Cogitating about 80s or 90s, people had a mindset to own an accommodation. It was like – acquiring a piece of land and build their “Dream House” was the only purpose of life. They deep-laid their finances and future to ‘bring home the bacon’ or accomplish this purpose successfully. During my childhood, away from all the worldly-minded mundane, I observed my parents toiled up this topic every now and then. To my surprise, this was the topic of discussion when I visited my friends too. Very often, these uncles and aunties (in India, we address every elder gentleman as ‘uncle’ and elder lady as ‘aunty’, whether they are our relatives or not), so I would continue…. these uncles and aunties would ask if we own a house or paying rent to stay.
Father, being the financier of the house – left no stone unturned for his family. Rendering the basics (food, clothing and shelter), occasionally throwing parties and arranging for holidays, he would always encourage us to save. Save electricity, water, environment, a little from the pocket-money – to imbibe the habit of saving from our early childhood. My mother – being the home minister would supervise if we could cut any extravaganzas. That is how, the down-payment for the house was arranged and rest was taken care by a housing loan. My friends who were staying on rent, also shifted to their new houses proudly. It was then considered a status symbol. People at this stage had small dreams and held strong family values, emotional bonding with others and used to socialize a lot. Two decades later, with the advancements, globalization and increasing purchasing power (thanks to the various direct or indirect credit facilities theses financial institutions came up with) people’s interest has wobbled. Once a person starts earning and saves some money, the first thing they do is – buying a car or a high-end mobile phone.
Since people are now busy with their own life and seldom find time to visit any friends, one thing for sure everyone does – getting out of their houses. Getting out to work, shopping, partying, long drive etc. – in these cars. On the street or highway, one can actually predict the financial condition of a person – by just looking at the cars they own. I remember, how people tried hard to look inside a brand new red Ferrari through the glasses and mirrors – just to recognize the person sitting inside. Is it Sachin (Tendulkar) or Imran or xyz. Funny!!! isn’t it?
Another rung of people would compete on the kind of bikes they own – 120cc, 220cc, 500cc, 1000cc and what not cc… the phones they own – “You don’t have an Iphone?” very commonly mentioned by people who own it to those who do not. During a Christmas party at one of my friend’s place, her 12 years old son’s friend asked in front of the entire lot of people attending – if they an Iphone’s charger at home since his phone battery was down and when my friend said “sorry, none of us uses an Iphone”, “Impossible, how can you guys not have an Iphone” – the kid replied, much to the embarrassment of my friend’s son, who then insisted on buying an Iphone, if not for him, at least for his father. On the same rhyme, companies are now promoting their products. People are running around, day and night because they want more, even if it is at the cost of their own health, personal life or others.
One thing missing from all this bizarre of materialism is human values – to reach our ultimate goal – goal to live a peaceful life, contributing to other’s welfare and bonding of love. One can see people fighting on property issues, legacy they want to receive and enjoy worldly comforts, ignoring the value of “Earning People”. ‘Earning People’ is the most difficult and important part of our life. Some would argue that money can even buy people, true – to some extent, but we have good examples in Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela just to name a few. Were they rich? Yes, because they had “Earned People”. If earning money was the ultimate aim, why don’t people transfer money to their homes in heaven or hell post life on earth. Really strange that one spends entire life running after money and then dies leaving everything behind. Just to state, ‘understanding our very meaning of life’ on mother Earth is crucial ‘to be happy’. The after life is just another topic of discussion.