We asked an IIM alumni how does it feels to be poor and his answer will open your eyes!

The Answer by IIM alumni R Hareesh Kumar.
It is horrible. But when life is full of obstacles, you have two options.
  1. Stop worrying about them, don’t give a damn, find a way and move ahead.
  2. Embrace the misery, make it your strength and move ahead.

Either way, you move ahead. What you learn from that misery is what matters.
Luckily, I chose the latter. And I don’t regret it.

As I have stated in many of my answers, my parents were thrown out of their respective homes after an inter-caste marriage.

  • My dad’s mom still felt that she owned her son’s salary and paid a visit on the first of every month to take his salary away. She hated my mom because she brought no dowry. And the girl who was supposed to marry my dad promised a lot of money. It didn’t stop with that. She planned to get rid of my mom and employed my dad’s uncle (the one whose daughter my father was supposed to marry)  to murder my mom and throw her into a valley (it’s a kind of ghat, if you have been to Tirupati).  This man is the main reason I am alive today to write this answer.  He not only spared my mom’s life but also advised her not to live with my grandparents.
  • Even after my parents started living in a different town, my grandmother still came once in a month for the salary. And my dad loved her so much that he gave all of it.
  • My dad once developed peptic ulcer and lay writhing in pain for over a week. We all were waiting for the salary. I was a 3 year old then. As usual, my grandmother came for the salary. My mom and dad begged her to spare some money for his treatment. She refused and went away. We were poor but we never depended on others. My dad insisted on suffering for another month rather than asking someone for help. Luckily, my mom had a kiddy bank and we recovered Rs.150. We took him to the hospital and the bill came out to be Rs.700 (this was my dad’s monthly salary in 1992).
  • My dad stood up against his mom, stopped giving her the whole salary (a small allowance was given though) and realized he had his family to take care of.
  • This is where he started innovating. He was an accountant and my mom, a trained teacher who never got to practice. And it was a small village with a small school till 1st grade. And I had classmates who were 6 years elder to me. So, the private classes started. These students started getting better and we started earning money.
  • There started our good days. And they didn’t last long. As soon as they had some money,  they shifted to a town to provide me better schooling. We exhausted our  savings on the shifting and school joining expenses.

And we became poor again.
We couldn’t afford cable. I used to peek into my neighbors’ window whenever I heard some good song on TV and there were days when they shut the window on my face.

I loved dancing, went dancing practice and exactly a week before the event, I realized that my parents can’t afford the costumes. I became notorious as a free-riding dancer.

With the new pay commission,  things got stabilized once again and we had made some money. Now, my dad was planning to lend all our savings to some relatives.  So, my mom stepped in and bought a house. It was a hasty decision and the house needed a lot of modifications. We exhausted all our money on buying it. We were left with nothing. My dad took a loan, and we could afford a mason and two coolies. That wasn’t enough. My mom started working as laborer. I came back from school and carried bricks and mortar. On weekends, even my dad used to. That’s how we built our home.

My parents are awesome.They give us all we want today.  But back then, they were working really hard and every childish mistake of mine saw their entire frustration come out. The entire street used to be at my window to witness me crying in pain as leather lashed against my body. I still carry scars on my back.But I had to understand and not hate them. And I did. Most of my childhood was spent crying.

I ‘ll keep on writing. I have to put an end.

Though I was not treated like a prince, they gave me all they could. And they made me what I am today. I don’t even know how big my dreams were but I always sure their dreams for me was far bigger than my own.

So, I stand here today as alumni of IIM Ahmedabad,  in a good job, earning well and it’s happily ever after. There are many things but the answer got too long.

Also Check, The Story of the Girl who chopped 14 Inches of her Hair for A Cause That Will Shock You.


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