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Middle Clause

Middle Clause

January 10, 2012

Now much classy, the criterion for being “middle class” has changed.

For an entire decade - during the 90’s - being middle class was cool. The middle class had it all… that was necessary. They rarely gave into temptation, and were grateful for food, shelter and clothing. They always had just about enough for essentials and never enough for luxuries. But that was fine - at least, they weren’t poor. Any financial shortcoming could be shrugged off with one smug line: “Hum middle class walay hain…” (we are the middle class). It wasn’t embarrassing to admit, because the middle class defined more than just the working section of the society. They symbolized morals, principles and upheld our cultural values more than any other section of the society. It was a thing of pride.

You could tell the middle class, right away: a couple with two children, a rented apartment and a two wheeler. That is, of course, the stereotypical picture. They had just enough money to their name to live respectably. They were humble people who celebrated and enjoyed the littlest things. Since they were deprived of certain luxuries, they valued and appreciated whatever material possessions they had. Unlike the poor, the middle class had a fighting chance for a better future – a hope - but progress of ambitions was slow. In the early 00’s, all that changed. Banks started sounding suspiciously friendly about giving money. Want your child to go abroad to get a whatever-the-hell-as-long-as-it’s-abroad degree? Banks had your back. Want that car you always dreamed of? They’re there. New home? Done. They were offering some no-questions-asked money with an “it’s okay if you never return it” tone. It was rumored Satan had joined RBI’s board of directors. And people gladly shook hands with the devil. Lakhs were offered with a smile and all you had to do was mortgage whatever little property you had. A little mortgage never hurt anybody, right?

On the other hand, globalization brought in foreign companies, and that meant, OMG! MNC jobs for the working class. Emerging call centers gave the youth a chance to screw up their education for meager pay for tireless toiling. Everyone was happy as there was money in the air.

The middle class was suddenly empowered and luxuries turned to necessities. They just couldn’t do without a car anymore. The dream bungalow was realized in the form of lavish condos, their children HAD TO get into IIT or die (of social embarrassment) and they weren’t really comfortable in any other fabric than the one with the big brand stamps – which they bought from the new mall. Excess was the new minimal and none of it valued or appreciated. The whole social stratum was basking in its new found wealth and stature. No one said “we’re middle class” anymore, and frankly, it would make them look bad. So, everyone pretended the 90’s never happened.

Call the middle class middle class, today, and all offence is taken. They just might smack you with the Rolex sporting pimp-hand, then, run you over with their new Honda hatchback.

Photo credit: 


  • Mr. Money To Burn
    Mr. Money To Burn
    17.01.12 09:15 PM
    Thanks, Vivek.
  • Vivek Iyer
    Vivek Iyer
    12.01.12 08:36 PM
    Nice article. On the other hand, India is one of the only few countries to have a strong middle class pop. It is a good thing, considering how the gap between the rich and poor is very huge and dangerous, in many other parts of the world.
  • Mr. Money To Burn
    Mr. Money To Burn
    12.01.12 08:14 PM
    Ask for it, and you shall have. Some day soon, Harry, some day... soon!
    But let's not commence it like a sword fight, with "gentleman draw your swords". In a pissing contest, that's awkward.
  • jaidev
    12.01.12 01:22 PM
    LOL. very true
  • Rajpriya
    11.01.12 07:46 PM
    PS How about that pissing contest?

    When and where? Will provide German beer to make contest last longer.
    11.01.12 03:43 PM
    Bloody rapper, :) I was right from the start. :)
    Now that I can see your picture, I know what you look like. I was expecting two jets in back of your picture wearing Armani, with you sticking two fingers in the air. I am dissapointed, oh well, what the hell.
    Wellcome to NRI Mr MMTB :)


    PS How about that pissing contest. :)
  • Arijit Mallick
    Arijit Mallick
    11.01.12 02:08 PM
    Now that I've posted the comment, I see my display picture! What sorcery is this? Anyway, that's me. :)
  • Mr. Money To Burn
    Mr. Money To Burn
    11.01.12 02:05 PM
    For those who didn't get Jaai's implication, I am the author of this post - the infamous Mr. Money To Burn (evil laugh). Due to technical difficulties,I can't comment as the author.

