I do occasionally talk about people living a simple life. Let me elaborate, when I say I know a few people who live a simple life, it is not ‘extreme frugalism’ by any stretch of imagination.

It is just a life style choice unhindered by the biggest worry of mankind “what will others think”. A few friends are already there, a few friends would like to be there and many others would die – instead of accepting this lifestyle. Imagine a person with a net worth of about Rs. 40 crore (yes crores) travelling around ONLY by public transport. He said ‘I think I am unique, none of my friends travel by train’ .

I remember another friend short list a car to buy. The question was NOT which car he could afford to buy (that is typical middle class, not the uber rich language). So when somebody explained : “S can afford to write a cheque for Rs. 4 crores and buy a Ferrari but chooses to buy an Indigo, it is about what he needs, not what he “deserves”.

I told him “many of your friends who are 58 years old can climb up and down in a Railway station’. So this is about choosing a simple lifestyle. If his son / daughter / nephew wanted an Ivy League education, a few shares of a few companies would fund that. Not a bank loan from SBI with the house thrown in as security.

They are vegan, because they actually think that humans have no right to abuse the planet the way we do. One of them carries a purse made with cloth – no leather.

They spend less on a wedding because they do not wish to be vulgar.

They walk short distances of under 2 km not because they cannot afford Rs. 20 on a rick, but because the walk keeps them fitter.

They attend weddings where a plate costs Rs. 2800, but do not eat. This is NOT as a protest against vulgarity, but saving money for a friend. NO, it is not about money it is just that they wish to encourage simple living.

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  1. True renounce or adopting a simple lifestyle will be great only when we have that affordability but still renounce it to accept the simple life. That is a reason we still respect Budha and Vivekananda.

  2. like they used to say about Mahatma gandhi ” it took a lot of money to keep him in poverty”. there is nothing special or particularly virtuous about choosing an indica over a ferrari.or getting pushed around in a railway over a smooth personal ride. or not wearing clothes made out of leather.

    if it makes them feel happy, then sure. but lets not call it some virtue.
    the virtue would come from a state of mental detachment/non attachment towards the possessions. not in the value of the possessions themselves.

    so warren buffet still lives in an old house .so what? he might not be imaginative is all one can say. its an idiosyncracy at best.

    the problem occurs only when you define yourself by your possesions eg. i am a ferrari owner or owner of antilla etc.

  3. its more accurately “social desirability bias”. doing somehting which society will think highly of. a rich man buying stuff ordinary people do is seen as doing the right thing. virtue doesnt come into the picture at all.

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