SAVING MORE. While traveling to Nanded (for the eve of Holi at Huzur Saheb) from Nizamabad in a passenger train, I met a man who turned out to be a labor working at a hoardings firm which caters to Barbecue Nations throughout the country. Mentioning of his life, he told that he was from a poor background, wanted to work abroad to make some money for the family and met a contractor who could arrange work for Indians abroad. He paid a lac as the contract amount, gave a list of his skills and waited. His ticket finally came for Dubai and he set off his foot for a new nation, a new life.

He was given welding work at several construction sites where he worked 7 days a week! Sunday was a holiday but also an opportunity to earn twice the regular and he took it up. He said, “I was away from my family, my mother. I went there to work, and work I did.” He thus saved and sent home 9 lacs in 3 years and got his family a solid roof over their head. He seemed very proud and happy while mentioning of his sisters whom he wedded nicely. He told me about the pain of staying away from his family, working all day round, sleeping in a small room with 5 others and cooking his own food to save some more.

The comforts did come in the end but came with a payment, also covering his slowly degrading eye sight. His story made me ponder over the cost of money itself.

SPENDING WISELY. It’s always exciting and learning experience travelling alone. I joined a couple of Austrians and an Indian for dinner one night on my Hampi trip. The meal was nothing grand, just some veg. curries, roasted papad, and rotis. The others wanted to try something spicy, and I recommended Paneer Tikka Masaala. Enough said!

The bill came out to be Rs. 600/- to be split into 4 of us. I was happy and contended with the meal and the bill, but the faces of others didn’t say the same and found it expensive. I did some calculations in my head in the meantime. 1 Euro equals roughly 75-80 Indian rupees and 150 rupees should hardly show anywhere on their tally sheet. But here they were! I was baffled.

1 of the guys later joined me for a walk and explained to me. They were all frequent travellers and rely on their savings for financing their trips (2 -3 months long!). Euro or not, if there is an option of cheaper travel, why miss it? He was shocked when I told how coolly we go to restaurants and spend 800-1000 bucks over a meal. For him, that would probably equal a night’s stay, a meal and transport!

I reflected over the concept of budget travel for the first time and became conscious of my expenditures!

Ever gave a second thought while spending at those pizzas or that big phone? What are your views on this? Do share.

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