What is it like to be Poor!!!


Too lengthy. Just read the sentences/words in bold if you don’t have the time/interest.

June 2007: I secured a seat in one the finest engineering colleges in India. The fact that it was in my home town was an added advantage. I was over the moon, I got what I strived for. We were a family of four. My mother was a house maker, dad worked in a private auto-mobile company and brother was studying in the seventh standard.We lived in a small apartment, I had a pentium 2 computer and my dad had a two wheeler. We were a happyhappy family.
We were a happy and self sufficient family overall.

August 2007: My classes started and Computer Science was what I always wanted to study. First month in to the college, I made new friends, learnt so many new things. It was amazing.

Meanwhile, my dad had a very good colleague, me and my brother called him Watermelon Suresh Uncle from our childhood( I don’t remember the exact reason for the prefix). Dad and him had been working in the same company from 12 years. They were  the best of friends.

September 2007: I started feeling insecure when I used to hang out with my friends, everybody had a bike and “branded clothes” were the attribute with which people were being judged( or at least I felt so). I placed thedemand for a two wheeler and you know, money to buy “branded clothes”. My parents fulfilled everything. I had a bike, three new branded jeans and four branded t-shirts. All n the span of one month.I still remember going to college wearing my brand new Levi’s jeans thinking everybody will notice and admire. Apparently, except the gang which always talks about branded clothes, nobody gave a damn.

November 2007: I seemed to have everything, I attended classes, my longing for branded clothes was reduced. But wait, I didn’t have a touch screen phone. I raised a demand, this time I had to argue. My parents were reluctant. How could they be? I had do all sorts of melodrama to get it approved. Yes, I got a touchscreen phone.

Jan 2008: I was happy, but wait, my computer was too old for an CS undergrad who was getting good grades.I wanted a laptop. You know, all the cool guys in the college have one. I raised a demand, this time, the answer was a flat NO. I knew i was demanding too much. So, what next, after days of pleading, my dad agreed to buy me one after two months. I decided to “manage” for those two months with my Pentium.

Feb 2008: It was getting difficult for my dad to mange all new  expenses. He decided to change his company for a hike. He moved into one more auto major, and things were fine. He liked the new company. I even got a chance to visit this company.

April 2008: As promised I got my new laptop. Yaay. This had a graphics card too. I loved playing Need for Speed Most Wanted on this. My studies got a little affected by my gaming,

Fast forward

Here comes the twist
Dec 2008: Remember Suresh Uncle? Well, dad had lost contact with him after he switched the comapany. So, Mr Suresh had taken a loan of 50,000 INR in 2005, the loan was supposed to be for five years. And guess who provided the surety for that? Yes, you got it right, my dad. Apparently Uncle had only six EMI’s and the interest was getting accumulated, Dad gets a notice to home. He tried to reach his once closest buddy. He couldn’t. He was absconding from the company from three months. After a full month of rigorous search, we finaly found out where his wife and children stayed( they had shifted to another house). But it was of no use, they said they had disowned him because of his bad habits and they had no clue about his whereabouts.

The EMI was too much, and interest getting accumulated every month. My father could, in no way pay the instalments.How could he, when it was even more than his salary.
We sold all our jewellery and my bike, we somehow afforded to meet ends for two months.

There was one thing which was worrying me, my college fees and my brother’s school fees. I knew it was impossible. I applied for aneducational loan, and got it.( I still remember the face of the bank manager).

My fees is done. What about my brother’s, what about the remaining instalments?
My parents had given me everything they could. I felt it was my turn now. Imade a decision, to join a BPO. My family did not approve of it. They were planning to sell our small apartment, which was disastrous according to me. ( The money obtained would not be sufficient). After a lot of persauation, I joined a BPO, I explained my problems to the HR and they put me in the night shifts.


