Sachiniti

February 13, 2007

Are The Truly Wealthy Truly Stingy?

Filed under: Of men women and Eunuchs,opinions,personal — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 3:39 pm
Tags: ,

Kaveetaa Kaul

To me wealth would mean ‘having something which money cannot buy’.

Fortunately not many agree with this connotation. Or, how would there ever have been delightful stories of the ‘rich and famous’ their idiosyncrasies , fads and foibles, their escapades and escapism, slanders and slumbers, gossip and infamy, which cater to the entertainment industry across the globe. Its sooo much fun to return from a drudgery of the mundane kind, put your feet up and lose yourself in the inanities of the ‘other world’, where the most pressing issue is caring for the multi million dollar estate. So you see, the wealthy serve a purpose as well..doling out vicarious pleasure to the millions ’bout their millions.

Now when alluding to ‘wealthy’ I mean the Really Seriously, Unthinkably Wealthy.. chosen few..the kind who own villas all over the globe, jet set hi fliers, breakfast in Spain and lunch in Miami kinda guys. As luck would have it..sigh.. I happen to know a few on ‘cordial terms’..air kissing, clinking glasses and ‘all that jazz’ basis! That I wish to turn invisible at the false fawning, synthetic warmth, at the first whiff of their French perfume invading my senses, may also be noted. You see, I suffer from a jaw-lock-that-soon-aches syndrome..the kind that takes over surreptitiously as soon as a smile remains fixedly on for over a minute, with no hint of having reached the eyes, and threatens to remain so for an unlimited period thus affixed..and dang! the ache descends with aching regularity.

At one such session, when yours truly was hurriedly surveying escape routes, what do I see! The cutest, cuddliest, toddler.. the hosts, I guessed quickly. Ahh! what more could I ask for ..a perfect way to spend a not so perfect evening.. lost in the gurgles of the kiddo, rather than the giggles of the momma. Baby perfume over French anyday! Baby milk powder over cheddar n wine n caviar! Of course! So off we go, Nanny, Baby n moi, into the nursery.

I knock off the stilletos from my sorely complaining trotters, throw myself on the bed and bury my head in the sweetness of the babys Oh so podgy neck..with both of us laughing merrily. A real moment, Kodak Moment..stored forever in the master chip.

The Nanny quite amused at this turn of events when she could happily watch her ‘K’ serials while the baby was being fed, diapered, lullaby-ed, made her pleasure all to known by lavishing me with compliments, hoping that I’d visit more often ( Clever).

To cut to the chase, she made sure that kebabs, and sushi was in regular supply while I performed ‘her’ tasks! Now that camaraderie was well established, and we had both resigned into a comfort zone, she began warming up . Not willing to share my wine, I offered her the ‘snakes’ ( snacks) as she referred to them .She pulled back in horror as if I’d offered her a part of my cannibalistic feast! She divulged that food for the servants was made separately. Of course i said, I understand. But surely, I argued..No No, she continued. She was forbidden. In fact, she was not permitted to eat ‘chapattis’..only rice, which she ruefully informed me was the cause of terrible acidity, but she had no recourse. The servants were given rice..on orders.

I had often heard tales elucidating on the ways of these gloriously rich. Their logistics went so: Each penny saved, needs to be further invested to create further pennies. Therefore curb expenses, save, invest and grow wealthy..Wow!! No wonder >>I’d never get there. Before the cheques came in, expenses had been listed, holidays, discussed, gizmos selected, kiddos presents secretly decided,and so on.

Believe me this was no hyberbole of an incident. After this tale, I have now turned immune to the ones which speak of disgruntled, employees, cheated labourers. It has further solidified my belief that largesse of heart and mind is has nothing whatsoever to do with the domain of riches. It has to do with a compassionate attitude. How can I forget the scene of the beggar woman giving off her last bed sheet to carry the injured, during the blasts?

Generalisations are not just odious but also dangerous . The creation of stereotypes sequentially, then is a certainty. There are others one knows of, who have these ‘Langars”( free meals) interminably on at Vaishno Devi and other such. However one need preclude the theory of ‘appeasement to the Gods’ as a possible factor, which almost as if nullifies the philanthropic argument.

The more I think of it the clearer the possibility seems as if the creation of wealth is sometimes at the expense of the non-wealthy. Each penny out of the proleteriat only goes to adding on multifold that of the classes. If one benefits almost tangibly by exploiting the weak is not their resultant predicament a source of guilt? Are the wealthy therefore perpetuating the ever widening chasm that divide the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’? More importantly, is wealth a refuge or a necessity? Is it a route to further aggrandisement materially, when ideally it should have been the cause of philanthropy? Or, if one may argue, tangentially, does the accruement of wealth pre-dispose ones need for humanitarian efforts?