    Thanks for reading, everyone! :)

    Harry, I agree. Living beyond one's means is a major problem today and life was really much better without all the technology. Maybe we can sit by the fire, sometime and deliberate on it at length (while secretly suspecting if one has poisoned the other's drink). :)

    Tys, when I heard the term 'upper middle class' I was annoyed like a rich man in the economy class of a plane. WTF is 'upper middle class'? Another way to nurture one's ego to feel superior? While I write this sitting in my outdoor jacuzzi, I can't imagine why one would brag so shamelessly.

    Jaai, I write true stuff when I'm sleepy. I will return to my usual style of writing soon. Thanks for giving me up! Now I know whom not to trust with secrets. :x

    Chand Nair. Yes, these are just a set of observations. Point was being a sell out. Middle class sold out for a "good life", but ironically traded a good life for the worse. I don't believe in writing excessively long articles, because they tend to bore. My articles are not the best place to look for lengthy impact-ful points.

    Once again, thanks for reading, guys. I will try to be more pointless and vague in the future. :)
    10.01.12 08:53 PM
    The problem is everybody started to live beyond their means by watching western countries likes of (USA, UK and OTHERS). The wrong part about this is that every child in USA and UK is born with debt.

    I love my country and country men but we as Indian are not ment to live like people in western countries. I live in western country, but I still live like Indian. Next you will ask me, how do you live like Indian?. Very simple, If you earn £10, don't go and spend £11. This is what started to happen in India, and now everybody is crying for more money.

    Life was simple without all the technologies, but now evrybody in India wants everything new ( It's not wrong if you can afford it ), same as in USA and UK, and look at this two nations now. They both are drowing in debt.

    I am also guilty of this as well like rest of them. This is a sad state of truth. By understanding your faults, and taking actions, is the only key in life to solve your problems.

    We have great culture, and I hope it survives, but I doubt it very much.

    There are three things certain in life 1:- DEATH 2:- TAX 3:- DEBT

    There is one piece of advice I will give you , If you can't do it, don't do it, otherwise one of above or all three will be certain early in your life.

    Simple observations have never solved any problems.

    Wellcome to NRI dude.

  • Rajpriya
    10.01.12 08:39 PM
    Question: How does a high class person turn into a middle class person?

    Oh! there are Hundreds of ways. Extravagant life styles. Addiction to drugs or alcohol, womanizing, Gambling, bad investments are some ways not only turn into middle but also to poor class.
  • Jaai
    10.01.12 07:05 PM
    Question: How does a high class person turn into a middle class person?

    By Burning all his Money! :D

    I'm so sure this is plagiarized. Because it is depressingly serious. And true. Since when do you write true stuff?
  • Ashok Vaishnav
    Ashok Vaishnav
    10.01.12 05:52 PM
    Indeed rave consumerism has impacted and numbed the psyche of a common Indian so much that they do not feel the pinch of rising retail prices of pulses, sugar or toothpastes.
    Fortunately, we have still not done away with our habit of living within our means, in spite of easy availability of this loan or that loan.
    As result, the Indian middle class still provides the resilience to the Indian Economy.
  • tys
    10.01.12 01:14 PM
    i heard this new phrase when i was in india last week....upper middle middle class is like the train berth...upper, lower and middle. Nice.
  • Deepak
    10.01.12 12:24 PM
    Nice post !
    reading a god post @ this site after a long time :)

    i believe, satisfied middle class man is far far better than unsatisfied greedy billionaire, problem is there are only few middle class people in India, everyone wants more :P

  • Ranjit
    10.01.12 11:46 AM
    Yay!I mean Yes...I am the man in the wants are not much..i just want everything...:-)
  • Chand Nair
    Chand Nair
    10.01.12 09:00 AM the rest of your article?...this is just a few random thoughts and observations put together......where is the rest?...any point to make?
  • Bharat
    10.01.12 07:58 AM
    :) Indians Groups aren't so done.
    For, while money may color some,
    Culturally - it captures none.
  • satish
    10.01.12 06:49 AM
    excellent observation, very well can add the latest cell phone to...

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