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Upper Middleclass Existence

Upper Middleclass Existence

June 06, 2012

How to look upper middleclass in 3 easy steps!

Forbes recently defined what upper middle class in India means. I don’t know what it means to be upper middleclass but according to their definition, I may belong to that category. Personally, I believe that upper middle class is a meaningless term created by the rich to keep the middle class from joining with the lower class when the revolution comes! (This man’s words, not mine)

So for the past few months, I have been learning the ways of the Upper Middle Class from my elitist cat c2 and I am now ready to pass on my knowledge. Here’s how you can be upper middleclass:

Chapter 1: Stop doing middle class things

To belong to the upper middleclass, the first thing you have to do is give up your old middleclass habits. That means no borrowing two table spoons of coffee powder or a small piece of ginger from your neighbor when unexpected guests turn up towards the end of the month. If you don’t have coffee, serve them organic green tea!

Neighbors play an important part in middleclass life. When I was a part of the middleclass, I knew everything about my neighbors. It was normal for neighbors to know every little thing about each other – from the source of the latest conflict between Atthagaru and Kodalu (Telugu for saas & bahu) to the birthdays of cousins of their kids!

We even knew what curry they were cooking on any given day because a) we could smell it and b) they would send over a serving every time they cooked something special as a gesture of goodwill and later in the afternoon, all the “aunties” would discuss the recipe.

We knew everything about them. And they knew everything about us too. Pf! Such utter disregard for other people’s privacy! This never happens in upper middleclass neighborhoods, you know?

Upper middleclass people respect each other’s privacy and to be on the safe side, we draw imaginary boundaries and never cross them. For instance, I moved into the upper middleclass neo-liberal island of Koramangala six months back and all I know about my neighbors is that they are a family of five. I think the fifth member is a dog. Or it could also be a third child who barks a lot. Who knows man, and who are we to judge?

If you’re serious about belonging to the upper middleclass, you have to give up your middleclass habits like borrowing stuff from neighbors, traveling by Sleeper Class, maintaining an “account” with the neighborhood Kirana store, commuting by public transport, drinking ordinary water in restaurants, eating street side food, saying “No” to your kids in public etc.

Chapter 2: Look upper middleclass

It doesn’t take much effort for a rich person to look rich or for a poor person to look poor but it takes a lot of effort for the upper middleclass to look upper middleclass! If we don’t take enough care, we risk being mistaken for middleclass (which is the last thing we want!)

So how do we “look” upper middleclass? Should I even be mentioning obvious things like branded clothes, designer wrist watches, smart phones with dying batteries, branded handbags (women only), branded sneakers, branded sun glasses etc.? Before stepping out of the house, always make sure you are endorsing at least 12 international brands because that is our destiny – to be walking billboards!

Apart from clothes and accessories, you can also indicate your class status through pets. Poor people usually have normal street dogs as best friends (with a handmade collar to signify its non-stray status). Most middleclass people don’t keep pets but when they do, it is usually breeds like Pomeranians or Alsatians.

Rich people tend to prefer exotic breeds and species as pets. Don’t worry, you don’t have to buy a 26 lakh rupee Certified Purebred German Shepherd.  As upper middleclass people, a relatively foreign breed will do just fine. Labradors and Dalmatians are quite common these days. I am not sure if those ugly little pugs are still in vogue.

Chapter 3: Do Rich people things

Giving up middleclass habits, however hard it may be, is only the first step. The key is to gradually replace each middleclass habit with an equivalent upper class habit. If you use a two wheeler, take a car loan. Don’t use public transport, use your car. Do you still travel by sleeper class? Fly economy class or at least upgrade to AC 2-tier. Check in to a luxury hotel, let the porter carry your bags to the room and lift weights later in the gym there because that is how we roll!

Remember how your mom used neatly fold and save each polythene bag for later use? Typical middleclass buddhi… can’t throw anything away. Always looking to reuse and recycle. Upper middleclass people don’t waste time recycling products. We buy “recyclable” products!

Stop jogging in the park, join a gym and run on the treadmill. Don’t go to the barber. It is time to try out that Unisex Salon. Tell Raymond that you want to see other people now. Give a hi-five to Van Heusen. Settle all accounts with your neighborhood Kirana store. Get a loyalty card from D-Mart. Flush that soap, use shower gel instead. Drink only bottled water, eat only organic food and don’t bother washing your hands because Big Bazaar has a 30% off on hand sanitizers!

There is virtually no end to the number of changes you can make. It is only constrained by your skills, motivation, attitude and sometimes, your credit limit.

Chapter 4: But you’re not rich

! Now that you have shunned your middleclass habits and replaced them with upper class habits, you should know that upper middleclass existence is not as rosy as it seems. The fact that you’re not rich but only upper middleclass comes back to haunt you from time to time. Upper middleclass people cope up with this reality in peculiar and amusing ways.

Some people get involved in rich people activities but they do them in a very middleclass way.

