Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I want MORE.I want it ALL.

We are seldom satisfied with what we have.We want more.We want a better job that would bring in more money to be able to afford fancy stuff.And once we burn a huge BMW shaped hole in our pockets while attempting to buy the aforementioned fancy stuff,we want more money to fill the gaping hole and thus continues the saga.

We are also very susceptible to the perils of comparison in terms of materialistic possessions or otherwise(beauty,intellect etc) and that is when jealousy rears its ugly head.On most occasions,we manage to groan and curse inwardly and not display our true emotions on the outside.As long as one manages to acknowledge the truth that it is supremely difficult to be all zen and remain unaffected by another person's success but at the same time be civil enough to not let negativity get the better of him,its all good.

Sue and Parul talk about how a strong sense of resentment is building up in the lesser privileged folks.I am yet to encounter this form of resentment but I have however been subjected to a different form of resentment and that too from very unexpected quarters.Let me elaborate.

An acquaintance from Bangalore was in town for a month on work and visited us quite often during that period.Now this guy is about 6 years older than we are and works as a HR manager in a highly reputed and big company and his wife is doing pretty well for herself too.They have a 3 year old son.They recently bought an apartment.Nothing wrong with this picture right?I thought so as well but that was from from true.Now at the outset,everything seemed good and he seemed happy to meet us and spend time with us.We dutifully took him around the city and showed him the sights and had him over for dinner every now and then or took him out to dinner so that he could try a new cuisine.After a few visits,I started noticing his resentment.He would often make comments on how his flat in Bangalore had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and yet, was smaller than our 1 bedroom apartment on the whole.Or how we eat out often and we can afford to do so since we do not have children yet.Why do you need a big screen TV? A regular TV isn't good enough for you any more is it? he asked. You people here in the US are so spoiled, he said.Everything of course was said in jest and was supposed to be a big joke according to him but it was very hard to ignore the inherent bitter undertone.It was like he was challenging me to a duel to see how I would react.Not the one to be cowered down,I gave it right back to him of course but I could not go all out.It was after all a double edged sword.I say too much and I will be eternally branded as a big show-off.If on the other hand,I say too less and I will have to live with the knowledge that this guy almost insulted me and got away with it.

It was a revelation,his behavior and reaction, to us and our lifestyle.He was trying so hard to make us feel guilty for being better off than him inspite of us being younger.It was almost as if we had been given everything that we owned in charity.I just don't get it.Its not like we started of like this.In fact,when M and I got married, all we truly had that was ours was a hefty student loan.We had very little money but somehow it never affected us too much.We were happy.We worked hard and we got by and we saved and we scraped and here we are.Whatever little we have today is what we earned.And I am guessing this is the case with most people,isn't it?We of course are discounting those lucky bums that had rich forefathers leave behind pot loads of gold and a palace or two.

The icing on the cake,however, wass this ridiculous assumption that since we lived in the US of A,we made more money than our counterparts back home and that money here,came by very easily.So as a rule of thumb, we are forced to do the spending every time we go out with him and his family, either here or in Bangalore.

I can perhaps understand if my maid or my watchman or that homeless person on the street showed resentment.I would attribute that to lack of education and class and years of suppressed angst.But when a well-educated man makes such banal comments and shows such utter lack of good judgement,respect and class, it is very hard to digest.

22 comments:

Dwiteya said...

Some people are always jealous.. My SIL and BIL live in the USA.. my SIL gave up her extremely well paying job to set shop there.. They suddenly realized that though they earn in dollars, they r one salary down.. But it still does nt stop them from preening about the new car, the roads, the locality n etc etc etc about USA...

But when we ask them to return the money that we borrowed from them, they say how difficult life is blah blah blah... So, maybe ur friend is categorizing u as the same as other NRIs... All Indians think that anyone in America is rich.. :)

Dwiteya said...

Typo!!!

**But when we ask them to return the money that we borrowed from them

The money they borrowed from us!!

asaaan said...

People in India always compare salary versus the cost of say an onion. Every gift we bought for relatives was "Yeh kitna ka milta hai" I hated it and asked them why do you want to know the price.

OTOH, people in Singapore asks us how we survive in the USA with one salary , 4 kids and such high high taxes(Singapore has a very low tax rate):)

Anyways, I would have stopped bringing that guy out for dinner.

DewdropDream said...

It's weird how people automatically assume you're better off coz you're living abroad. What about rent, taxes, bills etc? NRIs pay higher for those too! No one seems to think of that.

I think in the end this attitude is more about moral ground. By assuming they are less well-to-do or lucky or fortunate, they think they have the right to tell you off about things or crib... moral high ground like I said.

Did you have to socialise that much with this friend though? Can't be lessened?

DotThoughts said...

This was the first time you encountered this?? Lucky you. People work on assumptions.. if you live in the US, as you say, they think money is yours for the asking. Ignoring the fact we do all the housework and then some ourselves. No cooks maids and drivers. Next time someone tells me that I am going to point out that fact. Also, its ridiculous what people expect our of you when you visit home. I cannot spend $100 on gifts on every relative. Sigh.. sorry to rant here.. you just struck a nerve with this fab post.

