Condemning the Poor - A Sense of Privilege

Over the course of the last week, two incidents occurred on Facebook. Simple status updates, and sharing of links relating to the poor, and working class of this nation, led to comments by some people, which nearly drove me up the wall. According to some (who incidentally belong to the upper class society) 90% of our nation's people are lazy, blood sucking, stab-you-in-the-back individuals, looking for a free meal, and a free life."

These comments were directed at the class of people who for the most part:

1. Work for below minimum wage
2. Are laborers, maids, sweepers, factory workers, cooks, drivers, tailors etc.
3. Are uneducated
4. Are dirt poor
5. Receive little or no benefits from their employers
6. Cannot afford healthcare
7. Cannot afford to educate their children
8. Often cannot afford to feed their children
9. Have almost no rights in the workplace
10. Are treated as inferior beings

Because, they are prisoners of birth.

So, let me tell you how much some of the other 10% contribute to this country.

1. They own their own businesses
2. They employ laborers, maids, sweepers, factory workers, cooks, drivers, tailors etc.
3. They are educated
4. They are rich
5. They will never be poor, as long as they have the poor working for them
6. They can afford healthcare, and anything else they desire
7. Can afford to send their kids to private schools, where most remain average or below average students
8. Can afford to let their kids waste an entire McDonald's meal after eating one french fry.... Daily.
9. Have every right anywhere they go, because they abide by no law except their own
10. Demand respect and often to be treated as royalty

But, let's not leave it at just 10...

11. They don't care that their private businesses do not follow labor laws, and that their staff is paid below minimum wage.
12. Their maids, cooks and drivers can usually be found working 14-15 straight days with a day off after said days are complete. These same maids and drivers, are on call 24/7 and often go without a day off for months at a time, because things would fall apart if they left.
13. They are incapable of opening a car door themselves, but think nothing of their 7 year old servant boy mopping their 14 room houses.
14. They consider a cheap cotton jora gift to their staff, and or 200 rupees for Eid as "taking care of them as if they were our own family."
15 They're not opposed to loaning their staff money, for their medical needs, but will deduct it from their pittance of a salary "to teach them some responsibility."
16. After they do that, they'll spend the day shopping for that perfect outfit which costs 20,000 rupees.
17. They will lie if they have to, to protect their businesses, and gain credibility.
19. They expect and demand a life time of gratitude for their "generosity" in granting the poor employment.
20. And, they will constantly moan about how those same people are so lazy, and always ready to stab them in the back.

It is difficult to not be outraged.
It is difficult to not want to bitch slap them from here to hell.
It is very difficult to fight them while exercising respect and calm.

I admire the people who do it. They have the patience of saints. 


Friendship, Social Barriers, & All That Crap!

In the last few weeks, I've had some interesting conversations with various people, regarding friendship. Not one to give it too much thought, since I've always applied the theory "either someone is your friend, or they're not" when it comes to all the friendships I've ever had or continue to have. Now, I can't help but ponder about it, as my kids have both reached the age where they've begun to choose their own friends, without my encouragement.  I've always chosen my friends wisely, or rather chosen them with what I consider some wisdom after a few nasty experiences in my youth. 

Some people can be strange about friendship, and the views I received recently left me a bit disconcerted. Class, standard, religion and money seem so important. I watched my husband get ignored and treated like less than nothing in the company of "friends" I was reunited with after five or six years. A lot of them probably deemed him unworthy of their time, and respect because.... He's a teacher by profession? And, chooses to work and support his family, instead of jumping from one business venture to the next with lightning speed, and no purpose? Yet, they fawned over me, like I was the prodigal daughter returning home. 

I don't take offense to that, because people are what they are. But, there will be no more reunions.

And, I can't stand "in your face" friends. With their constant need for interaction, get-togethers, fun, fun, and more fun. It simply bores me. I was once firmly fixed into those types of friendships, and I found them shallow. Then, there are the one sided friendships, I for some reason have mainly had with women... I look back on those with quite a bit of disgust, because my goodness, did they waste a ton of my time, incessantly talking about themselves, their problems (of which they had plenty each day), and never giving the slightest heed to the advice they begged me for. I was honored with a few seconds of their interest in me, and my life, before being completely dismissed as unimportant. It amused me, and built in me an aversion to women who never seem to have a grip on their lives. 

Last night, I found I have much in common regarding friendship with someone, who from our first meeting over a year ago, I clicked with almost effortlessly. It didn't matter that we met up after months of planning to meet up, even though the distance between our homes is probably not more than 11/2 mile. It didn't matter that her two kids were running in circles around us, while we enjoyed a long awaited Margarita night, husbands and all, because it wouldn't occur to us to exclude them, and opt for "Coffee at Espresso" instead. 

I stopped after only two (but pretty strong) ritas, because I felt a happy buzz I haven't felt in years. The buzz which comes when you are your most relaxed self. I ate like a pig, and I eat like a bird in public otherwise. 

A few hours before that, I sat on the floor of the home of a person, who doesn't own a couch, or any other furniture besides two metal cupboards. They served us food which they could ill afford... I couldn't stand to see the gratitude in their eyes, that we felt they were worthy of a visit from us. I don't see why my children shouldn't visit and play with their kids out in the compound, with sticks and an old rubber ball. 

They're not ready for me to withhold encouragement, and my opinion on their choice of friends, which at present is nothing more than what is acceptable in the little society they're a part of in school. 

They will not be encouraged to only have "Christian friends" because "that's what they come from." It was how I watched people raise their kids in the small community I belonged to. I found it ridiculous from the start, and hypocritical that they still boasted about having friends "from all walks of life" while never having the slightest bit of respect for them on the inside.

I don't refer to my Muslim friends as "Mozzies." Neither do I "keep them at a distance." Diwali is not celebrated by "a bunch of people who are crazy enough to worship thousands of gods." Neither are Parsis' "weird about their burials." Or, Urdu speaking Christians "not acceptable to attend Christmas midnight mass with us English speaking folk."

Yes, fuck the barriers, is what I intend to teach my kids.