Our values, our steadfastness of principles is often gaged by what we can tolerate being done to others. Recently, a maid from Dubai arrived in Mumbai after having served A christian couple, Lewis, from Kerala, as a Nanny for their twins. She was brought on a wheel chair, emaciated, beaten, unbelievably tortured, rescued by an NGO. Her fault? None except that she was poor, illiterate, desolate, and needy.

Purely as a comic interlude, which perhaps makes this as relevant as today is the news of Lau Prasad Yadavs in-laws travelling ticketless in Kranti Express. “Jamai Babu Ministerva Hai Bhai.. Toh Hum Ticket va Kyon Lee ba!!”

Continuing after the break..

If being wealthy does not transform you into a better human being then what purpose does it serve? Make you happy? Ah-Ah that doesnt seem so either.

John D. Rockefeller
When asked if he was happy with all his riches, he said, “I have made millions, but they have brought be no happiness.”

John Jacob Astor
American Fur Company Tycoon–left his children with $20 million at his death in 1848
“I am the most miserable man on earth”

William Henry Vanderbilt
Railroad developer and financer.
The wealthiest man in America during his time and the father of the wealthiest family in America
“The care of two hundred million is enough to kill anyone. There’s no pleasure in it.”

Puzzling isnt it? But if possessing wealth failed to give them any happiness, perhaps they ought to have considered giving it to charity!! That might have done the trick,,But then Ahh well..this post would have sounded untrue eh? If you are wealthy, you are so till your dying day. You choose not to live well, so that you can die wealthy..chuckle chuckle.

Hmm.. I guess, given the choice I’d be rich, enough to buy what I need and wealthy enough to buy what money cannot.

Advertisements

31 Comments »

  1. Money doesn’t talk, it swears. (bob dylan..)

    aha.. here it is, wit the in the airs of luuve n the arrows of cupid comes the riches of life n the wealths of happiness..

    well, we cant have the cake n eat it too! tatz the fate of most.. lucky few have the roses sans the thorns.. who knowz? am not complaining!
    in the wealths of life, the riches always filter away n the green backs, the jingling coins aint warm enuf, aint cozy enuf… aint strong enuf to compete against the waves of undiluted happiness- the joyz divine!
    wealth is like a magnetic fireball whic drives us thru the years of life, kinda common goal but then only the clear headed know and discover the neutral zone…

    All this talk about equality. The only thing people really have in common is that they are all going to die.
    I say there’re no depressed words just depressed minds.
    and sumwhere the riches of life breed the fungi of sorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

    great one n hope the treasures discovered by u aint leave ur side…Take care of all your memories, ur love… for you cannot relive them. happy smilez!!

    ps: u aint read my blog for a long time.. do knock on thy heavenz door ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by saptarshi — February 13, 2007 @ 9:15 pm | Reply

  2. So rich people in Mumbai serve kebabs & sushi at their parties, eh? what a combo! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Well generally speaking, filthy rich people in the US definitely donate to charity, have their own endowments, et al. Its only in India that I see ALL the rich people clinging to even their pennies like hell. Wealth & prosperity in India is necessarily passed on from 1 generation to another where as in progressive countries thats not necessarily the rule of thumb. Wealthy (read rich) people pass on their bucks to the less priviledged or to institutions, etc. and pass on the challenges associated with the passion of building something outta nothing to their own offspring. I like it that way! ;)…. I wish the rich & famous of India could learn a lesson there……

    Comment by Me here — February 13, 2007 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

  3. Hi Sapt..Agree on all counts. Like they say its so simple to be happy but so difficult to be simple. Nothing touches ones heart more than a simple soul and also the simple pleasures. One never knows eally why it gets so difficult to engage in simple pursuits once the ‘greens ‘ have decided to seek residence. By all logistics, it should pave the path to induging in matters close to the heart with even more abandon..dont ya think? Unless it means that leading meaningless lives Is the life that appeals in the first place and therefore the pursuit for ‘material’..

    Ahh well.. a wise man learns through anothers experience, a fool learns through his own.

    Pronto..shall visit your site. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 14, 2007 @ 11:20 am | Reply

  4. Hi Me here,

    To be fair, its my fetish for eliminating carbs at night that leads to just snacks into dinner as well ๐Ÿ™‚

    Maybe it is the insecurity thing.! basically the truly wealthy might correspond to just about .1% of our population. Being engulfed in a deprived environment makes them even more clingy I guess. They begin to mistrust relationships, friends and relatives. Instead of doing away with the source of their problem or atleast learning to live well , they get into this .’me mine’ fixation.

