Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Working and Traveling

One of the very few things I admire about western way of life is the way they bring up their children to be independent and responsible. They are forced to make choices from a very young age, be it for what they want to wear to what they'd like to eat. As Indian kids we are too used to being spoon fed from our classrooms to every other aspect of our life; maybe that's why we stare at the menu for a little too long, to make the decision as to what we want to order, even as grown ups.

Having part time jobs as kids or growing up is one such western concept that I like. Out of all my Indian friends I have only ever known two friends who ever did that during college. Where as out of all my non-Indian-expat friends, almost all of them always have had super interesting stories to tell that started with, "This one summer when I was working as a lumber jack... " or "This one time I was waiting at a coffee shop, when.." Being a camp consular, painting houses, cutting grass for the neighbor, being a life guard at the pool one summer, being the basketball coach assistant or just a guest blog journalist. It doesn't matter if you are from a well off family an even if your parents can afford to buy you a car for your sweet 16, part time jobs are a norm. In India if you are working as a child it is probably out of compulsion or poverty. You see kids working at a Chai shop or cleaning boots on street side to add to their family's income. Child labor is punishable by law because it leads to exploitation children for cheap manual labor. In India its rare to see kids coming from the middle or upper class families doing jobs that have monetary out comes.

Why didn't I work at a Mc'donalds growing up and did unpaid volunteer work instead? As much as I wanted to, working as a teenager or in college is a rather new concept in India and as a society we do not encourage our children to work. Upper and middle class children are only encouraged to study hard and get a cushy job instead of doing trivial work which is considered demeaning. And if you are not able to get a job or pass out of college, you still have the option of living off your parents till you "grow up". Indian kids are just used to having their parents pay for their education and more often than not, even after bagging a job post education; be it for the apartment rent deposit or a few extra bucks for a foreign vacation. 

Part of the reason we underestimate our self worth is all the jobs we did as kids were unpaid and we did it as favors to the society, friends, family or a relative. Maybe that's why our system works on favors.The work will be done faster when you know someone who know's someone, and they'll do it for you as "a favor".

Part time jobs as kids teaches one a lot, such as the value of hard earned money, self reliance, gives them a sense of Independence and most of all teaches them dignity of labor. With Dignity of labor one learns that no work is big or small and that work itself is dignity. India does not understand much of this concept. This is seen by the way people doing menial jobs are treated at restaurants, public service laborers or even the way people treat their own maids.
One of the best parts about travel is the amazing people you meet who are doing really cool things in life. This was also my first introduction to the hippie way of working and travelling. I met tons of talented people earning bucks in innovative ways while travelling and practically eating their meals for free.

Cristi: She is just an amazing singer and her golden voice clubbed with her peppy guitar numbers make her a big hit! This one time I saw her make 40$ in an hour of singing, restaurant hopping.

Like Christi there are so many others! Almost everyone travels with an instrument. I'm doing my Euro trip with my Guitar for sure!

Ben: This French man not only has an entrepreneurial streak but is also an excellent teacher. He is an amazing metal smiths who initiated me into buying my own player and wire and I did not quite bad for my first time. The best part was to hear a french man and an Indian girl communicate in their newly learnt Spanish. 

My first earring :) 

This cute couple sold trinkets they made outta metal and thread and did a pretty neat job of it too! They were like the power couple of the hippie world!

The treasure chest:

A little something I learnt how to make:

Las Malabaristas(The Jugglers): If I had a penny for every juggler I met I'd have been the one eating my meals for free. For these guys their day starts at the semaphores and on a good day they can earn about 30$ in a 4 hour work period.

The little Bakers: Seriously? An 86% profit margin with the initial investment of  4$ for the raw material to make 30$ in one afternoon's work. The have some amazing marketing and aesthetic sense and always make their products look good. 

If money is the biggest criteria keeping you from travelling, here is the quick fix solution. So, go ahead and head out with your backpack and your guitar! 

No comments:

Post a Comment