May 9, 2003

Looking high and low

Yesterday I found twenty bucks on the floor. This must have been like the second or third time that I discovered money on the floor within the last couple of years and the funny thing is that this had never happened to me before in my life! When I was young, I used to hear about people finding money here and there all the time. I even remember one time when my brother, sister and I were being driven to school by my parents and we stopped at a railway crossing and my brother suddenly spotted a two rupee coin on the ground and got out of the car to pick it up. I used to wonder why that kind of thing never happened to me and now I’m beginning to wonder why this kind of thing is suddenly happening to me :p Is it maybe because I’ve changed where I look? Could it be that I’d been looking up at the sky all my life and I’ve suddenly started looking down at the ground more and that is why I discover money suddenly?

What does that actually mean in metaphorical terms if this were to be true? Most of my family would say that it means that I should give up looking at lofty ideals and look at hard reality in order to realize that I need to live in *this* world. Of course, I wouldn’t agree with that. I’ve never thought of money as something that you *had to* have. Of course, it’s nice when you need to buy something and you can afford it but then again, I can remember times in my life when all I could do was dream about certain things and not be able to buy them at all. I still remember the time I was in a government think-tank where most of the others were politicians or bureaucrats with lots of money and one of them was bragging about the Palm PDA he’d bought off the Net and was showing it to everybody (this was over five years ago before I left for the US BTW …) I wished so badly then that I could have one of those but since I couldn’t afford it, I didn’t bother about it. But one of the first things I bought when I got to the US and could afford it, was one of the early HP Handheld PCs – the 320LX :p

But I digress – I still do not believe in looking down at the ground just so that you can find riches if that does not bring happiness to you and those around you. Money is just something that we’ve come to set up in our minds as highly important and have lost sight of other more important things like love, happiness, compassion, honesty in the process. Yes, the person starving by the road without a meal or a roof over his head may disagree with me, or the person who needs to buy expensive medicine for their wife or daughter and don’t have the funds … or so many others in specific situations. And I can’t say they are wrong. I can only speak for myself and in my life, I’ve always had enough for my needs but the trick always is to be happy with what you’ve got because then you’ll still be look up at the sky for those lofty ideals. Or to paraphrase Mr. Micawber from Dickens’ "David Copperfield" (who put it so much better than I could), – "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery" :-)

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