    There is also a distinction between ‘rich’ and ‘wealthy’..some say riches shout while wealth whispers. Rich can also refer to the ‘nouveau riche’ which is a delightful class of its own strange genre. Wealthy essentially would refer to the landed aristocracy, or maybe the generations of family wealth kinda category. In any case underneath it all , stinginess pervades.:)

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 14, 2007 @ 11:30 am | Reply

  5. All the wrong people get the dough..I promise I’d be the kindest most generous person if i get to be reaally really rich.. Is God listening??
    There was this Boss i had who was the richest person i knew and you wont believe it but he cribbed over every extra pen or other stationery we ordered. The guy was so nervy about his money and properties that i think he spent more time worried about the estate than actually enjoying it. He has never been on a holiday, hates to spend time with his family, wears the same three shirts..and he is real wealthy..where is he going to take that money!!

    Comment by Neha — February 14, 2007 @ 2:45 pm | Reply

  6. Neha, perhaps he respects his hard earned money & was trying to inculcate ‘good’ spending habits among the people around him…. ha ha ha…. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Comment by Me here — February 15, 2007 @ 7:51 am | Reply

  7. close to the heart… this phrase kinda makes me apprehensive.. am reading a buk called ‘sister of my heart’- chitra banerjee divakaruni, the way it waves thru human emotionz.. its like living thru a lifetime along with the turn of the pages… i never really missed a sis.. i used tell maa, i wud have thrown her out, if i had one!! but over a period of time.. i missed, longed n wanted one! well… aint possible… but in life things happened n there i had a sister, as sister can be… but then again i lost her.. dunno why? did i not try to hold on? i did n with all the honesty of human bondage but then the sands slip thru the peep holes of a determined fist n she’s taken down sum alien road… with money can i buy that town? can i etch a path towards her?? the happiness in life sumtime just evades u, independent of the heavy pay slips n stuffed dmat accounts… pursuit for wat is life? is it material? no. its those big/small whirlpools tat generate a dream over the iris! for some it is money, status, position n power but there are certain LCM we all desire n there money never dampens the chambers. maybe with time the smell of green backs n the heady powers numb our senses- or we realise that the inanimate wealths are easy to triumph while the finesse of human emotions, feelings sumtime just suck us like the quick sands of time…. n thatz one thing that slowly runs out- time! n so we choose the path of easy resistance n worry abt the ‘pens’ and ‘ball-pens’ of existence… though in rite earnest, aint have any story worth narrating ๐Ÿ™‚

    In ceremonies of the horsemen, even the pawn must hold a grudge.

    to bliss!! cheerz ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by saptarshi — February 15, 2007 @ 9:22 pm | Reply

  8. Great read, Kaveetaa. Though, from a poor persons perspective, it would be laced with cynical negativity. You managed to bring a huge issue to light with wit, charm and humour.

    You are an ideal journalistic mind.

    Though, you are a success(if we need to label) you are also, a spokesperson for the poor..

    thankyou for speaking “for” those whom, cannot. Their world is just not pretty and bright… I don’t believe in karma, I believe the anvils of evil, like greed, corruption and self-amassed fortunes, is what keeps the mass’s poor…not sin-related karmic pay-back.

    North

    Comment by North — February 16, 2007 @ 7:53 am | Reply

  9. Hey sapt..read through twice before all came through. Relationships are as slippery as eeels in a way. I sometimes wonder really how much is it of our making and how much ordained. Siblings, we dont have a choice over, ..is this not destiny? Love for each other is a gift..sometimes clearly demarcated in the horoscope. I met an astrologer once who guaranteed the veracity of his predictions. According to him, there was no way one could get more love and affection than pre-determined. What was our choice was our reaction to it.

    So dont fret.. love has an antenna which catches the faintest murmur of the heart. Feel it and release it to the Universe.:)

    Our journey here was meant to e self discovery process. The tools we use differentiates one over the other. Some use money, others ambition, others pain and some just Experience..both as a verb and as a noun.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 16, 2007 @ 1:06 pm | Reply

  10. Hey Sapt..tried commenting on your blog.Forgotten my password et al.. Why dont you lift the curb on commenters and instead monitor through e mail. this way anyone can comment on your blog, which you will be notified to decide if spam or crass comes in.

    This was my comment for your post on Love..

    “Original imagery! Vicariously generated? Naah!! Love is in the air:) Tell us about it. “

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 16, 2007 @ 1:18 pm | Reply

  11. Dear North,

    Trust you to come up with statements that does wonders for my -all-too-ready-to-bloat-ego.Thanks thanks thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for journalistic mind..that is where I would unabashedly tend to agree a bit. Ever since Sachiniti took shape I find myself viewing things from the point of view of ‘the other’ at times, as an impartial onlooker, almost out-of-body-ish placidity. Helps to see things in perspective as well as hone the humorous in the plain mundane.

