Of all things that can motivate people to change, Money seems to be one such catalyst which prompts a sudden and rather distinct transformation of character! This change can be seen mostly in upstarts and those who have never had a surplus of this essential element! A few common jokes doing the rounds in Gurgaon are related to some folk who had sold their farmland for a huge sum of money and really did not know what to do with it. A few bought Mitsubishi Pajeros, BMWs. and a host of luxury cars whose ground clearance is so low that the underside always scrapes against speed breakers and humps on uneven surfaces and roads! There is also this interesting story about a village Uncle, Taou who goes around in a premium S.U.V. smoking a hookah with the A.C. running and one of the windows lowered!
The effect of a sudden flow of lucre on lesser educated people can be understood, but then its effect on the more educated and so called, “Enlightened” people is even more intriguing! I have observed how a sudden turn of favourable luck, and the promotion thereby to a higher and more prestigious position has changed the character of a person I have known for not less than fifteen years! The prospect of earning more money and the greed for more makes such people more and more ruthless, so much so that old acquaintances are passed over for those who can offer better monetary benefits! I have observed how such people begin to ignore even those friends who might have saved their lives from deadly diseases like dengue!
Unfortunately, the wearing of premium Tag Heuer watches or Rhodium based designer jewellery or driving a premium S.U.V. or an expensive suit doesn’t really cover up the defects and weaknesses in one’s character! The other day I was amazed to see a tall handsome man getting out of a swanky premium car. He had put on premium clothes with designer labels and was wearing some expensive jewellery! what astounded me however, was that when he began talking to his female companion it was in a rather rustic and crude guttural tone! I doubt whether he could say even a few words in English!
But then to come back to my acquaintance of so many years, well, I have observed that in place of his humbleness and patience of yore, he is today restless, overbearing, impatient, rude, lost in his thoughts, conceited, and very proud! This rather sudden turn of luck has brought him the opportunity to mint more lucre in the form of commissions(because his salary is meager), and he has already bought some premium property!
What of the rest of the family members of the upstarts? Well she passes her time in the respectable pass-times of the rich and the famous, going to the parlour to get those pimples out, visiting the gym to get those bulges shrunk, spending time shopping for knick-knacks, and generally never wearing the same clothes twice! They nod at you with a rather haughty acquiescence, but then you see them as they were many years back, and no amount of make-up or wearing of designer labels will ever change them for you!
Ah, well, I guess I will continue to be humble and modest, and still try to drive a bargain, and see if I can perhaps save a few Rupees, because a few Rupees saved means saving for the rainy day! Not for me would be that long car(more difficult to handle) you know, like in, “bring me the Caaaar”, I’d rather drive my modest hatchback and let upstarts be upstarts! If they return my greeting with a smile so would I, but if they ignore me, so be it, all that swank and swagger will not change what you were and will always be! Ah well ah well, I don't think that money can change the essential character of a man or a woman. A rustic will remain a rustic albeit a more polished one after attending personality development classes and a person with a guttural voice will continue to talk in a guttural tone!
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