பொறுத்தார் பூமி ஆளுவார்.
That is a Thamizh adage transliterated as Poruthaar boomi aaluvaar.

It means that the one who is patient will rule the world.

I belong to a generation of Indians on whom patience was thrust upon. We simply had no choice in the matter. We had to wait in queues for just about everything. I distinctly remember waiting in a queue to purchase a token plate which would enable me to buy a limited quantity of pasturised milk once a day. If one did not have that, one had to compromise with adulterated milk supplied by a monopoly of milkmen. I also remember having booked for an HMT wrist watch and waiting for six months before it was delivered to me. People had to wait for years to get landline telephone connections and to purchase motorcycles and scooters besides cars. The less said the better about queues for booking railway and bus tickets and the planning that had to be undertaken months in advance to reserve tickets for both train and air travel. Such lives taught us patience and also value for things bought at considerable sacrifice.

The present day generation does not believe us oldies when we talk about those days. It cannot visualise those hard times at all because it is now a generation totally used to and demanding instant gratification. In other words, impatient for results. Gone are the days of plodding with the same employer for a life time of employment and retirement. It is rare nowadays to see some youngsters working in the same organisation for more than a few years!

Impatience, resulting in the desperate need for instant gratification, also results in debt of unmanageable proportions leading to stress at young age. In our times, we could not get loans to finance homes and durables, whereas now lenders are chasing prospective buyers with attractive schemes and instalment payment plans to trap them into the instant gratification trap and stress. Such lures even cover vacations!

The attitudes developed on the basis of such impatience manifests in almost all walks of life including the way the young drive nowadays. To state the obvious, such a value system also affects relationships and the way they are broken and new ones started clearly is indicative of a vastly different value system than the one that I grew up in,

Do I envy these young people? To be brutally honest, yes, to an extent, That extent is that things are now available. I will still not buy anything on hire-purchase and the three credit card issuers that I deal with must be very unhappy with me because, I use them more as a convenience than to repay on instalments. I do not envy their lifestyles and stress at all. I am willing to be patient.

Pravin has suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin and Shackman.

A Life Frittered Away!

Some times, just to be funny, I respond to the question “what do you do?” with “I spend my son’s money”. This is inevitably followed by the question “what before that?”, and to that, I respond with “I spent my father’s money.”

Recently, I just did it to a very serious minded person who did not catch the humour involved and commented “Ah, you have just frittered away your life, good for you.” I suppose that it was his way of being funny and I did laugh at that time but that comment has been working at the back of my mind for quite some time. Last week however, two get togethers made me resolve the issue, I hope, once and for all for myself.

The two occasions were: first, a get together with six colleagues from one of my pre-retirement employers with whom I had worked between 1970 and 1990. We had got together for lunch at a mountain resort an hour and a half’s drive away from Pune. My colleagues came from Mumbai.

The second was again a lunch get together but, this time with my classmates of 1965 to 1967 from the Business School. Here it was six of us, all resident in Pune with the exception of one who is only part time resident here as he lives in New York for six months of the year. Every time that he is back, we get together for a few times and this was one such occasion.

When you put the people involved together, including me the number turns out to be 12. None of us are below 65 and all except me are grandfathers. All of us are retired except for three who are in their own businesses, but who too are only part occupied with business matters. All of us have well settled children and all of us have done reasonably well in life and have the wherewithal to live well in our sunset years. We can afford to enjoy ourselves with travel, get togethers with friends and family and other interests.

All of us had started our working lives during the depressing Socialistic Pattern Of Society in India and are bemused at the modern youngsters complaints of frustration when instant gratification is absent. People like us who depended on the private sector for our livelihoods were villains to be suspicious of. Despite such backgrounds, all of us had grown in our careers and contributed to our societies in many ways, and continue to do so.

These two get togethers when we discussed so many personal matters amongst ourselves, clearly showed that we had not frittered away our lives.

I will shortly send you a link to the post NK. No Sir, I most certainly did not. I have lived a full life, served, loved and lost; succeeded and failed and, have built a life that I can proudly claim to have been an eventful and even joyful one. And just so that you learn that I too have read Thoreau, I have simplified my life to the extent that when I finally go, my son will have little to handle to effect closure.