    As for karmic payback..lets look at it this way. If we believe Buddha, Vedas and other texts, then the wealthy are enjoying stale food as in being repaid for previous good. By the same rationale, what they are amassing for their next birth, is debatable and rather poor I guess.

    If life is meant to be an experience which brings one closer to the Lord, then North, we Hindus believe that those whom the Gods dont adore, he grants them wealth..that way they would never feel the need for Him. and well he can look after the real woes the rest of us burden him with ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 16, 2007 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

  12. Hi Kaveeta,
    I think this posting is nothing but left-wing, idealistic (read intellectually impoverished)propaganda.
    Lets back up my criticism:
    You say: ” I had often heard tales elucidating on the ways of these gloriously rich. Their logistics went so: Each penny saved, needs to be further invested to create further pennies. Therfore curb expenses, save, invest and grow wealthy.”- aah you forget that money on its own has no intrinsic value- money is what money does- any businessman/economist/political historian/social scientist will tell you that it is investment that turns the wheel of the economy, helps money grow and maintain (purchasing) value of money over time- also most serious businessman, let me assure you, dont look at creating further pennies- but at creating sustainable (hence profitable) businesses that fulfill a need of society.
    You say: ” The more I think of it the clearer the possibility seems as if the creation of wealth is sometimes at the expense of the non-wealthy. Each penny out of the proloteriat only goes to adding on multifold that of the classes.”-aah No, you are wrong- wealth is created through innovation and enterprise- sitting and giving your money to charity does not do any good to society over the long run- the only benefit is a short term, unsustainable redistribution of wealth. This is the impracticality of brilliant socialistic ideals which have failed time and time again in the 21st century. – I would say a more sustainable idea is not giving away wealth in charity but for the wealthy to pay higher taxes (realistic levels of progressive taxation)- which then is used by a honest and accountable bureaucracy/govt. to spend on education and health only- this way society will ensure that there is equal opportunity for all to do whatever they want with their lives- but try telling the Lok Sabha “lets cut defence spending by 50% and ensure that every citizen in india has access to healthcare”- in my wildest dreams
    You say: “If being wealthy does not transform you into a better human being then what purpose does it serve? Make you happy? Ah-Ah that doesnt seem so either.”- I personally dont think money, power etc. make anyone a better person or bring hapiness- these qualities are intirinsic to the human itself- I guess its a difference of definition- I think everyone who does not harm anyone elses interest is a good person and of course hapiness is a state of mind-
    You later say in one of your comments:
    “As for journalistic mind..that is where I would unabashedly tend to agree a bit. Ever since Sachiniti took shape I find myself viewing things from the point of view of โ€˜the otherโ€™ at times, as an impartial onlooker, almost out-of-body-ish placidity. Helps to see things in perspective as well as hone the humorous in the plain mundane.”- Man you have a big ego- you never see things from others perspectives (following your blogs for awhile)- you have your own ideas/morality/ethics set in stone- if thats the case how can you ever see things from anyone elses perspective as what you see you interpret using your own concrete values.- Read Bertrand Russel’s critique of Hume in History of western philosophy- to understand the hazy and sometimes ineffectual difference between subjectivity and objectivity.
    Also please do not generalise about Hindus- dont say things like “we Hindus believe that those whom the Gods dont adore, he grants them wealth..that way they would never feel the need for Him. and well he can look after the real woes the rest of us burden him with “- I am an Arya Samaji- I have a different conception of my faith (for starters I dont believe in a Him but on Universal oneness)- hindusim by nature is polytheistic and allows different viewpoints to develop- it has no authority figure who lays the dictats of the religion. So dont say we hindus- say “I as a Hindu believe”.
    Sorry to have a go at your blog- its just that sometimes I cannot believe how the left wingers globally give a lot of crap to people (u call them wealthy)- who have been innovative, been entrepreneurial and/or even plain hard-working to attain their wealth- Dont censure the wealthy or make them external to the system- society needs their genius/dexterity to keep the wheels of social progress turning.

    Comment by Murat — February 16, 2007 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

  13. Murakh..err sorry Murat.

    If I had the slightest indication that your comment above was for the purpose of a healthy exchange of thoughts/dialogue I would have gladly responded to each and every line with perfect lucidity and demolished gleefully your post despite the logical attrition of your arguments..Ofcourse arising out of my huge ego, which you have alluded to. But it seems to be a foaming at the mouth, with a hidden agenda and some attempt at personal vindication ( the source of which is not lost on me either) which I would be silly to lend fuel to.

