I read this brilliant article by Rashmi Bansal( who for the records I have been reading from 2005, and has passively played a role in motivating me to get my PG) and it was really the things I have been grappling with that she had put out there.
I grew up middle class and pretty much in genteel poverty(really cant find any other words to describe it). I went to an expensive private school but I can count the number of times we ate out as a family on the fingers of my hand. New dresses, electronic gadgets were a luxury I saw on my classmates with “business background”. I remember going to a friend s birthday party and gaping at a bar inside the house and mindblowingly she even had her own room and closet. I think I died a little the next time she came over to my 2 room apartment. But if there was something I could leave the rich kids behind it was cracking our educational system. I had a good memory and there was no question paper which was too tough. So there was just one mantra at home- study and make something of yourself. For me somewhere it meant aspiring to that lifestyle that I saw around me but couldn’t live. I was the middle class 90s child hanging onto dear life in a bus looking at the new Maruti Zen driving next to me.
So I powered through the right degrees and pretty much live the life I aspired to. I remember getting an allowance of 3K most of my engineering life from which I paid rent, utilities, food and fun. A good pair of footwear from Aldo costs more than that today and I have a cupboard full of them.
So now what? the business class has obviously moved on to bigger, shinier material comforts and I am in a pretty comfortable space myself. What is the mantra I should live by? What should I aspire for? A bigger pay check, some sort of self actualisation? When I have kids I still want them to realise the good ol “money doesn’t grow on trees”, make something of yourself etc but how will that message ever land when I also want them to go to the best ( read expensive ) private school around, holiday wherever they feel like, mall trip every other weekend and bow down to the goddess of consumerism by gifting them an iPhone when they are 2.
And what do I grow upto be?