Yes, I am middle class and proud of it

Shekhar Kapur wrote a rather touching post on his blog http://shekharkapur.com/blog/2012/08/i-am-just-so-middle-class/
For a change, I found myself nodding along to what he had to say. Yes, I am just so middle class too and proud of it. Of course, I remain firmly in the middle class, both socially and financially, and the mindset, ergo, would be hardpressed to change. I might flash the occasional label on the wrist or pressurised carbons on the person (not middle class, because we grew up believing that diamonds were worthless and gold was the jewellery to be invested in, and yes, jewellery, the rare occasions it is bought ever, is still first checked for resale value, minus making charges before purchase decision is made). I am just so middle class. I may not rinse out the milk packets every morning, dry them out and sell them at the end of the month, but yes, I carefully collate my raddi papers and beer bottles and haggle like a fish monger with the raddiwallah over the exact weight of the goods and the market price for the raddi papers per kilo before I part with them, convinced, as always, thanks to a mistrustful streak that the mater has passed onto me, that I am being taken for a royal ride. That mistrustful streak is also in full evidence when I am buying vegetables, surely the sabjiwalla has weights that are tampered with, surely he’s overcharging me. There is a frugality in me that comes from a childhood of not having. I still have clothes in the closet that are over ten years old but which I can’t bear to discard because they’re still in perfect condition. I can only give away clothes if they’re threadbare and have not a single use left in them or if they’ve ripped to shreds that make them more appropriate wear for Zombie’s Night Out rather than Suburban Hausfrau At Supermarket.
My morality in my head is also middle class. I am easily scandalised. I still believe in the institution of family being sacred. That you need to have friends who have been with you down the ages, that you need friends who are friends with you just because and that you need to hold onto your friendships.
There must be the nouveau riche out there, the ones who have risen swift through the middle class ceilings and broken through, with the annual pay packages that would give me a migraine if I started writing out the zeroes, the ones with foreign trips and penthouse apartments and mini pools in their balconies. I’m glad for them. For me, I would be calculating the cost of keeping the pool clean. You know. Chindi giri. Hardwired into my brain. It embarasses me at times. But keeps me sane. Grounded. I buy my Shiseido. But I also buy my Lakme. I might have a Clinique Night Cream. But I also have Brihans Aloe Vera Gel. I might use Kiehl’s sunblock. But I’m also a Lacto Calamine girl. I might buy a designer label, but I have no qualms rasta shopping, or raiding the export surplus stores.
I hope my son will be more comfortable about things. Not have the innate fear of not having that I have, that makes me so. Right now, with the cost of living zooming so high that monthly grocery shopping becomes a giant rubberband twanging you on the butt when you see the final bill, I think I’m being sensible. I only buy on offer or on discount. Which makes me not brand loyal at all. Except for Nutella. Everything else is changeable. The one with the best offer wins. It takes me longer at the Hypermarket but it is worth it.
So. Are you middle class and proud of it?

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About Kiran Manral

Author of The Face At The Window, ( 2016), Karmic Kids, All Aboard (2015) , Once Upon A Crush (2014) and The Reluctant Detective (2011).
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13 Responses to Yes, I am middle class and proud of it

  1. momofrs says:

    LOL!!!
    LOVED this post!!
    I thought I was the only one who opted for ‘ek-par ek-free’ instead of sticking to a brand. When I had twins, the FIL quipped that it was my inherent LOVE for ‘ek-par ek-free’ that made even God give me the same ๐Ÿ™‚
    Anyhow, for the middle-class-ness, yes, I’m right there with you. I cannot throw out clothes too, when they have life left in them. I don’t purchase jewellery, but whatever I buy, takes a lot of time and consideration and also, usability-over-duration factor to be considered. I call myself stingy, but never felt the need to justify or rectify the tag ๐Ÿ™‚
    And ohh, I read Shekhar Kapur’s blog and his honesty is simply heart-warming!

    Like

  2. Amit says:

    Whenever I go to buy a new shirt, I could never bring myself to buy the ones above 1500 Rs. Something very middle class stops me everytime I try. I do this mental calculation that if I save 500 Rs here, I will be able to buy a book. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  3. pinksocks says:

    Come from the heart of a middle class family girl with morals and beliefs still hovering around the same. However are our choices middle class anymore? Who am I to judge? I am willing to pay 2 grand for a buffet lunch where i nibbled on most of the things. Thanks for giving me food for thought ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cheers
    An Ardent reader of your book.