    Left-wing..gimme a break!!

    If I am not mistaken you have had quite a go at my blog previously as well..isnt it?? So do you go to blogs to read Bertrand Russells re- gurgitated opinions? Quite a skewed sense of expectations.must say…My blog is a product of my sensibilities ( as is the blogosphere Universally).. No like.. no read. I promise Atlas wont shrug!!

    Sometimes the preciseness of new age lexicon is praise worthy..In this case just one word.. Whatever!!!!

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 16, 2007 @ 5:36 pm | Reply

  14. Me here..this is what he says too. But what bull*&^%..respect for money to me means spending it respectfully…which can mean maybe making your employees happy once in a way by being ‘dayavaan’instead of a kanjoos makhichoos. If he has not been able to earn our respect, then what use his big cars and mansions.If those who have dont spend onthe needy, then how can we? for these spending wisely only means making more out of it like Kaveeta has said.. the rest is all crap.

    Kaveeta # 13 was hahaha..So what is murats problem..is he wealthy or is he stingy? or is he both? He says the wealthy are innovative and hard working and all that crap.. so what are the rest of us? louts? These people who dont want to part with their money find excuses and big big words for stinginess..a makhi choos is a makhi choos ..not an entrepreneur!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by Neha — February 16, 2007 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  15. Kaveeta….first of all let me say your cheesy word play on my name was at best disappointing.
    Just a thought for you: Dont you think that me or anyone else having a go at your blog – goes to show that at least there are some people who think that you (sadly you r one of the very few) do say things which are worth pondering about (and criticising). I would have been flattered if someone criticised my blog.I am disappointed to see that you cannot take criticism- though I MUST RIGHTLY APOLOGISE for saying that you had a big ego- that was out of order and I can only blame it on a moment of madness combined with the intensity of my argument.
    Neha….if you read through my argument in #12 you will see that all I am saying is that using ones own wealth for personal utility (through investment in innovation and enterprise) is more beneficial to society-at least in a state where 1) realistic levels of progressive taxation and 2)an efficient bureacracy/body politik exist…thats the point I am making….I am neither rich nor stingy- just making a rational argument. After all why should we all blindly accept’altruism’ to be a virtue.

    Comment by Murat — February 16, 2007 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

  16. Murat,

    You and me have sparred earlier and over an extended period. Therefore it was extremely disappointing for me to get the kind of comment from you which was visceral in its tone. I love debates and have never shied away, in fact you did ..if you recall our last exercise. How can you imagine or infer that my objection was towards criticism.. But I must be allowed to explain my standpoint.Not attacked . For any dialogue or discussion to ensue, the atmosphere,in the case of the net, choice of words or rather essentially a decorum of fairness has to be maintained. You used terms and words which challenged my integrity and hurt me terribly.

    You have been kind enough to say that ” (sadly you r one of the very few) do say things which are worth pondering about (and criticising)”.. But also I would like you to sensitize yourself to the fact that I am also one of the few who has chosen to write with my identity in full view and on topics which are controversial and debatable. If those who write under an alias then decide to be cheesy and cheeky to unnecessarily adopt an offensive tone de rigeur, then a curt retaliation should be expected and if I may add only human. As per you.. I am an egotist ..remember? But you have since apologised and it will not be right for me to pursue on the objection.

    I would in fact truly like to respond to ALL your objections to my post, most willingly. As of now I cannot sift out the anger of your words from your valid objections. If you are so inclined, you can perhaps edit and re-send your averments. I will most respectfully give each a thought and present my point of view.

    Murat, I rarely write a post without pre-ponderance and without taking into consideration an all round perspective. Which is the reason I do not write everyday. For me it is essential that I say what I want to, more than what I have to. Analyse, dissect, conclude and present is my motto. If you call that an ego.. well then all I can say is that any creation is a result of that ego, some can sense that as positive and align themselves with it, others may get repelled. I am just doing what I am passionate about.. that is writing.

    My intention is never to hurt, mostly to underline issues which merit attention and sometimes like in this post mirror the anomalies that I have personally witnessed and been disturbed by. I may have cloaked it in wit n humor, as North guessed, but believe me I have seen first hand some rather appalling behaviour.

