>Last night The Guy and I dressed up in our pretty party clothes, got into our car and headed to our friend’s place for a Diwali do. On the way, it dawned upon us that we hadn’t got them any gift. So we stopped at a shop to pick up a box of chocolates. We ended up buying a piece of crockery instead – not very expensive but very presentable indeed! And while the gift was being painstakingly wrapped, the conversation with the friendly shop owner veered to the erratic stock market, the impact on the fortunes of millions of people and Diwali. We rued the state of the economy and the effect of the recession on various industries, we commented on the cut-throat competition at our work place and his, we sympathised with the shopkeeper next door who had to shut shop because of dwindling finances and tough competition… And then The Guy and I paid for our purchases, got into our car and drove off to the party at a swanky apartment in a posh locality where the hostess had brought out her best china, silverware and treated us to her culinary expertise.
All I’m trying to say is that it took us precisely as much time to forget about the sad state of the economy as it took us to step out of that shop. Five minutes later, we were too busy enjoying the good things of life to care about how the recession was affecting us.
Conversations about the rollercoaster ride that the Sensex has taken so many investors on keep coming up every now and then. The Guy checks every few hours how many points the Sensex has dipped or soared, never ceasing to be amazed by its downward trend. Newspaper headlines remind us to be wary of the times ahead, though in not so many words. And yet, we continue to live like nothing’s wrong with this world.
I hear the markets are deserted despite Diwali being around the corner. But I’m still heading to the market every other day to buy gifts for family and friends, to shop for new clothes for the festival season, to indulge in fancy diyas and candles. I’m attending parties every single day: food trials at upcoming restaurants, pre-Diwali bashes, cards parties, grand first birthday celebrations, late nights, more invitations to more fancy parties… It’s almost as if my life’s insulated from all that’s happening in the real world. I pretend every morning that work is still the same when I know that it may have changed irreversibly though that may become evident only six months later. I like to believe that nothing has changed yet.
It’s not as though the rate of inflation doesn’t bother me. It’s also not like I have saved enough to see me through a lifetime of financial crunches. It’s just that I don’t have an option but to go on with life doing what makes me happy. And is there anything I can do to make things different? At work, I’m giving more than my hundred percent, but I can’t wish back the money we’ve lost in mutual funds, can I?
I cannot be eternally bothered about these things just as I cannot be eternally bothered about when the government will finally take away my house. When they have to, they will and I know I’ll be able to do nothing about it then just as I’m able to do nothing about it now.
I think about these problems with a heavy heart because there are some problems of life you cannot resolve by yourself. And they are the worst, because they leave you feeling so helpless. But if I have to make a choice between feeling helpless and feeling happy, I choose the latter. I cannot stop living the way I do for fear of what the future might hold for me.