Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Lifestyle inflation

Sometime back, Subra did a wonderful post on Lifestyle Inflation. For those who do not know the term, lifestyle inflation implies the increase in the cost of living and it is self inflicted. This is different from the normal inflation. The normal national inflation is the rise in cost of the thing/service over a period of time. Government, international scenes, weather, GDP, political scenarios and other various factors influence the national inflation. However, we ourselves are responsible for lifestyle inflation.

I remember, in one of the post, Subra gave an example for this: Consider a person X who has to travel around the world due to his job requirements. His company every time books him a business class tickets. He is habituated to the business class travel. Now, whenever he goes on a personal tour or a vacation, he will choose business class travel over economy class. The same person who use to travel by train now prefers only business class journey. This is lifestyle inflation.

The reason for this post is – I am myself guilty of lifestyle inflation expenses.



Anti-Hero

We all have heroes in our life. Some of us like Gandhi, Churchil, Hitler, Washington, Dravid or the Master Blaster. Heroes do play an important part in our life. Although, I agree with Subra when he says that you cannot be like your heroes, always. However, I must add that having heroes in our life helps. At least, I have that experience. When I say that I love SRT, I not only like his batting style but I also admire his dedication towards achieving excellence. He sets his own benchmark and then tries to break them again and again. Who can forget the century in world cup after losing his father. I can never match him in batting style or his level of dedication. However, I try to push myself to achieve something and have SRT as my idol for that. I do not want to say that, “whenever I am in a problematic situation, I try to think how would SRT approach this problem”. This statement would be a bluff and filmy. Noo.. Nahhh.. I do not do that. However, what I do is, I try to keep myself motivated. I cannot quantify what difference has SRT made on my life.

Having said all this, I also think that an anti-hero too plays an important role in our life.

Let me give you an example. My friend’s uncle is a very crooked man. His father trusted him and gave his ancestral property to stay. My friend and his family stayed in some other city due to government job of his father and stayed in a rented government house. The uncle took advantage of this situation. Over the period of time, with the help of local authorities, he changed the house owner’s name in the documents. The latest document shows the property being sold to him by my friend’s dad after paying certain amount in cash. This has resulted in a court case and the case is still going on.

Now, as the fate may have it, my friend was in similar situation few months back. He is staying in a rented apartment in Mumbai. He is living there from last 10 years. The owner is settled permanently in US and has given the POA to his brother. Over the years, the relationship was good between the owner, his brother and my friend. They rarely ask for any rental hike. They even do not check if my friend deposits the rent. It is just that my friend is honest and has SI to the owner’s account. The secretary of the building was aware of all this background. He proposed his plan to my friend. The secretary said that they can easily forge the property papers on my friend’s name. He himself being the secretary, transfer of shares on my friend’s name would not be a big issue. The other legal formalities could be managed by another society committee member who was a lawyer by profession. In return, my friend had to give them 10% each of the current property value. The deal was not bad. My friend would be owner of the property with just 20% of the flat value.

Instead of succumbing to the pressure, my friend reacted positively. He remembered his own uncle who did a similar thing and he knew how it feels. So he thought to himself, “I will not be like my uncle. I will buy house on my own and not by any crooked means”. This is what an anti-hero does to you if (and only if) you have some morals and integrity left in you.

I too have my own anti-heroes. They have done more good to my than SRT. Off-course, most of these anti-heroes are my friends and relatives. A girl who blows her money on shopping sites, a guy who bought Royal Enfield with EMI in-spite of having home loan EMI. Relatives who talk about buying Nexus ‘X’ or Xperia ‘Y’ or Note ‘Z’ like buying a pen or notebook. To be honest, I am awed by their ability to earn so much and spend so much. However, not all are earning to be able to spend. So that leaves them with the option of spending with borrowed money (aka. Credit Card and EMIs). People have started buying phones, honeymoon tours, TV and cameras on EMIs. Cool.

The next category is wife beating husband. In a country where women are supposed to be Saraswati and Lakshmi, wife beating is just so in-human, ridiculous, criminal, idiotic and hypocricy. They are my anti-hero. People writing on historical monuments or public places are my anti-heroes.

Reader’s views may be entirely different that those expressed above. I respect that and you are free to contradict me by commenting below.