“Ah you never turned around to see the frowns
On the jugglers and the clowns when they all did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain’t no good
You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you”
-Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling stone
The life-hardened workers would be out and about even before the roosters crowed. The trusty bicycle-riding newspaper boy, the large-container carrying milkman, the three-wheeled rickshaw driver and the vendors in the market all were friends, but would not wave at each other because winter mornings were harsh in the Himalayan country of Nepal.
Once I asked the neighborhood security guard how cold does it get in the mornings. He said, “two hands full,” which he closes and places between his armpits to be warm.
I, on the other hand, woke up most mornings — wrapped in cotton — to the aroma of English tea and French toast.
I had the luxury of English t.v. channels, the internet (albeit, slow), an English medium school and a healthy upbringing not requiring me do household chores or plow my family’s farm at my leisure (an actual thing that happened to some of my friends).
Nowhere else are the lines of social class structure more perceptible than in a third world country.
I vividly remember, in the same road where I was being driven in my father’s air conditioned car, there would be cohorts of 10-something-year-olds begging for food in their naked bodies.
Normal people stayed away from them because getting involved with the economically backward was assumed as a bad omen. And religious beliefs and third world-ness go hand and hand.
According to a Gallup study, the top ten most religious countries were relatively poor with a per-capita GDP below $5,000.
But the irony, all the inauspicious and unfavored lived on temples because they too were devotees of God. Such funny games God played on them.
I could not care less about the poverty in my country though. I ate delicious food, wore expensive clothes, played all the latest video games and never had to ask twice for anything. Yes, my parents were good at pampering me.
But it all changed. The pampering stopped. Life downgraded a few notch.
Like a rolling stone
My father passed away unexpectedly. And with him, we lost all his investments that had no signed documents as evidence — because that is just something that happens in a third world country.
I was not sure if my sensitive self could handle the economic hardship.
I started commuting in congested public transports, where physical sweat and emotional rage mixed to form a depressive state of mind.
Mom started cooking food that required little to no added ingredients. I battled with her to eat it on many occasions.
My friends changed. My school changed. My house changed. My hobbies changed. Ultimately, my life changed.
But every cloud has a silver lining.
My experience made me a better person. I can weather tougher storms now. And atleast the second time around I will not take things for granted.
I am a new person, but my past experiences shape who I am. And occasionally I do prefer English tea and French toast.
Do you think money is everything? Leave a comment and reply what you think.