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.”