It was a huge ad in the newspaper, not just a page, but two; it showed pictures and prices of scores of items that were going at a discount. There were beard trimmers going at two hundred and forty nine bucks, vegetable cutting machines for less than five hundred, air-conditioners going dirt cheap, they said, T-shirts at one ninety nine, and cricket bats starting at two fifty!
Spectacular I thought to myself! It’s a real deal, said my greedy, bargaining mind.
“You’ve got every one of them!” whispered my common sense.
Yes, I had all of them, most in working condition, except the beard trimmer which needed a new set of batteries, and what I didn’t have I didn’t need!
I mean I don’t think I’d be able to do much more to my face with the face massager offered at two hundred and fifty, and how many more almonds would I be able to eat, even if they were from California, as the ad said, before I would hear my wife grumble I ate too much between meals, and that’s why I was so skinny!
Yet, I stared at the ad again and again, wondering why I shouldn’t take part in the lucrative deals, deals and deals offered.
The other day I’d seen a neighbor placing some sofas and dining chairs on his terrace. “They seem good!” I said. “The wife’s fed up with them!” he said. “Are they broken?” I asked. “They’re out of fashion!” he said.
I sank into one of the chairs, “Very comfortable!” I said. “Well she isn’t with them!” he said with a tone of finality, “And I got my bonus yesterday!”
I looked at the poor chairs as they stared back at me, “Thrown out because of a bonus!” they seemed to cry.
A few years ago, I was at an American museum where I read a document by Benjamin Franklin in which he called on the American people to build a nation, using hard work and thrift! Yes thrift; not the spending of money on objects which looked a little newer and fancier than what you had but by developing the quality of using money and other resources you had, carefully and not wastefully!
I remember walking into the house of an old couple, who’s son in the US was an eminent doctor, and who’d asked me to visit his parents in India. “You live a very spartan existence!” I said looking round their sitting room in surprise.
“We’re more than happy!” said the father, “And maybe the money we’ve saved on the unnecessary helped us fund our son’s studies! He or we, have no loans to repay!”
I turn away from the beard trimmer and vegetable grinding machine seductively glancing at me; quite a bargain what? But I know will destroy my peace of mind, later! Just then a call comes from a village in Orissa, “Sir, there are people starving here, can you send some money?”
“Yes!” I say, as Benjamin Franklin and the old couple nod approvingly..!
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