Thursday, April 16, 2009

Life is tough.

Today i heard another incidence of americans experiencing hardships and the actions they take in dealing with it; the report was of a pharmacy employee who, upond being informed that he was no longer needed at the business, did what is becoming an alarmingly widespread and sought after solution: he killed two of his co-workers and then himself. This was in no way an isolated event. Ever since i came off the boat to america in 1999, i've seen numerous cases such as this, and they have sort of intrigued me because as it is well known, india is a poor nation. Wait let me rephrase - india has horrendous poverty, both in severity and prevalance. About 30% of people in india live on about 2 bucks a day. And its not even that they earn those bucks in a respectable work place; these are the people the world might have gotten a glimpse of in Slumdog Millionaire. People who get maimed - voluntarily getting a limb chopped off - to earn pennies at red lights, people who drive rickshaws in 120 degree heat and then have to haggle for pennies, people who sell kidneys and other organs in india to make ends meet.
Why am i going on a rant on state of poverty and poor in india? Because if there is one thing i have learnt from watching and observing these people is the resilience. Those 300 million in india realize that life is tough and accept it as an inevitable reality. Ive even talked to some of them and they show no aspiration for upwards mobility - they are just glad to survive. That is the most amazing realization i had about the poor in india - they dont live, they just survive, but do so in a seemingly conforming manner. And thats exactly what the americans are having a ver very hard time accepting. I see people from the detroit carmakers who got laid off whining and complaining on tv about lost of their jobs. I understand its unfortunate, but what i dont understand is how do people forget the most well known cliche all around the world: Life is tough,unfair, hard , or in words of one my favorite rapper Nas, "Life's a bitch, and then you die".
The above mentioned horrific incidents of americans failing to deal with life's problems in a rational way shows just how incomprehensible hardships can be for some americans. During the ongoing global economic crisis, started mostly by americans, one can easily see the fear, the panic on the white faces. I think it is the first time i have seen americans actually starting to worry. Ive also realized americans have always been hedonistic people; they like to enjoy every single of moment of life, and hey, theres nothing wrong with that, especially when its the richest and prosperous nation in the world. But for the first time, in our generation (americans did have plenty of hardships during wwII and later until early 1990s) I have seen the americans actually panic. For the first time, they are no longer obsessed in their usual consumerism, but actually saving and planning for future. Wow. I have to say i like it, in fact im enjoying the current recession in america. Maybe this will be the time they actually realize that buying crap over crap with credit - money most americans never have or had - is just downright unscrupulous and moronic. I see it as a correction, not a recession. I just hope americans dont stray again and put themselves in this situation again, but then again what is an american without that dream - ah yes, the great american dream. Get a house, couple of cars, laptops, ipods, caffe lattes, vacations in bahamas, christmas gifts, hd tvs, all the lavish, unnecessary objects that can be a status symbol - it will all be paid for eventually right? Hell im going to apply for some credit cards myself....That is why i consider myself lucky to have seen the way life is in countries like india for millions - its a rude awakening but at least you do become aware of the actual possibilities of life; you also learn so much about resilience, courage, relentlessness just by watching these people. I never ever had to face any kind of economic hardship, in fact we are well off in india, but just by seeing someone else in those shoes I definitely have a more realistic, maybe a bit cynical, grip on life. Thanks poor people, thank you so much.

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