    Regards

    Kaveetaa

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 16, 2007 @ 7:41 pm | Reply

  17. Ok Kaveeta- since the white flag is up- here is my argument- why is altruism deemed a virtue- why should the rich who are like anyone else by the fact that they too have laboured to earn, accumulate and invest their wealth- just give it away. it doesnt meet any need of society – in fact money is what money does, and it is the responsibility of those who possess great wealth to invest their money in innovation and lucrative enterprise to make money grow, create jobs and give others a chance to live their dreams.
    A lesson in economics: Wealth is created through innovation and enterprise- sitting and giving your money to charity does not do any good to society over the long run- the only benefit is a short term, unsustainable redistribution of wealth. This is the impracticality of brilliant socialistic ideals which have failed time and time again in the 21st century. – I would say a more sustainable idea is not giving away wealth in charity but for the wealthy to pay higher taxes (realistic levels of progressive taxation)- which then is used by an honest and accountable bureaucracy/govt. to spend on education and health only- this way society will ensure that there is equal opportunity for all to do whatever they want with their lives.
    Ulmately i would like to say that throughout your argument you have criticised the thoughtlessness/avarice/gathering instinct of the rich- Dont censure the wealthy or make them external to the system- society needs their genius/dexterity/consumption power to keep the wheels of social progress turning.

    Comment by Murat — February 16, 2007 @ 8:15 pm | Reply

  18. Oh just to set the record straight- I didn’t shy away from the gandhi debate- it was just that u ended the last post on that topic by saying- if i remember correctly that you wanted to change the topic and not pursue the gandhi one any further

    Comment by Murat — February 16, 2007 @ 8:20 pm | Reply

  19. Ok..lets begin afresh.

    To set the record straighter.. comment 17 on that post was a lengthy response to you..after which the you did not respond..

    As for your comment above:

    Why are you equating ‘altruism’ with charity? It has more to do with benignancy, kindliness, and other such virtues. Also its your interpretation of my post.. I did not mention the word. The spirit of my contention was quite different.

    You further say “why should the rich who are like anyone else by the fact that they too have laboured to earn, accumulate and invest their wealth- just give it away. it doesnt meet any need of society – in fact money is what money does” Please tell me where is it that I have demanded that the wealthy ‘give it away’..if giving a nanny wheat flour pancakes or rotis as opposed to rice is your idea of giving it away’ then you have got me wrong and are reading into it what I have not alluded to.

    Sometimes the pettiness of the act is more telling..a microcasm is as veracious as the macro. It is the attitude of stinginess which was the matter of debate here.

    And then why should ‘creation of jobs’ be mutually exclusive with apportioned charitable acts? Both can afford to safely co-exist.

    The problem as I see it you have taken on a pro-capitalist stance which I have not alluded to at all and neither am I in disagreement with, if you read my Guru review. Of course I confess to being no ‘economics’ major,yet even to my
    intellectually impoverished argument, the rationale you offer is as if diametrically opposite to the simple observation in my post..that those who can, often desist from giving,even inconsequential sums, as if it would atrophy their treasures.

    “I would say a more sustainable idea is not giving away wealth in charity but for the wealthy to pay higher taxes (realistic levels of progressive taxation)- which then is used by an honest and accountable bureaucracy/govt. to spend on education and health only- this way society will ensure that there is equal opportunity for all to do whatever they want with their lives.”

    I am certain you realise the Utopian-ness of your above statement. In fact the highest defaulters are the class you are so fervently appealing for. Also view it in the light of the incident mentioned in the post ..its laughable really. You actually believe they will happily pay extra taxes?

    I have censured as you call it a certain behavioural trait, but it is not me who can segregate them from society/ make them external to the system. Murat..it is they who are a “class Apart’ a networking which they create and perpetuate. I do believe that India has the intellectual acumen to rise above the rest of the world..but for 60 years all we have seen is the chasm widening. Reasons galore.. which are clearly not the purview of this post.

    Also, just curious.. when was the last time you came to India and hobnobbed with the ‘gentry’? Much as I hate generalisations, as I have mentioned in the post as well, it is a lesson in ‘Wealthonomics’..

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 16, 2007 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

