During my childhood years, anything about the US charmed me. I was besotted by the photos of my aunt’s house( mom’s cousin) and all the goodies she brought to India. It was my dream to earn in dollars and own a huge villa with swimming pool and orange orchards in the backyard just like the one my mom’s cousin owned. To buy the beautiful stone studded satin or netted gowns that my cousin wore or that beautiful gold rose studs that my aunt had, the various designer nail polish bottles that I was gifted …….and I still cherish and value that beautiful peacock blue and green butterfly pendant gold chain that I was gifted by my aunt - these material gifts were what i cared and dreamt for as a little girl.
All those products with ‘Made in US or assembled in US ’ labels made me think that US is the ultimate destination for all things beautiful. I was obsessed with anything and everything that came with the US of A tag. As if this was not enough another of my mom’s uncle who had just returned from The US showed us the video of Universal studios, Disney land etc. This was enough motivation for the little girl in me to have dollar dreams.
So, when people asked me then, what is your ambition? I would say - An MS in micro electronics and to work in NASA or in a US blue chip company . That was my teenage ambition.
Many years later, Today, I have a US visa stamped on my passport, but it is no more my dream to earn in dollars. I don’t dream of owning a ranch house, island villa, visit to Disney land, swanky cars, private yachts, satin gowns etc.,. No grand desires like US brand or foreign branded clothes like DK, tommy Hilfiger, Versace or even our own Sabyasachi (though I follow him) or any expensive brand or things don’t attract me any more. I heart all things simple and buy economical ethnic products today. Like many things that change around, my dreams and priorities too have changed.
My thoughts, ideas and beliefs are all about Simple needs, calm frame of mind, peace, sound health, the affection , welfare and love of my near and dear ones is all I dream of. Contentment is all that matters to me. If i ran the competitive race, i might miss all these fortunes.
From his childhood, man has been made to believe that he could get whatever he wants with money. Sure enough, many of us run the competitive race to reach the top, amass money and power by pledging family happiness, health, personal expressions, sweat, toil and sometimes even blood for the success we get in return. All these money could get us the best of cots and beds but not sleep; Swanky villas and designer homes but not peace; the best of food but not digestive powers or good health; admission in premium universities but not education; pleasure trips to exotic Islands of the world but not happiness; big fat extravagant wedding but not a harmonious marriage.
Ironically, the greatest of life’s experiences are available free, in fact without any price tags or conditions attached. Irrespective of our materialistic or economic status, life can be a series of costless luxuries.
I am not so young anymore and the recent years behind me have taught me costless luxuries bring contentment than costly luxuries.
I know money acts as a means to my experience. Marvelling at the sunrise from the balcony of my house with a cup of tea or looking at the star spangled night is a costless luxury. It could turn into a costly luxury if I were to watch the sunrise from the southernmost point of india or sit in a gondola on a venetian canal . It does cost money to live in this world, but it is costless to feel the contentment,peace and make yourself feel on “Top of the world”.