Benevolence & Balzac

God westerners suck! Greedy, whining little brats banging on about their first-world problems. If our forefathers could see us skulking around posting trolly reviews about how our i-phones won’t pick up Wi-Fi or how the local coffee emporium used full-fat by mistake they’ve give us the hiding we so richly deserve.

Never has this been brought home to me so clearly than by the conversation I had with a work colleague yesterday.

That he’s Indian is relevant.

We were talking about the process of testing software. We meandered.  I asked what he did in his spare time.

‘My father left me some land. I get back whenever I can to check on the crops and oversee the harvest.’

‘How much land?’

’40 acres.’

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’40 acres! If you owned 40 acres in England you’d be king.’ (I’m pretty sure that’s how it works).

‘In India it is not so big – We produce maybe 60,000 bags of rice per year – 50KG apiece – enough to support the 40 families who work for me.’

‘But you make a healthy profit?’

‘No, no profit, a small loss actually, but it is good to give back. When I am older I will travel home and become a farmer full-time. It is a divine trade. A doctor you need maybe once a year, but a farmer you need every day.’

I have two thoughts: 1. What a profound thing he is doing for his fellow man. 2. I want to beat him up. I am a whiny westerner and he’s making me feel bad. I must go and blog about my hurty tummy and have total strangers reassure me. (‘Cheer up! You are only part-turd’ MARTIN LIKES THIS).

‘You own land?’ he asks.

‘Yes,’ I reply, ‘not 40 acres, but a nice house, on a hill.’

‘And you live in this house with your wife and kids?’

‘No, I’m divorced – Not a pleasant experience – Gonna take a decade or so off.’

To do his response justice you need to imagine it spoken in a Punjabi accent: ‘That would be a mistake. You need to get a move on before the sperm shrivel up in your scrotum…’

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