The small boy stopped filling the sack hung on his back with sellable ‘kachra’, looked up and saw another boy of his own age pull his father towards the roadside kiosk, pleading, ‘Buy me a chocolate.’ His sweating father meanwhile was watching the owner of the kiosk happily sitting under a fan and counting money while talking to some salesman in a tie and twirling an expensive looking pair of shades. The salesman wasn’t bothered about the kiosk owner but was thinking of the job application he had personally given to the VP of a large hotel. And was the VP giving any thoughts to this salesman? No, he was more interested in running to the VIP who he had just sighted entering the hotel. The VIP was thinking about…

Well, let them all remain frozen with their actions. The only real thought they were probably having was, ‘How do I reach there? How do I get rich?’


The creamy layer.

So is this all there is to being rich? Just more money? No… just more money is just that, more money, and nothing else. Being rich is a lot different than having more money than someone else. And the most surprising thing is that whatever we are, wherever we are, we are all rich in some way or the other.

‘Well, what you’ve just written is difficult to agree to,’ said Specky, ‘unless you tell me more about that rag-picker you mentioned in the first line. How can anyone call him rich?’

I said, ‘Imagine there are three rag-picker kids and one of them manages to have a much larger haul one day. He exchanges his haul for more money and for that one day he will surely walk with that identifiable swagger that the Sheikhs entering Harrods have.’ We discussed the rag-picker for some more time and concluded that feeling rich was generally relative and has no bearing to the amount of wealth that a person accumulates.

So yes, we’re all free to feel rich… and why not? Isn’t the world full of wealth? It is our world after all. The natural resources are all ours. And why just the mountains, rivers, seas, beaches, forests, and the sky… what about the warmth of a hug or the emotive energy in a handshake? Yes, I feel richer when I get up early in the morning and watch yet another glorious sunrise… or when I hear birds twitter excitedly… or when a toddler looks towards me and just smiles… or even when I switch on the radio and listen to a song that makes me go happily tumbling into a thrilling moment from my past.


It is so easy to call myself rich.

So what else is there that helps me be rich? Now, come on, don’t you dare tell me to have some ‘rich’ food… I’ve already added an extra twenty kilos, so my reply will be:

Let me be trim, let me be slim
If being poor helps, I’ll call poverty, prim

Right now words like trim, slim, and prim are full of rich dreams for me. And if you wish to call them pipe dreams, go ahead and call them that and I’ll happily accept because after all, a pipe isn’t a peepa (Punjabi: a large container) and, by the way, doesn’t this example tell us about the richness of a blog post when languages converge to explain a concept? So, being rich spreads to language and the expression of thoughts as well.

Abundance is the word that makes us all rich… so if your vocabulary is large enough, you’re rich… or if you contribute meaningfully to discussions, you’re transforming it into a rich debate… and listen, we Indians live a life of rich ‘nukkad’ debates, don’t we?

I really don’t understand why most of us feel that only money makes us rich. It doesn’t. Look at the rupee getting disrobed by the dollar every other day. What is 500 to a Britisher, is more than 50,000 to us… so if a monthly salary of 50,000 makes an average Indian feel rich, getting 500 GBP in London will send him hurtling into a depression where words like ‘splurge’ would cease to exist.


Being rich is more than just having money.

Now if I tell you that my personal library at home has more than 5000 books, will you let me call myself rich? Well, let me ask you: ‘If one book has approximately 2 lakh words, how many words do I have waiting to be read and caressed?’ A mind-boggling number, I’m sure… and one that will surely catapult anyone into any ‘rich’ list.

Specky had been reading what I was writing, and at this point, said, ‘Can you list a few actions or moments or things that have made you feel rich?’

I said, ‘This shouldn’t be difficult. I’m afraid we all have hundreds of moments and actions that have made us feel rich.’ Some of those actions and moments that made me feel rich:

Sitting with my books all around me and the feeling that I have the power of the thoughts and strategies of hundreds of writers and thinkers makes me feel richer than just being rich.

Writing a blog post makes me feel rich… and I know this is because I don’t try to pilfer sentences and paragraphs from any other post. This is one kind of wealth that I know I create all by myself.

Every comment on my blog makes me murmur: ‘Here is another heart that is happy’ or ‘Here is another mind that is appreciative of what I’ve written’… so even this kind of virtual wealth makes me rich.

Yes, every little prize or accolade won in contests do go on to add to the richness of my memories. They will all be moments that will come tumbling back whenever I am sad and will make me smile. Can mere money do that?

Let me reveal here that the raita that I prepare is heavenly… and I know this and I love what I prepare. But when Specky announces to guests that raita is my speciality and no one else in the world can prepare this dish better, I feel like the richest man on earth!

I know that this kind of list is going to be unending… after all being rich is as easy as your ability to spread smiles around you. And so, I’d say we’re all in the rich creamy layer, aren’t we?


Indispire Edition 15… on indiblogger

Indispire_Edition 15

Indispire_Edition 15


Arvind Passey
01 June 2014