I saw an ad in the newspaper last week which offered a gift of a designer watch (allegedly worth 20,000) on purchase of jewellery worth 40,000. There was a picture of this watch in the ad and I looked at it with great curiosity - perhaps it was cased in 22 carat gold or studded with precious stones? No. It was just like any other watch. Or perhaps it doubled up as a computer or a television or a music system? Else why would you spend 20k on a simple device that told you time which is admirably done by electronic throwaway watches available at Rs.100 in china bazar? In fact you don’t even need wrist watches anymore as your cell phone, fm radio, and computer tell you the time. So then why all the fuss about a band around the wrist?
When I mentioned this to a yuppy friend, he looked at me like I was low life(I get these often for my naive statements)and explained that designer watches were style statements. And he also let me know that designer stuff did not usually come as packages of x cum y cum z. They were just it – a watch or a handbag or a sunglass with a enormous price tag from a reputed house. They indicated to the world that you have “made it” in the world. Since the world does not have a way to know your designation or your accomplishments or your bank balance – this is how you let the world know that you are successful. How dumb of me, not to have understood these “fine” aspects.
I can understand people wanting to own a Mercedes car – that wonderful machine that gives you so much safety while making driving a pleasure. I suppose that these designer products guarantee good raw material, fine finish, unique design and of course that most valuable name of the designer house prominently displayed on the product. But how much functionality can you add to a watch in any case? I guess the more money you have the more inclined you are to throw it on least useful stuff and the stronger the statement you make. But does someone who really feels that he has made it, the complete man or woman need this piggy back ride on designer labels to prove it to the world?
She is the third of four children in a middle class family from a town in North Karnataka. She had a traditional South Indian middle class upbringing and was quite happy to let her parents choose her groom. She had no great expectations from life -all she wanted was a normal happy life. But for some people even that is too much to ask! On the evening of their marriage the groom helped himself to all her jewellery and gambled them away. What seemed like the beginning turned out to be the end. But that was a beginning in another way. The docile, protected girl decided to take control of her life. She refused to stay with him and returned to her parents' house.The father said there was no place for her in his house and she should return to her "lawful" husband. The girl stood her ground, argued that it was the father's fault in having found a gambler as her husband; she also told them that all she wanted was a place in the house and that she would pay for her keep with a job she would find. And she has kept up her word and he determination. Since then She has worked in NGOs to earn her living and to keep her busy. She reads a lot,she is never depressed, has a positive outlook on life and never says "Why me?'
As for the husband, he is shamelessly fighting for restitution of conjugal rights, refusing to give her a consensual divorce for after all the great indian marriage laws do not allow a woman to seek a divorce on the ground of a husband being a gambler or alcoholic or liar. For six years now she has been married in law without being entitled to any of the priveleges of a marriage. She is punished for just taking the seven steps with him around fire while he is not hauled up for not sticking to the mantras he said while taking those steps!! The case goes on...
But she accepts it all in the right spirit for she knows she is right and that is what real heros are all about.
I feel sorry when people
rush past old people and people with children to deplane or at immigration counters
cannot think of offering the first auto to someone with a lot of stuff or a child
cannot let someone with just one item to bill at the check out counter to go first while waiting with a cartload of purchases.
These gestures cost a few extra minutes but cause so much gentileness to go around in the world.
A simple act of kindness has such a cascading effect in making the world a better place to live in.
Whenever I am in such situations I always remember how good I felt when I needed the favour and somebody let me pass before them and it feels good to be able to pass on the favour to someone else.
Perhaps these other people have never had such kindnesses shown to them? And that is why I feel so sorry for them.