  20. “when was the last time you came to India and hobnobbed with the โ€˜gentryโ€™”-lol- Just wondering what makes you think I dont live in India and dont belong to the ‘gentry’. Am i so transparent?
    Money is better spent in satiating ones own personal utility and enterprise. If a rich man/woman (atleast i would) decides that it is in his/her interests to help his/her nanny by sharing his/her rotis -then by all means they should. But my point is that lets take a broader look at what are the intrinsic duties of a rich/wealthy person…it is to make the money multiply through legal means, which usually means investing in innovation and enterprise that benefits/satiates societal needs and widens the stakeholder group and more importantly satiates their personal utility.
    I think its the responsibility/duty of the state to ensure that its citizens are all happy – the state has the power to tax its citizens to fulfil just this need- so they should tax the wealthy at higher rates. Now i keep emphasising realistic tax rates- the problem is many rich people in India refuse to pay taxes, not because they are stingy or love hoarding their money- but because they dont deem the tax regime to be fair (read a paper entitled ‘The Economic Psychology of Tax Behaviour’). In India’s case this is a legacy of the pre-liberalisation era (detailed reasoning for this statement is outside the scope of this post) -having an inherently corrupt political system and bureaucrats doesnt help either. But my theory works -Take for example in Sweden the wealthy happily pay 60% income tax above a certain income threshold- because they know that if tomorrow they were to go bankrupt-the state wouldn’t just leave them to die- but would provide resources (education and healthcare) that would help them to redevelop as productive members in society.
    Sitting and calling people stingy is not constructive (hence my statement dont make the rich external to the system)….it is not the duty of the rich to be charitable – it is the duty of the state to ensure noone needs charity. In man-eat-man societies/states the rich are as insecure as any other socio-economic class.
    I will tell u a particular incident I came across as a child. Growing up in a close-knit para(neighbourhood)in Kolkata, I remember once seeing the corpse of a drug addict in the middle of the street. Noone bothered even covering the body- they just left it there and went about their own business-atleast until the man’s mother came to the scene. Now would you call these average working class Joe Bloggs, stingy? The point of me telling you about this childhood observation of mine was that its in man’s inherent nature to take care of his own interests above everyone elses. No doubt, “the beggar woman giving off her last bed sheet ” should be lauded for her saintliness- but that doesn’t mean we should censure those who take care of their interests above everyone elses- even if they are rich. We shouldn’t expect anyone to go out of (what they deem is)their way to help others- when we all maintain a state there to do just that. help.

    Comment by Murat — February 17, 2007 @ 2:59 am | Reply

  21. “using ones own wealth for personal utility (through investment in innovation and enterprise) is more beneficial to society-at least in a state where 1) realistic levels of progressive taxation and 2)an efficient bureacracy/body politik existโ€ฆ”

    I am sorry but I for the love of me cannot find any connection between petty stinginess and all the rest of the jargon that you are dishing out…after all i am not saying that the rich should now sponsor all the poor of the world and spend their millions on the needy..its ‘chindi pennies that they can be stingy about. My boss expects us to take a bus or train for official work..its unheard of. Conveyance allowance in an ad co.!!

    Comment by Neha — February 17, 2007 @ 11:40 am | Reply

  22. Hey Mr. Murat..on second thoughts..you told me that you are neither wealthy nor stingy.. and then you ask Kaveetaa how does she think you are not one of the gentry!! So what is the truth? I think you are one of ‘them’..that will explain why you got so hyper:)

    Comment by Neha — February 17, 2007 @ 1:19 pm | Reply

  23. Neha….Read #20 to get a clearer understanding of the point I am trying to make. I cannot comment on your boss-but let me ask you what proportion of your income is spent on satisfying some need of somebody exterior to your family/stakeholder group?
    The point I am trying to make is that the rich are human like you and me- when we ourselves dont go out of our way (most of the time) to help the poor/have-nots, then why should the rich?

    Comment by Murat — February 17, 2007 @ 5:14 pm | Reply

  24. @Murat,

    I recall reading in the “Bhagwad Gita” that charity is a must for a householder. The financial kind, which is being made in to quite an issue here, by you, is in fact the lowest form of charity, stated therein. The highest being the gift of knowledge, or through giving of oneself in deed.

    Since you mention Calcutta I am reminded of what Ramakrishna Paramhansa had to say on the matter of charity. He advised that while giving charity, fold your hands in deep gratitude before the receiver, since he has given you an opportunity to earn a meritorious deed. Needless to add that I have never forgotten this.

    You extrapolate on the duties of the State, which are nowhere close to bearing the stamp of reality in India. Therefore are we supposed to turn a ‘Nelsons Eye’ and wait for relief form official quarters, towards those less fortunate? In my opinion this is akin to passing the buck.

    You then ask..’Now would you call these average working class Joe Bloggs, stingy? ”

    Yes I would.. most definitely. They were stingy of heart, uncaring, apathetic, unmindful of the condition of a fellow human being. Can you imagine what would have happened to the hapless thousands if not millions the world over if Mother Teresa thought the way you did? In wait for the State to lift a finger? We, none of us can even hope to be close to that saint in our Karma..but whats stopping us from doing what is right, moral, and correct in any situation that presents itself before us?

    It would be undignified for me to elucidate on works of charity, or thoughtfulness I may have indulged in. Suffice to say that I am circumspect of empty words..action almost always backs up my writings. I may add here, that in keeping with Ramakrishna’s teachings, have made it a habit to inculcate gratitude towards the receiver, humility in heart, and a prayer for ‘mangal’ for all.

