In years past, young people used to gather around older relatives to hear about how people lived fifty years back. Today's youngsters don't have the time to talk to anyone (leave alone their aged relatives). So it's only on rare occasions that I'm able to tell my younger relatives about how people lived in the 1970s.

It was during the Eid holidays two weeks back that I told some young people about how I struggled to survive in those days. Of course, I emphasized that most of my relatives were in similar circumstances. They were dumb struck when I told them my salary at the time of my marriage was only Rs. 1,100 per month. They found it hard to believe that (in addition to my regular job), I had to teach engineering and also execute fabrication contracts. I would give a lecture in the morning on my way to work, the second lecture would be during the lunch hour when I would drive to college, and the third one was on my way home in the evening, after which I would go to the construction site to see the progress. This meant that I had very little time for leisure as I would reach home at 9 p.m. On Sundays also, I would go to the construction site (I rarely had time to take my wife to the movies or elsewhere). They were astonished that I would get only Rs. 25 for each lecture, but then I told them I was earning more from teaching than from my job. Ultimately, when I started getting more contracts, I gave up my regular job and the teaching. The youngsters had always thought that (like them), I had been born in a wealthy family and had inherited a shop or a factory.

But when I see how casually today's youngsters and even middle-aged people spend money, I doubt if they will be able to maintain their present life-styles in the tough times ahead. I am of course talking about those who go on vacation to foreign countries at least twice a year and who spend thousands weekly on eating in very expensive restaurants. My advice to the parents of such youngsters is to ensure that they don't waste so much money.