30 October 2010
Sathya & I always have this one argument. About money, about helping the poor, about donating some amount every month to a worthy cause. He says, in complete seriousness, “Why don’t you to donate it to me? I am the poorest of them all!!” As for his money, “Why should I donate money to XYZ? I have slogged my ass off for it in the 1st place”. His reasoning is, if he has struck gold, the loot is for him to enjoy. I, on the other hand, feel that, if I am rich, I am going to be richer by sharing at least a part of it with someone else, someone other than my immediate family, someone needy, someone unknown or, unrelated to me, whose life can be touched by a small gesture of kindness.
In all good marriages, the wise wife chooses her battles well. This is one battle I am not too eager to win. That is because, neither of us is rich, nor have ancestral wealth to throw away. Hence, even if I would like to contribute generously to a cause, I am held back by my constantly shrinking purse. And even if he wants to hoard cash, his wallet is stressed by the sheer load of his never ending list of wants. So, what’s the point of arguing endlessly with him? We have agreed to disagree & maintain status quo. I continue to do my thing, my little bit, because I know, that every drop counts.
I really believe that, whoever earns, say beyond 15,000, in a city like Bangalore, can afford to part with at least 300 a month to some cause. Is that too hard? I don’t think so. Accounting for all our expenses, living costs, utilities, and entertainment costs & even if we stashed away another big wad of currency under the category “miscellaneous”, there’s still, always, a wee bit left at the end of it all. What is lacking is not the money but the heart to part with it. What we need is an upbringing that nurtures an attitude of sharing & giving. I remember reading Suzan’s blog, where she wrote about Ramadan, & how they are encouraged to actively help the less fortunate during the month, because that act itself is a form of prayer.
Just think of the Whirlpool add “Ek Jodi Kapda’. A simple & beautiful thought that can easily be done by anybody. No excuse can justify not being a part of such a humane campaign. There was also one by Pantaloons, I think, if I am not wrong, where you could give away your old toys & they would distribute it among the poor. How many of us have clothes/toys/utensils/furniture & so on that we haven’t used in a really long time & we know we will never use it? But it lies in the house. We keep clinging on to it. We don’t mind letting an old wooden cot/chair/table rot in the rain. We simply can’t bear the thought of giving it away.
Wealth creation is not bad. Wealth accumulation is. By that I mean, hoarding money or things; being a miser; not wanting to share it with anyone; sometimes not spending on one’s own family; not giving that teensy weensy excess away to a needy person. We should salute the likes of the Birlas, the Ambanis, the Tatas & the numerous others who have created great wealth for themselves, their stakeholders & the common man, who invests his life’s savings in their companies.
I read a quote once that said, “To be born poor is not our fault but to die poor is”. One of the purposes of human life is to better one’s own conditions; to constantly move from one strength to the next; to continuously strive to improve ourselves, not only in personal growth as in our talents & abilities but also in our standards of living. Of course, money matters! Because only if you have it, can you give it. So, do go out there, & make money, all you can, loads of it; mint it, multiply it. But just don’t be blinded by it. After all, not everything in life that counts can be counted.