second house? Or is it after you’ve stuffed your wardrobe with Gucci bags, Jimmy Choo shoes and Paris Hilton perfumes (eww!)? Or is it after your tenth trip to Milan or London just to buy certain products available there?
I know of people who run up to Rs. 20,000 in credit card bills every month and still crib that they don’t have any money. I also know of people who own two or more loan free houses in Mumbai or Delhi and still say that they don’t have anything.
A few years back, when I decided to move out of corporate life and take the plunge into social sector, I took up a job which paid me barely enough to meet my expenses (like rent, monthly household items, travel to office and saving Rs. 1000/- per month). I lived for a year without buying a single piece of new cloth, shoes or anything else for that matter and piled on my friends who happily (or so I would like to believe) took me out for movies and dinner. I would not like to go back to that stage of life (financially) ever, but those months made me realise how far ahead we have gone in pursuing superficial stuffs and in our greed to accumulate.
My work thereafter has taken me to many villages, some even in remote areas. Strangely, I have found that the poorer a community is, the more generous they are. If they don’t have milk, they will serve you black tea. If they don’t have tea leaves, they will collect money and get you a soft drink. They might not have bed to sleep but they will make sure you don’t sit on the naked floor. They might not get full ration from the ration shop but they will make sure you eat a hearty meal. And if anything catches your fancy like a piece of handicraft, cloth etc, they will immediately take it down and shove it in your hands to take home.
One foreign delegate visiting us had once asked me – why is that the city people are so serious and unhappy and these (village) folks are always smiling. Shouldn’t it be the other way round?
When do we take a real DEEP look at ourselves and try and answer that question honestly.