Saturday, February 19, 2011

40$ a week

How many of us could imagine a life with 40$ a week? And I am saying this, with respect to just the basic needs, not including the luxuries, of course. I don't think many of us can.

You might think of why I chose the figure of 40, but there is a reason to it. A new reality show called "Secret Millionaire" is going to air soon. I don't know how successful the show will be. But I sure liked the idea of millionaires being able to see what 70% of the world lives like. The idea is to allot 40$ to every millionaire and send them away to localities where people really live under such conditions. It is interesting to see the emotional trauma a lot of them go through due to the living conditions. Some are upset due to the lack of hygiene, whereas others worry about eating healthy food. And it makes you think that even such basic needs become luxuries, when you have to ration your resources and plan for the next day.

I have seen people worry about the future, pondering over if they have enough savings or not. But when you look at some people, you realize that one day at a time is the only future they can afford to think of. It is a very disheartening but real truth of our society today; the cheapest things are the unhealthiest. Do you think when you are on a budget, you would splurge on exotic fruits and vegetables, just because they are healthy or will you find something cheap that just fills your stomach??? That is the problem, everybody talks about lack of exercise and how not to get obese. But are the big companies thinking about what they are forcing people to eat??? I don't think so. The cheapest food is bought from fast food joints, that are famous for being unhealthy. So what should people do? I don't think health should be a luxury, and if it is, we are seriously heading in the wrong direction. Things are only going to get worse from here.

I haven't even started talking about the medicines and healthcare products. If you look at the cost of basic medicines for minor ailments like cold, headaches, etc., there is no way a 40$ budget could fit that. Who is to decide that which people deserve healthcare and which don't? It is a sobering thought and the deeper I delve into this, I am surrounded by darkness and grief as to what I did to deserve a good life, as compared to some others.

If I concentrated on that, this topic would be aimless and it would be better just to stop here. But that is not what I want to do. I want to mobilize myself and maybe others as to what can be done. Everybody can't always help others monetarily, whatever constraints they may have, but you can always share your time and use it to benefit others. A lot of the organizations that help people in need, are not as short of money , as they are for volunteers. A lot of the times, sorrow and grief can be lessened by just somebody to hold your hand, smile with you and share your thoughts. A deficient heart is more painful than a deficient stomach. Everybody needs hope, and that is one thing that doesn't cost money. Spreading cheer and hope could be the easiest way to help out others in need.

Instead of feeling guilty later, I would want to look back and proudly say that I could help someone. And it doesn't have to be a lot, even if you help one person, you get back so much from that. I want to start with one person at a time. I want to try, that even if health and medicine have become luxuries, smiles and hope don't. Some years back, I was naive enough to want to be very rich and successful, so that I could give more. But over the years, I have realized that however rich a person becomes, their needs increase proportionally. Charity cannot be weighed in terms of money, it has to be weighed as a matter of the heart. Only then, can we start channeling our thoughts in the right direction. It was 2 ladies Ellen and Helen who run an organization called "Love Kitchen" and feed almost 2000 people, who remarked that love could be in the form of food, a smile or a hug. That struck a chord with me and I saw that you just have to be ready to give what the other person needs, and for that you don't always have to be rich.

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