I have been living in the slums of Dharavi for three years now. For a guy who hasn’t seen or known poverty very well, this was quite a thing to do – to get a first-hand experience of living around poverty. I was born with a silver spoon and there was no way I would have done this had I not met Natasha, the girl from an international NGO that takes care of slum kids. She was the who changed my perspective. She was the one who planted the idea of seeing and feeling a life of poverty. It was, in fact, a challenge that she had given me and I was too naive to have agreed. But now that I think of it, I feel like I need to thank her for putting up that challenge for me.
Three years later, as I write this post sitting in the small verandah of my rented 1 RK room, I feel that I was lucky to have experienced this life. There is so much that I learned from this experience. I was very confused about how it would feel like living in poverty and now I know how it feels like. It is not bad at all. In fact, there are a lot of good things that you do not get to experience when you are not poor.
I was a student of economics and I know about the strongest currency in the world. In fact, I know about the changing world economy. I stay updated on the things happening in the finance world. That is a part of who I am. However, there is another part of me that I recently discovered. There is a part of me that is passionate and caring and curious.
I have started wondering if poverty is actually a bad thing. Is it right to label someone as poor just because they don’t have the things that the so-called “rich people” have?
Well, after some close interaction with the locals of Dharavi, I think I got my answer. Poverty is not about not having the things that can make you survive. It is actually about not having the basic human emotions that make you truly human.
You can actually live a happy life as a poor person than you would as someone who has a lot of wealth but not anybody to call his own. There is more love and unity in the slums than there is in the concrete jungles of the rich.
So, if you ask me whether I would choose to be a rich guy or a poor guy, I would choose to be a poor guy with a rich heart. That’s how I would be happy with my life. While I am still fascinated by shiny objects and things like knowing about the strongest currency in the world, I am more fascinated by the idea of sharing a meal together with my loved ones. I am fascinated at the thought of being close to my loved ones and living a life full of true happiness and joy.
Those were my thoughts about poverty. Tell me what you think about it in the comment section below. I would love to know your thoughts too.