Unexpected luxuries

I went to the wealthy farmhouse area called Pushpanjali Farms near the airport to drop my teen for a birthday party this morning. The host child wasn’t home, so we sat in the car and chatted, enjoying the sun and each other’s company. Finally, I had to leave for an appointment so I decided to drop my kid inside and leave.

The driveway was wide and lined neatly with exotic trees. Seven cars stood there in silent elegance, including a Bentley, a Mercedes convertible and two Range Rovers (my daughter actually whispered, “Don’t stare, mom,” as we walked in). The entrance door was about four times the size of the one we have at home. When a domestic help opened it with a polite smile, there was no one else to be seen inside the lavish living spaces inside. Just the foyer must have been the size of my entire flat. It was like entering a five-star hotel lobby, except this was someone’s home.

My daughter and I discussed this extreme disparity in lifestyle between her friend and us before she went in, and I was touched with her innocent enthusiasm for enjoying her friend’s wealth. I teased her, saying, “Aren’t many of you friends with her only because she is rich?” She replied, disdainfully, “In fact, she feels bad that people say such things. I like her for who she is. If she has a swimming pool in her backyard, then that’s great. But I would have liked her just as much if she lived in a one-bedroom flat in a dingy locality.”

I drove off with a smile, knowing my kid had her heart in the right place, and then about half a mile later, slowed down to observe a whole line of pedestrians and people who’d parked their cars, scooters and cycles on the side of the road. Following their gaze, I realised they’d all stopped to watch the airplanes land and take off. None of these guys must have ever flown in one, and nor were they likely to. Their intense concentration and enthrall in something that someone like me would totally take for granted moved me. I laughed out loud in amusement and looked at a landing Kingfisher with a new sense of wonder. Yes, it did look magical when I saw it from these people’s eyes. How did such a large, heavy thing manage to get off the ground at all?

For some of us, true luxury lies in palatial bungalows, pricey cars and an army of servants. For many others, it lies in the child-like enjoyment of the true wonders that life has to offer. Blessed are simply those who are able to count their blessings.


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