From May 2009 to August 2011 I worked for 9 hours in the night and went to college during the day. It was the toughest phase of my life.
I slept precisely for 3 hours, extending till 4 or 4.5 hours if you could include sleeping in my cab during my travel to office.

I had many things to take care of. I knew I had to study harder. I knew my grades matter the most. I wanted to get placed in a good company.

Some days I just felt like giving up college, I wasn’t able to handle it anymore. I requested my manager in my company to schedule my weekly offs only in the weekdays. I’m glad he agreed, this made me give entire two nights for my studies. I never told any of my lecturers or colleagues/manager about my situation. I did not want any unfair advantage over others for anything. I still remember the night when I finished a whole data structures book.

I got promoted at my office It was going very good and I considered having a career in the BPO industry.

Some days I did not have anything to eat. Mom used to prepare in the morning, but I would wake up late. I was mostly on 9PM to 5AM shift, I reached home by 5:45 or 6, sleep at 6 15 and get up at 8 45. College was at 10, so I had to leave home by 9 30. Sometimes I would not get up at 8 45, I would extend till 9, which gave me no time to pack my food. Mom used to leave home at 8. She had started teaching at a nearby primary school. I found everything near my college costly. I used to just take 5 buns for 10 rupees and eat them. (My “branded clothes” friends did offer me a lot of monetary support in terms of canteen, lunch etc but I declined all of them). Buns are healthy. I used to drink coffee on some days. I was literally out of every friends gang in our college because I had no time to hang out.I used to sleep if some class got cancelled.

One day, I applied for a leave from the office. My manager was surprised since it was my first leave since I joined. I prepared my resume and took my dads old income tax file and put all my certificates inside it. I failed my first three interviews, in the technical round. I couldn’t attempt the fourth company. Fifth,rejected after HR. Sixth, not even first round. I came home and cried. I did not know what to do. BPO? I was getting 16,000 INR per month. My mom tried to console me. She fed me that day. I still can’t forget that day.

My resume was not shortlisted in the seventh company. Eighth company it was.
I got placed in one of the best companies that came to my college.

I am happily working now, all loans being cleared, dad bought a car recently. But I still use the same laptop which my father bought. It’s too old for somebody like me( haha, just kidding).Brother is doing his engineering in the same college as mine. My marks cards are in the same file till date. Our apartment hasn’t changed, nor our strength as a family.

Effect of this on my current life.

  • I get a lot of time to sleep now, but I don’t sleep. I utilize my time in doing something useful for the society. I clean the drinking water facility near my apartment every week.
  • I never waste money, not even a single buck. I don’t pay any beggars. I buy food and give it to them. 10% of my salary is used in this regard.
  • I use a basic phone(the touchscreen samsung is with my bro, and yes, it still works). My colleagues ask me to at least buy a phone which supports internet, but I never the need.
  • I do not have an account in any of the social networking sites. I feel, they are a waste of time. I joined Quora after I saw one of Oliver Emberton’s answer on productivity.
  • I avoid eating at restaurants, I try to manage with noodles/bread whenever I’m out. In some rare situations, I try to find the cheapest restaurant possible.
  • I call up all the people who have helped me through my tough times once every month to keep in touch and to thank them.
  • My family has been my greatest support. From a spoilt brat to what I am now, I owe a lot to my family. We go to the temple every Friday to thank god for giving us the strength to come out of the toughest phase of our life

I want to convey the following things to young people out there:

  • Your parents are your biggest support. Never trouble them. They always think for your good. Obey them.
  • Don’t get carried away by “show off” friends as I did. Branded clothes, bikes, fancy phones, all these things do not matter.
  • Spend money wisely. If possible try to open a savings account and save your extra money there .

I had tears in my eyes while writing this, it’s 2 AM in the night, life teaches you lessons, sometimes the hard way, I’m proud to have learned it.

I’m writing it anon because I don’t like Social attention. I hate it. Suresh Uncle, if you are reading this,I would thank you, for you were the reason I changed, I have become a better human,