Thursday, August 6, 2015

Vain & Ostenatious

It sounds quite a right when we hear someone say, ‘It is my money, what I earned out of my labour and I‘d use it the way I want. No one can question my right to burn my wealth; I might give it away, might want to be voluptuary with it- live in a palace made of gold and eat off glittery gold plates’.
People who speak thus could be anybody who is seated on mountain of wealth- it could be the Kalayan Jewelers family hosting the Big B, Benny Hinn the evangelist healer (sic), the Ambanis or the most fraudulent of species- politicians in whose case the only knowhow to accumulate wealth is to steal, pilfer, rob the masses and purloin.

However, I feel the statement and thought that it is my money and my right to indulge with it is flawed and obnoxious. How can we say that gilded and opulent living, a life style that is utterly, utterly epicurean and extravagant is morally agreeable? Just because it is one’s own money, one’s own (call it) hard earned wealth- a product of sweat and toil or because it is one’s heirloom one has the inviolable and unquestionable right to be voluptuous with it?

Indeed wealth or the money wealth generates can be used to buy, possess and experience pleasures of the mind, body and most of all gratify vanity. The last mentioned- vanity, is indeed what drives people to indulge, to swank, to swagger. But can one claim that as absolute right?
Now, we need to think about the resources that went into the generation of the wealth that we decide to use to satiate our greed and vanity. Are they exclusively – morally and ethically ours for a price? Do we possess the right to hoard and squander resources that are scarce because one may be sitting on wealth as rich as that in Fort Knox? Can we trivialise the labour of many by placing a price? Can we ear mark the produce of labour and resources that are natural and products that are made, to which there are a million others who have the right to, but not the means.

I had a very animated and hot discussion with a young woman on the topic. It pertained to the picture and the news report of the Kalyan Jewelry family hosting Amitabh Bachan. The dinner was served in dishes plated with gold and resembled the sumptuous feasts that we have seen in Hollywood flicks that tells about medieval period intrigues. I expressed that it was vulgar display of vanity and wealth. My young companion vehemently disagreed and she said, it cannot be bad because what one does with one’s money is one’s prerogative. If I disliked opulence and did not wish to be ostentatious so be it and that I have no right to criticise the other and call it vulgar or vain.

We moved on arguing our sides. The question of opulent weddings came up; the obscene concrete home of the Ambani’s – “The Antilla” overlooking the slums of Mumbai came up; the ecclesiastical vulgar pomp of the evangelist Benny Hinn and the Vatican  was thrown across by me as some examples of what should not be the life’s statement. However we just could not agree, but she stressed that she may not display such ostentation but at the same time she could see nothing wrong if someone who is rich indulged.

The vulgarity of ostentation was something which she could not understand and disapprove. Perhaps it takes quite a bit of life to reverse her understanding and honestly feel different to people who are arrogant in their use of wealth.



Happy Kitten said...

Money earned easily is spent easily? Let them spend it I say..and foolishly, vulgarly. Maybe we should look away as long as they are spending the ill gotten wealth. No..there shall not be much for the future generation. This is what life has taught me. You and me respect money since we earn it the hard way and know it's worth.

And there sits Big B amongst the vulgarity!

rudraprayaga said...

I second you in this matter.Our predecessors by muscle power and some other illicit means conquered land and hoarded wealth which the successors lavishly spend as their birthright. But this very earth belongs to every one as air and water(now water is a private property).There is no natural demarcation in any of the areas. So called sapient man only has drawn his LoC. Poor labourers shed sweat and tears and bring profit for their self-declared masters,the latter while sleep in huge mansions the former, the real producer, in about-to-wither huts.

Even the Nature bleeds haplessly at some injustices and disparity prevalent here.Nothing can be done.The power is in some ruffians hands.You are cent percent correct Anil. Nicely narrated.

Mystic said...

Yes, time gives us experience and makes us change or firm our earlier beliefs. Hoping to understand your perspective someday. Quite a food for thought :)

Musings said...

@ Mystic,
Thanks. Yes time and maturity would change opinions, I suppose.

@ Happy Kitten
Yes inded.

@ rudraprayag
Thanks Good to see people holding the view as you have.

Insignia said...

I agree with you Anil. One doesn't accumulate wealth all alone; there is this sweat and blood of so many people; usage of natural resources and other parameters. What if mother nature said I am going to own you all and do away with you because you used everything mine?

But Anil, who are we to talk? They would say we are fox stating sour grapes. If one has the heart to consume the wealth all by himself without a thought to the nature, other fellow beings; thats vulgar. But yeah aren't all corporates, multi millionaires that way?

Musings said...

@ Insignia,

Yes, you are right. We may be accused of sour grape syndrome.
You know, the facade that we see of people are mask- they are mere facade. The real person is within and that gets exhibited in many ways and one is vulgar ostentation and selfishness.

Ashwini C N said...

I agree with what the other person you interacted with said. Yes, I might not choose to flaunt my wealth, but that doesnt mean they cannot do it right?

For instance, what I see as a luxury, someone might see as a necessity. They might be right/wrong, but that's just in our perspective. We need a pen to write, when a simple 10Rs pen can do the trick, but spend a fortune on that? Some people might be crazy about Cross and Mont Blancs pens and the higher brands, and gift such costly pens to show how much they value people. In their point of view, that cost is justified, for a common man it might not be :-)