I have been proud of my middle class upbringing for as long as I can remember. The middle class values has kept many of us grounded, yet providing enough of a launchpad to fly. Growing up I hardly had to face a clash of values with upper class, as I hardly knew anyone very rich. Unlike the popular opinion of middle class that they are always aspiring to move higher, I am of the firm opinion that, the best part of being middle class is the heavenly contentment that we grew up with. We did not have to struggle for basic means, and we hardly cared about what was available with the uber rich. In a way we loved what we had, and aspired for just a little more which was just slightly out of reach.
Most of the people I know have moved up a notch higher now. It could also be that people I now know, are those who are a notch up. I get to see a lot more people who are uber rich, I know what is available with them. World has changed so much that information of what people can aspire to reach is glaring into our lives from all means. We can buy them with a click of a mouse, we can get money to buy them with a click of mouse. There is a constant pressure to ‘upgrade’ or ‘upscale’ yourself from by peers, by media, by companies who want to sell, by one’s own family too. Consumerism in general is at an all time high.
Whats the trouble you may ask?.
My mind is still the same middle class. I guess it has changed a very slight bit, but I can guarantee you, it is not substantial enough. I still think twice before chosing a restaurant which charges any price more than the south Bangalore Darshinis, I stopped watching movies in multiplexes because the prices are just atrocious, I always buy my clothes when the prices are the least on online websites, I do not care about the brand names as long as I like the products, I choose to use the cheapest means of travelling, not over-caring for comfort, I dont think it is okay to buy a gift of any price based on who the gift is for, I also dont think it is okay to spend on items which every one else has, I think it is not ok to pay 200Rs for an ice cream, when the same is available for 30Rs, infact my favourite ice cream is Nandini because it is a lot more creamier than the expensive swiss brands. I don’t even want to get started on the ‘organic’ produce.
Being exposed to upper middle class, and lower upper classers means that I am constantly exposed to complex hurdles which are often against my own principles when it comes to money matters. The restaurants we choose, the toys we buy for our kids, places we go, entertainment we want, brands we choose. I just cannot agree with many of the things my peers do. It’s not like they care about my opinion, however the drift and colonization can be easily seen over a period of time.
I guess its not easy to stay middle, it is also not easy to kick the middle out of me.