Today is a wonderfully lazy day for me!
Lazy? It is always so! What is so special in it now, lad?
Oh my dear, don’t you say so. It is wonderful! Isn’t that something? I sit perched on the roof for another day. The weather must be really good to pull me out of my cocoon. Admittedly with laptop, but that’s another matter.
Today, Behna went for stargazing in Firozabad. It is a 1-night educational trip by college. I shot her down then and there when she asked me, due to the prohibitive cost. Are a thousand rupees worth such a trip? To her, yes. She is only paying half of it though; the other half would be paid by their science club. Am I a cheapskate, I wonder often. She can pay for a full-size cheese-burst 3-cheese pizza without batting an eyelid and I just stare at her, wondering where does she get all the money from.
Really! Where does she get all the money?
I don’t know. It is still a mystery to me. I don’t spend a dime. I always walk for 2 bus-stops to save Rs 5 every day. And I have a student bus pass and a really inexpensive canteen. But she always goes by metro, takes auto many-a-times, her canteen is at least 50% more costly than mine. Yet! Yet she manages to bite her teeth into that yummy, heart-melting pizza! I am jealous.
But then I think it might be a classic case of penny wise, pound foolish. I really don’t know where I spend my money. I know of it only when I have none of it in my pocket. I am impulsive even for fruitchill and such tiny little treats. The thought goes, ‘here I have not spent anything for the last 3 days. I deserve a treat.’ Or so it was. I came to realisation somewhere in-between that this is a never-ending game. When you have little source of income, treats can’t be delayed. Because they never come. You are helping no one when you take that little walk rather than catching a rickshaw. You learn to trade time with money.
And that’s why I am learning cooking nowadays. Well, not because I plan to be poor! But because I plan to be independent. And when one has to stand on their own, one cannot afford to not know these domestic chores. We just sit at home and expect our parents to do various tasks for us. There is a maid that does the cleaning and washing. What do I personally contribute to my home? Maids and home-deliveries are luxuries for the majority. And if they can live without it, so can I. And as I write this, I realise we really are the cream of our society who expect maids to be there. When I read stories of the upper class of past in faraway places of England and America (think Pride and Prejudice), I see uncanny similarities. I used to read those because with a critical eye, but now I read them with fear. That history is really repeating itself.
If someone has money, why shouldn’t they buy themselves comfort? There is nothing wrong in it, of course. But they do this with a blatant disregard to people around them. So do us right now. We have children that remain uneducated. Isn’t that equally if not more crippling than polio? Those people cannot read and write, so they are denied the very basic jobs that they are physically capable to do. It is not that their mind is any lesser than us, it is only that their mind remains under-utilised, never achieving its potential.
But I am quick to note that this is mere talk. And talk is cheap. You can get it at any street corner, from any retired old man, or any starry-eyed toddler. The only thing that matters is what you do with it. What am I doing? Sitting in a corner of my roof, and somehow wishing the world would change? I cannot say no, because I am doing exactly as it says. And why should I lay claim to a fact that I may be useful tomorrow? Nobody has seen what happens tomorrow even though generations of men have withered to find it. They try to interpret their dreams, watch the stars, try to decode the lines on our hands. But no, those lines will do nothing but bring age to you. The hands themselves, on the other hand, are very capable.
I have pledged that I would build a night-school when I have money to do it. Yet, I have so many dreams that remained age-less in a corner. I am afraid they have remained mere dreams even when their time is past. I realise that I don’t have the capability that may teach a child; ironically the younger the child, the more skills it needs to manage them. And that’s the reason I have pledged to build a school, and fund the vision of those who are capable and ready to do it.
I have learnt that I cannot change the world, but I can make a little part of it better. Who knows how a little kind deed ripple across the universe? I have also realised as I stand now I am merely full of questions and uncertainty. But I plan to change myself too, brick by brick, into a better man who would be proud to leave this world.
Hopefully, it happens because at last there is only hope.
– Con Anon