    That is why I totally disgree with you that it is mans inherent nature to think of ones personal interests. On the contrary, our innate self is Goodness personnified, where there exists no ‘other’, where material accumulation, or even the thought of sharing ones material blessings was not a thought fit to merit attention. This is not supposed to infer that man was supposed to strip himself of all his wealth, but only that giving off a part to others in need, is not only an absolute must, ethically, morally, spititually, but a bounden duty of every right minded citizen of the world.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 18, 2007 @ 11:08 am | Reply

  25. And..Oh about your question “Just wondering what makes you think I dont live in India and dont belong to the โ€˜gentryโ€™.”

    HMMMM. you see among my accomplishments like Tarot reading and palmistry, is crystal ball gazing as well. I could clearly see myself travelling over Europe landing in England..and there you were frowning over my post..

    Kidding..:) Your ..what should I call it.. Naivete?..Its touching really. Murat you ip address easily shows your location .. and its not India.

    About’not belonging to the gentry’? You negated that in your post to Neha..I take these things on face value..One normally means what one says.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 18, 2007 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

  26. Hi Kaveeta

    Sometimes the biggest wealth one can have is share a hearty laugh with a close friend….or to have the time to feel happy and reflect back on some nice moments before hitting the sack.

    Regarding whether …the truly welathy are truly stingy…I guess that’s quite subjective to the way they have made the money.As long as the person remembers their roots, I guess charity and other options that keep them on the ground will naturally come, otherwise its a case of an upstart-kinda false life.

    Good thought provoking piece!

    Regards

    Kartik

    Comment by Kartik Kannan — February 19, 2007 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

  27. Kaveetaa-I wish more people were as noble in their intentions and deeds as you are- especially with respect to “The self” being defined as goodness personified. So YOU are justified if you call anyone stingy- on the condition that you practice what you preach in #24.
    Please keep posting more thought-provoking pieces (as your posts generally are).I do not know about others- but they do brighten up my day in gloomy ol’England (yes you rightly inferred my location). And yes- I would again like to apologise for my aggressive attack (very unlike me)in #12.

    Comment by Murat — February 19, 2007 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  28. Hey Kartik,

    Thanks buddy!

    Oh yeah those pleasures which come free but lose significance for most coz of just that. Or maybe that we have lost the ability to sense the joy in say the the chirping of a bird, or the sweet smell of freshly watered earth, or the first monsoon, or the smile of a child..we often watch but dont see, hear but dont listen. Remember that poem..’What is this life full of care, we have not time to stand and stare.’ “Leisure”..I have quoted it elsewhere here as well.

    Hi Murat,

    I am so glad that daggers have found their sheath and white pigeons of peace seem to winging their way from ‘vilaayat’ to India.Actually, except for the initial# 12, I quite enjoyed the argument. Its only through dialogue, assension and dissension that we really discover ourselves, the real us hidden beneath shrouds of negation and neglect. Just a nudge and it reveals itself in all its glory like your #27. It was such a warm comment, which I am sure is the true reflection of you as a a person.
    Thanks

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — February 20, 2007 @ 11:25 am | Reply

  29. Hmmm…a very interesting read…all the way through the comments. Made me think for a long time about the true meanings of the words – richness, success, happiness et al. In the end, I came back to an old adage that is one of my favorites.

    “Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you got”.

    Keep writing such thoughful pieces.

    Comment by Deb — February 22, 2007 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

  30. Kaveetaakaul,
    Marvelous choice of words! But, please, do not write grammaticaly incorrect sentences such as “You and me have sparred earlier and over an extended period”.

    He and you are the subject in this case. Hence, “You and I” is appropriate. You see, esoteric words alone do not make for elegant prose.

    Comment by Narayanan Srinivasan — March 7, 2007 @ 5:33 am | Reply

  31. “You and I in a beautiful world…”

    As also:

    “Cause it’s you and me and all other people with nothing to do
    Nothing to lose
    And it’s you and me and all other people
    And I don’t know why, I can’t keep my eyes off of you

    All of the things that I want to say just aren’t coming out right
    I’m tripping on words
    You’ve got my head spinning
    I don’t know where to go from here

    Cause it’s you and me and all other people with nothing to do
    Nothing to prove”

    I had no clue that ‘esoteric, marvelous’ would someday describe my rather imperfect attempts..

    Am beaming, despite the scalding.

    But I was never drawn to linguistics..sorry to have disappointed you.

    thanks for the suggestion though.. Much appreciated.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — March 7, 2007 @ 5:23 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: