Cut your coat according to your cloth

It is an undeniable fact that during the colonial era, life was not a bed of roses because people had to face a plethora of difficulties such as poverty, malnutrition, unemployment, poor health conditions and many other indescribable grim situations. But what was prominent in that phase of life was unity among the poor people of different religions, castes and ethnic groups. Because of rampant poverty, there was equality among people and envy had no place in such a cordial society. People were living in peace and tranquility. Jealousy, in fact, put the envious person’s health at stake. It is a common fact that man is a bundle of wants and the more he gets, the more he fishes for wants.

Despite insurmountable obstacles during that time, the poor did not renounce to grow because frantic efforts were deployed to come out of poverty without harming others.  Love, respect and relationships among neighbors were reciprocal, built on sound grounds. People were striving just to live with their minimum income and after satisfying their basic needs, a very small sum of money was kept for a rainy day.

It is to note that in the absence of industrialization, values were at their height. It was incumbent on elders and the kids alike to respect each other. It goes without saying that industrial development brings moral decadency in a society. When speed, stress and strain have an edge over people, definitely a chaotic environment is created, thereby giving a lingering headache to one and all. 

Alongside with rapid development in all walks of life, the lifestyle of people has likely changed in our country. Greed for money is already creating classes in our society. Each individual seems to make a big show of himself by demonstrating that he is better than others. Competition is taking place at almost all levels. An envy to put oneself in the shoes of others is creating a relentless competition, especially among the upper middle class.

Leading a cozy life is a dream for every family but before embarking on such a risky venture, they must cut their coat according to their cloth. Going beyond their means may jeopardize their current situation. Due to such competitive environment, the moneylenders do not hesitate to ensnare their poor victims. We must not forget about the ‘casseurs’ who had looted most of their clients in the past. 

The funny thing is that competition is taking place more or less in all aspects of life, whether in building a big house, to travel to expensive destinations, to dress in the best attire, to buy the latest car models and so on. One builds bigger just to show one’s neighbor that I am not lesser than you. If you possess a Toyota, your neighbor or relatives will likely buy a BMW. If perchance you get the opportunity to go to La Réunion, your rival will definitely choose a far-flung destination just to leave you behind. The competitors have become snobs without realizing at what expense they want to ramp up their status.

Competition in its wake encourages consumption. It is the state which has to enhance importation of luxurious goods which ends up in the erosion of our foreign currencies. In this situation of economic crisis, consumers must avoid excessive buying.

In the context of global economic uncertainty, it is wise not to squander huge sum of money on unnecessary items. Due to the payment of bonuses, billions of rupees will be disbursed by the government before Christmas and the end of the year. Lavish expenditures on goods and wants will take place. Definitely, when inflation will spike, prices of commodities will skyrocket. The choice is with the consumers whether to adopt austerity measures or frugality. A saying which will suit the actual situation is, “eat less, produce more”.

Cassam Tupsy