Another days draws to a close. As summer approaches, the afternoons become uncomfortable, even in the air conditioned confines of the work place. As I step out for a cup of tea, I notice the late afternoon sun shining on one side of my face. I dread the month of May, as I do every year.
As I wait for my cup of tea, I notice a group of kids, probably going back from school. There is a clamor that fills the atmosphere as they stop off at the shop nearby. The kids are jostling against each other, now looking through the wares in the shop, now arguing about what to buy. It takes a considerable while before a decision is made, and one of the kids pulls out a few coins, in return for which he procures a handful of sweetmeats.
“For many years now, I have noticed how one of the kids has some money, and is usually in demand among his friends. And it is he or she who calls the shots”, observed the shopkeeper.
Rightly so; for though just about every kid in the group was trying to suggest as to what ought to be purchased, it was finally the one who dug into his pockets, who took the final call. Immediately after the purchase was done, the other kids were after him, vying for their share.
“I shall give each of you your fair share”, the little one, all of 12 declared. And as he was walking away, the other kids were in a hurry to keep up with him. One could see how the body language of the different kids had noticeably changed. The one who actually made the purchase now had a tone of authority in his voice, while the others had a subdued air to them. Schools are a microcosm; and to one who observes, they beautifully reflect interesting aspects of individual and collective human behaviour.
As I was leaving the shop, I couldn’t but help ponder at the shopkeeper’s observation. I wondered if in today’s world, money really is power, more than it probably ever was in the history of mankind.