Outside a shop in a high-end mall, there’s a regular looking guy standing and staring at the expensive clothes on the mannequins through the glass. The clerk inside the shop doesn’t even flinch and continues to ignore him. The guy looks as if he wants to come in but hesitates a bit. He looks for a while more, then walks away looking a bit sad. The store clerk doesn’t even give the man another thought and rushes to assist another slick looking customer. Why should he bother with someone like that, he had thought before. After all, it’s not like that the guy could afford to buy something at a place like this. Everything about him, from his plain clothes to the jhola in his hands and the chipped glass of specs, screamed “Average”. Middle Class. What the clerk didn’t know was how much will power it had taken for the guy he had just called average not to spend his salary on something nice for a change on his wife and kids. And that’s what something average special. Here are the top 10 issues a common middle class man faces almost every day in his life:
10. Monetary problems:
This is one of the most common problems a middle class man has to deal with. With the slumping economy and the ever increasing costs of everything from groceries to petrol, how can one expect something different? With a modest salary that can hardly even cover electricity bills and taxes, the middle class man faces roadblocks every step of the way because there’s just no money left, no money to save, and no money to buy anything. Interest rates on loans are going through the ceiling; insurance premiums had never before been so costly; so now the middle class man finds himself knee deep in debts, mortgages and loans. When some rich kid is going around spending his money on a date, a middle class man is counting every penny he earned that day.
9. Quality education:
Along with everything today, education too has caught up in terms of cost. A decent education for their kids is something all parents think about. But maybe the middle class man cannot even afford to think about it. Most children who go to esteemed colleges and universities think renowned private schools, tuition, coaching classes, et al., are a must. But most middle class children have to do with Government schools and maybe no tuition, unless it’s very cheap. Sometimes even with an excellent academic record, the best colleges are out of reach without a scholarship due to financial constraints. Parents have to live with the knowledge that they couldn’t give their children good, if not the best, education.
8. Health related and Medical Problems:
Most middle class people don’t have medical insurance. Not every doctor is kind, not every clinic is going to waive charges. What happens then if an unfortunate accident takes place or if someone has a medical condition and the treatment costs are way beyond their means? What happens is that they don’t go to the best hospitals and clinics, they don’t get the best treatments and operations, and they’re not in the best hands. Can you even imagine the risks attached to situations like that? Can you deal with it if you can’t get the best treatment for your sick child? That’s what a common man faces every day.
7. Catching up with technology:
You know what a computer is, right? A laptop, a smart phone? Yeah, you’re smirking now, thinking what type of a question is that? I’ll tell you it’s a very complicated one. Especially for someone who doesn’t own one and maybe hasn’t even seen one. You think every guy owns a mobile just because you do? That’s not true. Yeah gadgets and mobiles are affordable now, every sabzi wala, chai wala has a mobile, you’ve seen it, but have you seen of what kind. Sure a middle class guy will own cell phone, but it’ll be a plain one. Not Android, not Windows and definitely not Apple. The cheap variety, maybe even in monochrome. And I’ll tell you this: most probably, he’ll be the only guy in is family who owns a cell phone. And don’t even get me started on hi-fi laptops, pads, television sets, microwaves, ovens, toasters and the internet. The world goes on moving forward and it doesn’t bother to wait for a middle class man.
You get invited to parties and receptions and marriage ceremonies and you don’t worry except maybe about what color your dress is going to be or how you’ll wear your hair. If a middle class man gets an invitation to an event, he won’t be happy I’ll tell you that. Even if he’s looking forward to it there’ll be millions of headaches: nice clothes, there’ll only be a pair or two, and most probably someone’s seen him in that before; his only means of transport is his scooter, how to drive the whole family there and if the venue is quite far, what a waste of petrol, and a cab ride you say? Yeah, right; money or gift for the occasion, that’s another problem. From the carefully saved money, taking something out to buy something nice for someone else stings when you can’t even wear something nice to their party in the first place. And let’s not think about what will happen when his children are going to get married.
5. Tension is a constant companion:
Do you know how it feels to live every day, every moment worrying about how you’re going to get through the month or the week?; whether you’re going to get the promised raise soon?; whether your children are getting enough food to eat?; how you’re going to repay a loan or maybe two or three?; how the man in the slick suit who just arrived was welcomed into the store you were waiting outside for what felt like hours? The list will go on. And if you do know how it feels, you’re probably a middle class man. It will be a continuous process, this worry. It’ll start in the morning and when he’s finally oblivious to everything around him, it’ll finally end. But I think sometimes, maybe this worry is a part of his dreams too. Maybe when you’re middle class, dreams are costly too.
4. Can’t afford to dream:
The last point brought something to my mind. I’m not talking here about the dreams that we see when we’re up in seventh heaven. Nah, the dreams I speak of are the ones all of us have about our future: our ambitions, our goals, what and where we want to be someday. A middle class man can’t do that because if he does, there will be a lot of disappointments, heartbreaks and ego bruising things to deal with, or so they think.
3. Stuck in the middle:
This, I think is a really big problem for a middle class guy. He’s not a rich, suave upper class businessman with a chauffeur who doesn’t care that the price of petrol went up for the third time in the month, nor is he a member of a poor downtrodden family which gets Government aid and has hundreds of NGOs to support them. No, he’s the guy who’s stuck in the middle. He can’t imagine the things that come with so much ease to powerful people, and his pride won’t let him beg someone to help him out. The Government doesn’t care about him, they care about vote banks and that lies within the unprivileged community. All the Government wants from him are taxes which he can barely afford o pay. Oh yeah, and they say he belongs to the ‘cattle’ class.
2. Attention deficit:
No one takes notice of an average, middle class guy. He’s overlooked, ignored, sometime even spoken to and treated badly. Even if he has a million buck solution to a world threatening problem, his opinion will not be asked and certainly no one will bother to listen even if he tries to speak without permission. I wonder why most people think that if someone is middle class then his ideas, his thoughts, his answers and solutions will also be middle class? People have no faith in the amazing ideas a common man can have and even if they see a miracle being performed by him, they’ll say it was a fluke or maybe they were hallucinating.
1. The ‘Middle Class’ tag:
I hate the term ‘class’. Upper, middle, lower, backward, not backward, who decides? Why do they get to decide? Calling someone backward, isn’t that almost racist? When you call someone backward, they start believing in that term too. The same way when you call a guy middle class, he believes he’s middle class, ordinary, plain, and nothing special. And herein lies the biggest hurdle, the biggest problem a middle class man faces every single moment of his life. Even if he tries to forget it, and starts thinking that he’s not ordinary; there will be someone, some stupid person who’ll remind him that very minute where he comes from. The problems a middle class man faces lie within so many others, middle class or not, and in himself. Everyone’s special and extraordinary. He just needs to start with a little confidence in himself. Until we do away with tags like these, the problems a ‘middle class’ man faces will never cease to exist. There are many reasons to look forward to being a middle class man too, but that’s another story.