The Richest Poor

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Every year, the Forbes magazine publishes a list of the richest persons in the world. The biggest billionaires are crowned with this honour. Then they become the objects of envy driving millions of ambitious minds to follow in their footsteps. Many of us have already been lured into becoming their disciples.
            But the tempting images of their ‘rich’ life are played up by the media. These images get glued to viewers’ eyes blinding them to the truth behind the scenes. I am reminded of a story here. Once a faqir needed money to build a mosque. He called upon the king of the town for help. As the faqir entered the palace, he saw the king begging of god, “O Lord! Bless me with greater riches.” The faqir turned round to hear it and was ready to walk away when the king noticed him and ran after him and asked, “What brings you here and why are getting back now?” The faqir said, “I had heard you were a rich man and could donate me some fund. But I see that you too are just a beggar. Then why to depend on you? I can directly depend on god.” It is a plain fact that these so called rich are always hankering after more. Ye dil mange more! Once while teaching my students, I said that Bill Gates (the world’s richest man then) must be the most tense person, one of the students responded, “All the tension is worth it when one has so much to fix it.” Well…
            In many cases this wish for more turns into a bottomless pit. No matter how much we pour into it, it remains empty. The more it is fed, the hungrier it becomes. In fact, it feeds on the feeder. A telling example of it is D. H. Lawrence’s “Rocking Horse Winner”. It is the story of a family that is always down with money crunch. The whole house is so haunted with it that even its walls are wailing “There must be more money”. The young son of the family can hear this wailing and wants to exorcise the house. By some bizarre power, he is able to communicate with his rocking horse that can predict the names of winning horses in horse races. The young boy’s secret is known only to the family gardener who is his betting partner. All the money that the boy wins is secretly passed on to his mother who is always grumbling about the lack of money. Eventually the boy gets delirious rocking his horse madly and dies. Many an innocent life has been thus ruined.
            What is this life if full of care/We have no time to stand and stare (William Henry Davies). Really richness costs dearly. The richest man of India has a retinue of twenty-two security guards to protect him. The very presence of such tight security must be so suffocating. Imagine, the richest man cannot breathe freely! Then there is the nagging worry of being outrun by the runner-up, which drives him to pile up more. The richer one is the bigger are one’s wants and the bigger one’s wants are, the poorer one is, isn’t it? The richest often have the biggest wants. Therefore, they can be rightly called the richest poor.

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