Money or happiness?

The theme of the blog is not about personal stories but I feel I have to share this.

I’m in India right now. The big festive season is going on. Needed some more cash. So yesterday, two guys in their early thirties or late twenties were ahead of me as I was waiting in line to use the ATM. They had some trouble working the system  so they told me to go ahead. I withdrew a relatively sizable amount. Just as I was wondering to offer my help with their own withdrawal, the older of the two asked me to help him out. I did. His withdrawal… well, only as matter-of-fact, was the minimum allowed. That’s about $2. Even by India’s standards that does not go far.

A moment in the city, from my recent trip to Kashmir, India

Of course I keep a straight face. Still, the guy on his own starts to jokingly say that the total balance in his account is $6 and even the $2 was transferred yesterday just for the festivities.  I smile. Then he turns to the guy with him and says now this party is gonna’ be from you tonight. I smile again, wish him happy holidays, and wave goodbye as the shiny sunglasses perched atop my head reflect the afternoon sun and I run off to my gleaming parked car.

I carry on with the tight day but with a post-it in my head telling me to make something of this. So the conclusion was not a breathtaking revelation, we all know it, but to see it personified was very moving. These were simple young men working very hard to make their cut. It’s not a mystery what two bucks can bring yet they were so brimful of enthusiasm and fun… with more genuine comfort than anyone else I had met with that day.

Where does money fit into life?  Little can mean a lot, and a lot can seem little. Happiness is up to you.


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