    Like

  4. Asha says:

    Absolutely agree with what you say…shopping trips to the mall become an all-day affair, not because I am splurging on clothes and shoes and stuff, but because I am carefully weighing options…is this outfit worth the price tag, isnt it better to wait for it to come on sale, do you really need another outfit in this color, etc etc etc. Buying groceries and household supplies is done in the same way – look for the best offers, look for bulk purchasing, all that ๐Ÿ™‚

    These are things that I do by default, and frankly this isnt something that I ever really thought about until I read your post (as well as the one that you referred to). But I now realise that being middle-class isnt about your economic status, it has more to do with state of mind, and the values in which you were brought up. I never expected anything to be handed over to me…once I started working, I carefully saved up, bought my own house, my own car…and by God, I am so proud of myself for doing that at a relatively young age. The good thing is that most of my friends share this mindset, so I have never felt the need to justify myself to them.

    There are a LOT of people with our mindset Kiran, and the world is better off for us ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also – a belated compliment – I think you are awesome writer, and I just love your turn of phrase!!

    Like

  5. Khan Mukhtar says:

    One has to have a temper where he or she easily. adjusts to the given situation it is ok to wear designer wear but should never be trying to look to skies as the way of limit to fulfill flashy ideas. One should be deeply rooted to the ground.I am proud to have middle class mentality but have enjoyed Gods creation without pulling strings.

    Like

  6. Meera says:

    I can so relate with this post. ROFL at your line: “with the annual pay packages that would give me a migraine if I started writing out the zeroes”

    I go to the shop with Rs.1000 to buy a dress and then think I can get two for the same amount and that mindset is stuck right from a young age.

    Like

  7. dipali says:

    I’m middle class and proud of it!

    Like

  8. Gayatri says:

    I can’t tell you how much I agree with you and Shekhar both. It’s amazing how it’s so ingrained for a lot of us came from humble backgrounds and the constant fear of losing (esp those impacted by the partition). And being a new mom, I find myself worrying about the same things my parents did…so I am taking my mindset to the next generation too! Not sure if Ahana will turn out this way, but time will tell.

    Like

  9. TM says:

    You’ve articulated the angst of our generation, and it’s one I’m proud to share… thank you for an awesome post!

    Like

  10. Umesh Pandit says:

    Nice One! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

  11. Anusha says:

    “I can only give away clothes if theyโ€™re threadbare and have not a single use left in them or if theyโ€™ve ripped to shreds that make them more appropriate wear for Zombieโ€™s Night Out rather than Suburban Hausfrau At Supermarket” – why? if you give something that is threadbare, can somebody even wear it? I am sorry, I am not being rude, I donate my clothes which are in good wearable condition and have volunteered for Salvation army and goodwill, it just makes my blood boil when i see clothes that are in a really bad condition, how can people who are not doing good financially wear these clothes? Kiran – don’t get me wrong, I love your blog and have been a fan since 6 years..

    Like

    • Kiran Manral says:

      ha ha ha, Anusha, my mistake, I should have specified, I meant to say I can only stop wearing something when it is beyond wearable and goes into raddi. The clothes I give away for charity–(because the brat/me/spouse have outgrown them) are always in pristine condition.

      Like

  12. Damien Carter says:

    I am in the upper lower class, or what some would today call the “working class”. I work a decent but low-paying blue collar job as a construction worker. Most people in America think that they’re middle class, when in fact they’re working class. Most Americans are in service or blue collar industries and the median household income is around $50,000, a lower/working class income for a family of four certainly.

    POOR/LOWER LOWER CLASS: People on welfare, homeless street bums, rural poor, urban slum dwellers, the frequently unemployed, menial labor jobs. Families make combined $0-$25K. Some HS education.

    WORKING/UPPER LOWER CLASS: Blue collar and service industry workers like miners, factory workers, maids, janitors, etc. Families make combined $25K-$50K. HS diploma/G.E.D.

    LOWER MIDDLE CLASS: Low-level white collar workers like bank tellers, retail sales clerks, and secretaries, as well as small business owners. Families make combined $50K-$75K. Associate’s.

    SOLIDLY MIDDLE CLASS: Semiprofessionals like teachers, social workers, nurses, firefighters, police officers, and middle management types. Families make combined $75K-$100K. Bachelor’s.

    UPPER MIDDLE CLASS/WELL OFF: Professionals like doctors, lawyers, dentists, scientists, surgeons, university professors, etc. Families make combined $100K-$300K. Master’s.

    UPPER CLASS/RICH: Movie stars, CEO’s, celebrities, politicians, “old money” families like Rockefellers. Families make combined over $300K. Doctorate or PhD.

    Like

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