Sounds like a very unusual topic for a blog, yet I thought I would write as it is not a simple incident but has many takeaways regarding human behavior, societal peer pressure, individual aspirations and sense of sacrifice. It is a simple story to narrate.
My driver Mr A Kumar barely makes about Indian Rupees 20000 (equivalent of 300 USD) per month which includes salary from me and his pension (he is a Army veteran, a Naik (Corporal )). His son has recently graduated from high school and may be joining college if he can get a budget entry. A Kumar has just one child and he had taken pains to put him in a good private school. He must have suppressed his many needs to be able to pay for his studies. Currently he is training his son for car repair trade work.
His son has friends from well to do families who flaunt their costly gadgets and bikes. One day the kid demanded iphone from his father. My driver asked me as to how much the iphone would cost. I told him that it is a very expensive mobile especially the latest iphone 7 which would cost about INR 70000 (equivalent of 1000 USD) and therefore he should tell his son not to press for it; at best he could buy him a cheap Chinese smart phone which may cost around INR 7000 (100 USD). I have been using an old model of iphone (5) for the last two years which has been functioning very well and would not like to upgrade to new model the cost being exorbitant. His son did not agree on any smart phone but only wanted iphone. Peer pressure of his friends was indeed working.
Next day, Mr A Kumar came back to me and asked that his son would be satisfied with iphone 5s (which is much cheaper at Rs 21000 (300 USD). I then suggested him to buy this equipment on easy installments from on line marketing portals like Snapdeal or Amazon. This way it would not hurt him much. But for such a transaction a credit card is required and A Kumar does not have one. So for the next one week he was running from pillar to post for getting a credit card. His efforts failed as credit card companies did not oblige him due to financial reasons.
Now A Kumar requested me to sell my iphone at a subsidized rate to him and I could upgrade to higher model. Since I believe in value for money, I did not want to spend extra Rs 55000 for iphone 7 for self as my old iphone was pretty much performing the same functions. So I pondered over and found a way out. I could buy my driver A Kumar, a iphone 5s from Snapdeal on six instalments since I have the credit card and he would pay me the EMI every month so that I could clear the credit card dues. He agreed and I then paid for iphone 5s using my credit card in six monthly installments. I helped my driver by using my bonus points collected earlier on my credit card for this transaction and saved another Rs 2000, thus the iphone 5s costed Rs 18000 (280 USD) at a monthly EMI of Rs 3000 (46 USD). I pay my diver a monthly salary of Rs 11000 out of which I would deduct Rs 3000 and pay him Rs 8000 for the next six months.
For the next one week, A Kumar kept on checking from me daily about the arrival of the courier. The courier finally arrived yesterday and I found the product being new and in good shape. I spent one hour configuring the iphone 5s and made it functional. Thereafter I handed over this mobile to him. He was very excited as if he had won a lottery. In fact he requested me to allow him to leave early so that he could go home and give iphone 5s to his son.
I was moved by his love and dedication to his son. For the next six months he would have to live on a lesser income and adjust his needs, all for the happiness of his son. I hope his son shows the same spirit when he grows up and his father needs help.