Poverty of Heart

May 7, 2016 at 9:15 PMMay (Friends, Media, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

Couple of weeks ago a friend and I met at a bar in the heart of the educational town Manipal. We had long conversations about our lives, politics, cinema and a good amount of nonsensical talks too. As we spoke and spoke and spoke my friend had downed a whole bottle of whisky and I had had four glasses of lime soda.

When we were about to leave my friend initiated a conversation with the waiter who told us that he worked 8:00 to 17:00 hours in a factory in the industrial area and from 18:00 to 23:00 hours at the bar. His son goes to an private English medium school, though the fee structure is quite high. He also said that he aspired to be a writer and has several story ideas in his mind but doesn’t have the time to write. He told us that even after doing two jobs a day, every day, it was difficult to run the house.

Couple of weeks before this my friend and I had met in a small and quite shady bar. While walking out of the bar we saw the man, who was next to us inside the bar and had left some time ago, return to the bar. He was finding it difficult to walk because of over-drinking. When my friend spoke to him we realized that the man, a daily wage labourer, comes from a small village in North Karnataka and has his wife and 6 children there. He said every night he had to find a different place to sleep in Manipal since he did not have a shelter. “I want to drink so much that I can die,” he said and justified him returning to the bar again the very same night, since he still hadnt figured out where to spend the night.

Interestingly, my friend and I have been almost jobless from a long time. We do have some projects in hand at times but most of the times we, who refer to ourselves as freelance writers, and crib and laugh about how writers are either unpaid or underpaid always, are jobless and penniless too. Yet, not a single time, forget single day, we haven’t gone hungry. We can also afford, once in a while, to go to a decent bar, drink and have good food.

Though jobless we aren’t poor. With two jobs, the waiter, is poor. With daily wages, the migrant labourer is poor.

As I see so many people say, “Its me,” and “Its my life” sharing, on social media and endorse, an article by Gayatri Jayaraman which speaks of the ‘Urban Poor’ I am reminded of the waiter and the daily wage labourer.

The kind of pressure a capitalist, corporate world bring on the lives of urban youngsters leaving them ‘broke’ is a matter of concern. The world is designed in a way where the gap between the aspiration and reality becomes vast. But that state of being broke and divorced from the ‘ideal self’ is not a state of poverty.

To believe one is poor, while sleeping on one’s own car, though not in one’s own house, to believe one is poor while having a cold coffee at Starbucks, though forced by corporate circumstances, is to mock at the real poor who doesnt know where the next food is coming from, where the night is spent.

I must admit that once we make a choice of lifestyle it is not easy to get back to lifestyle which is considered lesser than the one adopted. Plus there is always a pressure of the corporate capitalist society which widens the gap between aspiration and reality only to increase its own profit. But to not recognize what has caused the so called poverty among the employed urban youths and to cut a sorry figure of oneself saying, “Look at us the miserable beings who even sociologists, media etc havent recognized,” and thus ignoring the existence of real poverty and by underlining ones own life and thus pushing the real poor to invisibility, is to be a bit insensitive, it appears to me.

It requires some amount of poverty of heart to call oneself poor because one has to walk home without realizing that there also exist people who do not have a home to go to.

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