City lifestyle is one that seems abundant in resources. It seems, those who live in tier one cities can afford more than others. However, there’s a blind side to it which we have more or less chosen to ignore. The costs of maintenance.
Whether you have an EMI to pay or not, there is a certain price you’ll have to pay or Oder to stay in a city. These costs accumulate due to various factors. They may include your status, number of family members, your desires and aspirations, ambitions and even the city you live in!
The costs of Maintenance
The costs of maintenance applies only to us humans. All animals seem to enjoy the planet for free except us. We don’t quite get the grasp of the costs of maintenance as long as we live in a joint family and more so, when we are being taken care of. Probably, that was the reason tha in the olden days, families lived together. But, when we live independent of our parents, the burden is felt. We begin with the necessities such as home and home decor, utensils, home Electricals and electronics and a house help who can help you keep your house in order. Then, there are the luxuries such as a top end automobile, high end phone, big screen television, shopping in multiplexes, dining out, movies, and such other luxuries that are much more than what we really need!
The costs of maintaining these what we accumulate only increases. For example; The monthly costs of your mobile service operator service, the cost of maintaining your monthly television subscriptions, your house help, are to name a few.
Then comes your passions and hobbies such as painting, trekking, sight seeing, photography, videography, blogger, and so on. All these too have their costs of maintenance. As our possessions grow, we also need to buy storage to secure them.
And, if you did not know, which is highly unlikely, the costs of maintenance in tier one cities is way higher than in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
I was in Mysore recently. I saw some nice fabrication work in my friend’s neighbour’s house. When I enquired the costs of the works, it occurred to me that the costs were 60% cheaper in Mysore, compared to the same work done in Bangalore. Everything is more expensive in a tier 1 city.
The Consumer Economy
We live in a consumer economy where producing and procuring is encouraged. The more you procure and accumulate, the better the economy. The loop of produce and procure must not end in order to keep the economy healthy. Such a society of produce and procure can only lead to higher expenditure and which creates a sense of frustration and desperation to earn more money to acquire even more of what they desire. If desire dies, then economy dies. So, the loop must be kept alive and this desire, drives the price per hour of service and even the price of commodities.
In the digital age, it is monthly and annual subscriptions that keep you wanting to earn more to maintain them.
Costs of Maintenance and Health
Living in the city costs you your lungs, heart, liver and your pancreas. Long working hours, late night work schedules, to fund your lifestyle takes a toll on your health. As individuals, we only look at settling in the cities we work in because, it offers us higher salaries. What is not evident is the cost of living in these cities.
I was born in Bangalore, raised here and I continue to live here. In fact, we have lived here for 3 generations and yet, I don’t own a house of my own. It’s foolish to pay through your nose, knowing very well that you are paying 60% more than what it’s worth, only because the property exists in a tier 1 city and in a particular area! Are you paying to lose your health?
From the time you begin your existence in the city, your health comes spiralling down. There are exceptions in every case, and here too, there are examples of people who have disciplined ways of living. These are people who take wise decisions and do not rush into anything.
What do we stand to lose in the bargain?
I have been living in Bangalore and in a quieter part of the city for 5 decades. Because its quieter, I stand to pay more than other areas of the city. Further, the costs of fruits and vegetables are more in this area than the busier parts of the city. House help costs more.
The worst affected are those who want to own their place of residence. Once they begin the ownership journey, which typically lasts anywhere between 10-30 years, a fear sets in. The fear is of losing their jobs, losing a promotion or opportunities to earn perks and incentives, all of which will amount to lesser financial burden. But, for how long?
Then, there are the migrants from tier 3 cities and the villages. These are the worst sufferers. They believed what was beamed on their television sets and came to the city, only to burn their earnings in maintaining themselves.
The false promises of loans, credit cards and private lenders is too creamy to ignore. If you slip into this mess, it is very difficult to get yourself out of it.
Is it a crime to live in cities?
It is not a crime to live in the cities! You need to know how to live life. Life is not about owning things! Life is about living. One needs to have an awareness about oneself. Only when you are aware that you will realise the value of life compared to costs of living. A value based living will save your costs of maintenance. And this is taught to us in our tradition. And we have chosen to forget everything about it!
Where did we come from?
Our tradition teaches us, that, our existence is possible only because of the grace of our ancestors, the Rishis (sages), who have their blessings for us, and the Gods and angels who have been guiding us as well as protecting us.
To give you an example; The innovative ideas you get, are not your own! They come to you. To an egotistical person, this might seem absurd! Nevertheless, it is true. Everything comes to us. We don’t make them. The only thing we are responsible for, is the effort we put in. Nothing else.
So, to live your life with meaning, is the right thing to do! And how do we go about it?
Follow your tradition
The Hindu tradition has all elements and practices that help us live our life well. It appears, on understanding these traditional practices that, our ancestors probably, faced similar situations we are currently facing. How else, would they know, what we must do in order to live well! Our ancient Panchatantra stories and Jataka Tales, teach us about the basic ethics of life, something we have forgotten.
The Hindu tradition teaches us to honour our ancestors, our Gods and the Rishis every day, so that, we live with humility and shun arrogance. It’s that simple. There is a way to go about honouring our past generations and the ones with whose grace we are living. This practice is called Brahma-yagyam. It is a simple 15 minute practice we do at afternoon and before lunch.
Doing this practice helps you receive what is due to you so that, you can save the time you lose in running after what you desire. Do not brush this away as a hearsay message. When you practice this, you will, for sure, experience the shift. I am a witness to it, and so are so many others. Going back to our roots is the answer to live a quieter, calmer, and a more meaningful life.
You can contact your purohit to learn more about Brahma-yagyam. Further, you need to reduce the burden that you have created for yourself by accumulating stuff. Below, are some tips to do just that, if you are interested.
Restoring your life
As regards to helping yourself from where you are, you can begin by reducing your shopping extravaganza. Start saving and focus on paying back your loans. Make a list to sell off or give away, what you don’t need. Your list can contain all those things you haven’t used in the last 6 months. Chances are, that you may never need them. It might seem a little scary in the beginning because what you have been holding onto, will have to go away. Fear makes us hoard. And fear creates health issues such as snoring, heart problems, constipation, uterine fibroids, urinary problems and more.
Fun on cutting down your expenses. For example, use only one bathroom to bathe. It may seem silly, but, if you can save even 200 bucks on your electricity bill, you have made a saving. When small savings accumulate, you will have saved more than you think.
Do not protect your ego
You ego would want you to hold unto the status and lifestyle you have created for yourself. Remember, no one cares about your lifestyle. People may envy your lifestyle for sure. Would they want to be in your shoes including incurring the costs of maintenance? The answer is, most likely, No!
The goal is to simplify, simplify, simplify. Your consistent steps will help you pay up your credit cards, loans and cut your expenses. This way, you will no more have the fear while taking bold decisions. With a sword called loans and liabilities hanging over your head, you wouldn’t want to make a change to your career, and even follow your dream passions, your heart’s calling. So, simplify your lifestyle by cutting down your expenses.
Lighter your financial burden, so that you are lighter in your head. You will be able to think clearly, sleep better and restore your overall health.
— Dr. Mahesh Krishnamurthy