And before I go - loved the BMW shaped hole line :D

chandni said...

that's an imndividual thing I am tellin u...some people will never be happy with what they have...no matter how much more than most people it is...

and there are some who will stay unaffected by it all...

Ignore the oaf....and next time, let him foot the bill

Mama - Mia said...

:)

some people just cant be happy! and common perception indeed is that people in usa are richer! and in absolute terms its true. but what they fail to understand is that the expenses are in dollars too!

when M travels to the US he always takes the friends out too and makes sure he foots the bill every now and then!

such people are all over the place! so all you can do is ignore! :)

hugs

abha

I love Lucy said...

@dwiteya : its funny how people twist circumstances as per their convinience right!how do you define being rich? isn't it just relative after all? crazy crazy people!

@asaaan : i know exactly what you are talking about!
its kinda hard to not pay for dinner if the other person refuses to even offer to pay for his share of the food leave alone foot the entire bill!

@dewdrop : aah such wisdom from my young friend :)
and yes absolutely,moral high ground is what it is.but if you see the bigger picture,they probably are doing well for themselves but for some rason the fact that you may be slightly better off than them is just not acceptable.

@dottie : You said it sister!The first time I visited India,I did not really buy gifts for everyone in the family since it was nearly impossible to afford it.They did not take it too well back home and I ended up having to buy the women folk silk sarees!Long story!

@chandni : yeah true.this guy and his wife fall under the first category clearly.and like i said before,he just won't pay.he won't offer to do so either.it is taken for granted that we do the paying all the time.some relationships are just too expensive to nibhao!

@abha : yup! thing is they convert the dollars into rupees and then stop right there.what about our expenses?food,water,electricity,gas,rent etc do cost a lot of money.

divyaiyer said...

Ignore maadi!

It is bugging though. Even more when I know the person in front not only makes more, but also has ancestral property, and 10 plots around the city, and lot in Gold jewellery ;and still manages to comment that 'some people cant live without luxuries' , when me and the Dude go and buy ourselves a comparitively bigger car! Out of our salaries, which is all we have! Irritating, but the mantra is IGNORE.

Mama - Mia said...

an award for ya!! :)

cheers!

abha

Dee said...

And a tag for ya... :D

the mad momma said...

you know, its an individual thing. there are people who come visit us in our delhi home and want to know what we earn, why we have to pay such a high rent - are we too high and mighty to pay that as an EMI and live in the suburbs? etc.

i'm learning slowly to tell the world to go jump. and to give as good as i get. its not easy. and its not restricted to desis visitng the US.

its plain and simple jealousy and people everywhere are like that. you'll find it happening online too.

i commend you on your patience. I'd have pushed him off the roof real quick.

D said...

Came here via Sue's.

It's pathetic how people prove their pettiness by comparing themselves to others.

I love Lucy said...

Divya : Sigh.Wish it were that easy to ignore. Especially when they or their family members are in your face almost all the time!

Abha : Thanks so much :)

Dee : Will do :)

MM : Thing is I am not good at giving it back to people.My "eloquence" fails me miserably when I need it the most!I do try though.

D : Welcome :)
And yup! And the worst part is there is nothing you can do about it.Ignoring works in most cases but there are those really annoying folks that just won't go away.

Sindhu said...

Argh, that is so frustrating. And quite disrespectful of your friend as well. The opinion that people living "abroad" make easier money than people in India and therefore are entitled to spending money on everyone when visiting India (or having someone from India visit) is pretty ridiculous. Especially when there is no base for even thinking that!

When I read the first few lines of your entry it reminded me of the recent entry I just wrote on man's greed and always wanting MORE.

P.S - Nice blog. :)

Inexplicably said...

I came by from MM's blog. I so empathise with what you have written. I have a regular visitor, a brother in law who is an architect, seems to be doing well, nice family etc but EVERY single time he runs us down 'in jest'. Our house is too 'wasteful', the wooden flooring is so 'unnecessary', we waste money on 'useless furniture' ad infinitum. I often put it up with a smile while I am seething inside. Once a while when I have given it back to him I have felt 'small' afterwards. There is no easy way to deal with resentment I think!

J P Joshi said...

Just passing through....... Agree with what you wrote. It happens all the time with some people.

These people always look at the color of the grass on the other side, instead of counting their own blessings.

La vida Loca said...

what I say? all quiet? all good?

asaaan said...

where are you? No updates for so long?

DewdropDream said...

Update, woman!

The said...

Just ignore him. There is a reason that God has given us two ears!! :P

and by the by..can you acces my blog?

-childwoman-

I love Lucy said...

@Childwoman : Hey,I am unable to access your blog for a long time now.I tried leaving you a couple of messages on Silvara and Dee's blogs just to say hi and find out how you and your mom were doing.I am so glad you dropped by!