Ramu kaka’s shop was always a delight to everyone of every age. I went there almost every day after I finished my office. A cup of tea there made me jazz up with energy. You cannot buy happiness but you can buy a cup of tea and it’s kind of the same thing, at least in the context of the poor people who treat is as the elixir which releases all their strain of the day-long hard work.
One day, after a long tiresome routine, I went there, took my tea and sat down on the table. I noticed a boy, about 11 years old, collecting out things from the garbage. He seemed so delighted as he picked up an airplane with a broken wing. After all, garbage to kids like him was no less than Gold! Holding the garbage bag in one hand and the airplane in the other, he came running as if he were the pilot of the broken plane.
Seeing all the tables almost full, he came and sat down on the table beside me. “what is your name?”, I asked him. With a sparkle in his eyes, he muttered, “Vishwa Samrat!”. I was dumbfounded.
He did not know what it meant. If he knew it’s meaning- King of the world- he would have a hard time believing it. I noticed, he was looking at the tea and I could not resist myself from giving it to him just to watch that half a circled smile on his face. “Do you go to school?”, I asked him again. ” I sit on the doorsteps of the class.”, he replied. It made me realize yet again, that the perpetual state of poverty lies solely in the lack of education which pulls these poor but innocent little children under the horizon even before they get to see the sunrise.
After finishing it, he wiped his face with a half-torn handkerchief that he had found and started walking. I again asked him, this time with a monotonous voice, “Vishwa Samrat, what is your dream?” He looked at the broken airplane as if someone is to snatch it away from him and announced, “I will become a Pilot”.
Dream! This is what distinguishes the poor from the rich. Rich people have desires, poor people have dreams. Desires can be fulfilled but, dreams need to be achieved. Moreover, rich people lack the most valuable asset, time! Poor people got it enough in some of the other ways, cherishing it with their families and spending it having meals together from whatever is collected in a day’s hard work. Hard work here reminds me of one more thing, a treasure in which the rich people have a very small hand, which is the ultimate goal of the day, a sound sleep after an era of struggle.
Quite an irony that a poor farmer can sleep with a calm soul even if he is having all his wealth in open and his farm being unguarded! whereas, the rich people despite having high-end security are vulnerable to some insomniac disorders. Why can’t they have a good night’s sleep even when they are ultra-protected? This question can only be answered if the elixir of happiness is found! which by no means lies in the materialistic life of the rich.
More often than not, poor people are made to give up against their dreams due to the financial crisis but does that stop them? No. Definitely not because this craving is a long one, it can only be satisfied when the desired goal is achieved. They say a satisfying life is far better than a successful life. Yeah! It indeed is.
Satisfaction is not merely an emotion for the poor, it is their compulsion I must say and it won’t be wrong even if I say that they have accepted it as their responsibility as well.
Whereas rich people see satisfaction as an obstacle in their pursuit of fulfilling desires, which in turn hinders their happiness to a greater extent! Consequently, a man who is ‘poor’ in material possessions many times is ‘rich’ in character.
Poor people have less but give more because they understand what need is. Having friends and family members who grew up poor and who worked hard to survive and to make both ends meet, their character is strengthened or made ‘rich’ as a result of it. As I talked about earlier, poor people have the biggest treasure with them, their dreams and these dreams don’t become reality through magic, it takes sweat, determination, and hard work to pursue them.
Here, poor people work for dreams while rich people make their money work for their desires! A huge difference, you know. However, God has gifted poor people in excess with extraordinary richness, something that we always glimpse in a poor person, which is above all the riches of the rich, something that cannot be expected from everyone, that is generousness!
The poor may have small pockets, but they surely have the biggest hearts. I don’t say rich people aren’t generous, they are but not more than what a poor man could offer. Being rich sometimes causes individuals to abandon their values and be blinded by the fact that there are others in this world who are not fortunate enough as they are and are in need of help.
Being poor makes an individual live more in reality. Such individuals don’t rely on material things to bring them happiness. Instead, they build great relationships with people. Over and above that, Poor people are more likely to notice, engage with, pay attention and empathize with other humans, compared to the rich which again is the witness of the poor people being richer than the rich.
The Mexican revolution is a very good example of how, when in tough times, poor families and friends stick together to help each other out. Recently, I came across this quote that “if you are in trouble or hurt or in need- go to the poor people. They are the only ones that’ll help- the only ones.” And this has turned out to be indeed true! I believe circumstances don’t distract us from the feeling of gratitude; negative interpretations about them do.
Vishwasamrat made me realize that, even though he wasn’t exposed to even the basic necessities of livelihood, he strived to follow a dream, which seemed almost unrealistic. This taught me a lesson, whatever circumstances you are fighting with, always strive to pursue big dreams instead of small realities! It’s poor peoples’ situation and circumstances that add more fuel to their passion.
On the other hand, rich people go by their desires with no fuel to their cravings. There are many lessons to be learned from a poor man’s life about what it means to be happy, to live a meaningful life, and the relatively minor role money and possessions play in such a life. And this fuel is what makes the poor people, richer than the rich!