Saturday, February 9, 2013


It happened some years ago and this man with whom I had a brief acquaintance whiffed into my thoughts this morning. It is the easiest thing in life to be critical about another, while we may often ignore or overlook into ourselves and be critical of self. Nevertheless, as I try to be not judgmental about this person, I cannot refrain from observing how silly and stupid his actions and thoughts were. It was naiveté!

An unassuming quite man, he was known to me for a while through a friend. He and his spouse were Bank employees by profession and was enjoying a middle class life .It was without forewarning that abruptly something triggered in him the urge and longing to be rich- rich as rich can be. Having being transferred on his job to the industrial town where I lived and worked, he was dazed by the speed and maddening pace of commercial life in the town and the rapidity in which people became neo rich. The industrial city was equally famous and infamous for all the good and the bad reasons of commercial entrepreneurship. Certainly money that could be made in that booming town was amazing. But what he did not recognize was the stupefying speed at which the money, made and the richness got could also be nullified in even time. I mention the word money specifically as he, like most of the town folk related money to wealth and material wealth alone.

I, one day came across him at the local railway station and he was boisterous and in greatly enlivened spirit. To me it appeared quite strange, for he was reticent and soft spoken by nature. He took out a book from his bag and thrust towards me. ”Read it”, he said. “This will change your life overnight”.

With the least presumption and prejudice I took the book and flipped through, for I did not believe that a book could change one overnight. I do not remember the title of the piece- it was something like, “How to make money or How to become a millionaire”. Instinct told me that the book was the kind of ‘Dale Carnegie’ stuff and that was something I was never fascinated about, all those quick remedies and quick firing in matters of life. I remember thanking the man for the advice and persuading him to take back his book and that I would borrow it later. But he was insistent that I have it then and read it. For, he swore that he saw his life brighter than ever before and he will not have to turn back. He was very persuasive of the value of the book and its contents. I do not have the book with me now and remember casting it somewhere soon after.

I must indeed have to mention that the poor fellow was later heard to have been chastened and disillusioned. But only after losing as substantial part of his savings and provident fund benefits which he literally squandered by following his “Bible” to the letter. Apparently he invested with some local charlatan in the latter’s business there and was squarely cheated.

A doc friend once told me that money is in fact necessary and is a vital life line. I cannot disagree for it will be pompous and silly. He also added that those who swear having no need or value for money would rue when they are penniless and their turgid statements in the twilight of their lives. For not all are lucky to have a smooth sailing into the sun set.

The important point is what is the limit of sanity in terms of wealth? And what is wealth per se?

I ‘m aroused by a comment of Warren Buffet. He said, “I know people who have lot of money and they get testimonial dinners and hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. When you get to my age, you will measure your success in life by how many people you want to have loved you, actually do love you. That is the ultimate test of how you lived your life.”


rudraprayaga said...

Four M's here.Money Makes Man Mad.Sometimes money makes man magnanimous also. Nice description.

Ashwini C N said...

True. I'm not saying Money isn't important. It just isn't everything. With time, we realize that we value more for our happiness and peace of mind, than anything else.

KParthasarathi said...

It is the avarice to acquire more and more for personal comfort that is condemnable.Wealth earned with a purpose to give for charitable causes is welcome and laudable . A reasonable wealth for living a smooth life ine twilight years is necessary.

Happy Kitten said...

I think Benjamin Franklin answered this..

Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.

We can be have all the money in this world and still be not content or we can have just enough and learn to be happy with it...

And money that comes easy is always lost easy too..

Happy Kitten said...

A group of highly educated students visited their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering them coffee, Professor returned from kitchen with a pot of coffee and an assortment of cups- porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to hot coffee. When all had a cup of coffee in hand,
The professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain ones. While it's but normal for you to want only the best, that's also the source of your stress. What you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, But you still went for the best cups and were eyeing each other's cups!" :)
If life is coffee, Then jobs, money and status in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life.
Don't let the cups drive you..
Enjoy your coffee more than the cup that holds it! :

Courtesy: Facebook

BK Chowla, said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BK Chowla, said...

Ambani never read any book on ways to get rich

Usha Menon said...

Money is nessasary for a decent living. but too much of it makes the man arrogant and selfish.Those who crave for it are never at peace with themselves.The old saying 'uneasy lies the man who wears a crown' is true.

anilkurup said...

@ rudraprayag,

The second eventuality is more a possibility than an exception, I think.

@ Ashwini.C.N,
Wonder how many among us can say enough.

@ KParthasarathi,

The contention is what is reasonable. isn't it?

@ Happy Kitten,

I liked your allegory of the coffee mugs story.
Benjamin Franklin's words resonate , wise indeed.

@ BK Chowla,

Yes he did not. And I do not think any Gujus ever do .

@ Usha Menon,

Yes indeed.

Insignia said...

He was a foolish man to blindly follow a book. That said, the way wealth lures is infamous. Wars have been fought, are being fought for wealth.

I remember some words; I don't remember if I heard it from someone or read it somewhere. You should be entitled to only so much wealth that you can control, not the wealth controlling you.

....Petty Witter said...

We have a saying here that money does not maketh a man happy but it certainly brings him a better class of misery.

Musings said...

@ Insignia,

B, the man was not inspired and revolted because of the book. The book was corollary or incidental to his sudden infatuation and obsession to become rich.

@ Petty Wiiter,

Yes Tracy , that is a wise fact.

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

‘How to…’ books – Haa, that’s a cottage industry!

anilkurup said...

@ Arun Meethalle Chirakkal,
As i mentioned in a reply to a comment the book was the outcome of his search and frenzy to be rich.