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.