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Of the Almighty Money

75cJYBgVWhy would an octogenarian leader with a “golden political career” want to defend a detested millionaire convict fleeing the arrest order? Or, why would the cadres of a “revolutionary party” with a mission of “social transformation” want to spare other similar corrupts simply because they get a good share of that booty in the form of donations? These questions shoved me into a soliloquy on the power of the omnipotent money.

When did the decadence of human civilization begin? There may be diverse answers, but for me it was the day man conceived money.

Culture reflects itself through scores of ways—in songs, in folklores, in foods, and in fashion. But it is reflected in language more than in anything else. Have you ever noticed the metaphor, tone and matter pervading the language we use today?

A friend of mine told me of one of his acquaintances: “I had a very good relationship with that guy. But I could not cash the opportunities.”

Another colleague of mine expressed his bitterness about his once-girlfriend thus: “I invested so much of time and effort upon her. But she turned out to be a flirt and ransacked me.”

Aren’t these the lines along which we too converse? And, is it not the almighty MONEY that rules our culture, dominates our thought, and governs our language too, at present? If you don’t agree, try playing a game in which a bank bill is tied to an invisible thread and left on the road, and pulled slowly when someone tries to pick it up. It will provide you fun and insight at the same time.

I had read somewhere that most of the African songs are about water and rain—a result of recurrent drought, dryness and ensuing famine in that part of the world. It’s no surprise, our talks, contemplation and obsessions are about riches. Yes, it’s no surprise that we rate schools, colleges, hospitals, awards, prizes, in fact everything, according to fees, charges, and amounts they charge or pay us.

I argued with a friend: “Money is the root of all evils.” Her answer was: “If so, why are rich people so happy, and so envied?”

Are rich people really so happy, so enviable? These are questions difficult to answer. But equally difficult to deny is the fact that the rich have been the obvious role models of the poor.

Pablo Picasso once said: “I’d like to live like a poor man with lots of money.”  He probably meant there is no help running away from money. But the fact is that if an ordinary individual runs blindly after it, he might be the only one to suffer; but if the “supreme leader”, or the “revolutionaries” opting for a “drastic change” are guided or governed by it, it is the nation that is ultimately doomed.

It might be true what is worth doing is worth doing for money. But equally true is the claim that money is a good servant but a bad master.

“Money can buy for you a pretty little dog but not the wag of its tail” might have been a clichéd adage, but its implication is not yet irrelevant. So, just look out who is pulling the thread of the bill you are trying to pick up!

All the other statutes to the contrary are revoked.

(Published in The Kathmandu Post)

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