A gym membership is a perfect example for this. Rich people don’t go to the gym. They usually have a gym in the basement of their bungalow. Upper middleclass people can’t afford that. So they buy membership, drive to the gym and ride a stationary bicycle. Or signing up for a Gourmet Barbecue & Wine Tasting Workshop and paying for it with sixteen discount coupons.

Speaking of discounts, reading all the 18 pages of classifieds in the Times of India and keeping track of sales, discounts and other special offers on all brands across all stores is a new hobby that is catching up. I swell with pride every time I see educated people applying the entire math they have learned in school to figure out the cheapest way to shop. This kind of obedient consumerism gives me hope that one day, even we will become a developed country!

The Middleclass Knight Rises

Then there are some upper middleclass people whose middleclass instincts suddenly spring out because no one is looking!

An upper middleclass chap will buy a 300gm subway sandwich for a hundred and fifty rupees without thinking twice but will haggle for an hour for four rupees with the vegetable vendor over a kilo of Tomatoes!

They don’t mind spending a few thousand rupees on A C 2-Tier tickets for the whole family but when the porter demands some extra 30 rupees, they are enraged! (Arey bhaiyya, paanch platform hi toh hai) If the one you are paying is a corporation, just pay. If they don’t have a lawyer’s address, bargain the hell out!

You can see this everyday and everywhere. Don’t we all have friends with smart phones that cost as much as thirty grand but don’t spend that extra 200 bucks for an unlimited data pack? What’s the matter with them? Perennially sniffing for free, unsecured Wi-Fi connections so that they can check into foursquare and earn an extra discount coupon!

The worst class to belong to

What I am trying to say is that upper middleclass is the worst class to belong to. Rich people are rich and own pretty much everything. The middle class person spends all his life to make ends meet and when the ends eventually meet, he is a happy guy who thinks “Hey, at least I am not poor!”

But being upper middleclass people is like being stuck in a limbo. Our needs are already met but our wants can never be met and most of our problems have no solutions!

For instance, I like to carry around my Kindle but it’s too big to fit in my jeans pocket. The Kindle is designed to fit perfectly in a coat pocket but we don’t wear coats in Bangalore… so I have to carry a backpack all the time just to hold a device that is the size of my palm and weighs 200 grams! Do you have any idea how inconvenient that is?

And there is no solution to this problem! There is nothing one can do to fix this…  I am stuck with hundreds of such first world problems in this third world country.

The worst part is that we can’t even complain because 700 third world kids have died of hunger, disease, bad economic policies and war in the last few minutes you were reading this article!

Photo credit: 


  • Ashish Ranjan
    Ashish Ranjan
    30.01.16 06:43 PM
    Applicable article. Its very close to reality. But the last point in which you mentioned that in the end rich and middle class people are happy but upper middle class is not so. I disagree with this point as middle class, as per your definable, also aspire to become me upper middle in very similar manner in which upper middle aspire to become rich.
  • Siddharth
    01.10.15 05:24 PM
    Excellent Article!!! Hats off to you!!!
  • harsha
    27.03.15 10:16 PM
    really realitic writings
  • zafar
    19.04.13 11:38 AM
    "Check in to a luxury hotel, let the porter carry your bags to the room and lift weights later in the gym there because that is how we roll!"
    Superb! How well you describe these hypocrites man! Awesomeness personified.. You sure do have a perceptive mind!
    Why do we even think in terms of which-class-do-I-belong-to? It is just ridiculous, how it demolishes the entire creative output of a human life.. Instead if we concentrate on being better parents, enjoying our work, and exist for our own sake and not for the society; we could have far better lives..
  • moddalSatti
    18.09.12 08:12 AM
    In the end, none of this matters when we die. It's what we do, when we are alive, that matters.

    If only we can put away 1% of the money we spend on luxury items (stuff we don't really need) and help JUST one person in need, this world would be a better place.

    It applies to all classes.
  • chandu
    16.08.12 06:02 PM
    awesomely put!!
  • Anjali
    14.06.12 03:26 AM
    *Just kidding

    I call it slip of finger :P
  • Anjali
    14.06.12 03:25 AM
    It could have been better if I found employment through it. Lol. Kust kidding.

    Good night!
  • Rajpriya
    14.06.12 02:54 AM
    @ Anjali,

    In what way could it have been better?

    Our agency prepares everything that needs to be printed on paper. For example all types packaging, brochures, catalogues, magazines fliers etc. and lot more. We design websites and hoist and maintain them. We do professional photography at customer sites for all the promotional campaigns and videos. I also work for a South Yorkshire based joint venture.

    The biggest hurdle we would have is to get the work permit. Unfortunately the German employment regulation does not allow us to employ anyone from outside the EU. Not even a relation from India.

    But the rules are being relaxed in the IT sector because there is a shortage in this field but one has to be really very good. The number of people who want to come here for these vacancies are hundreds of thousands.

    If you happened to be in the IT sector I could have tried to find an opening. Please read the topic “Deutschland Uber Alles” on NRI.

    Germany beat Holland a little while ago and I think I go get some sleep now.
  • Anjali
    14.06.12 02:20 AM
    Yes, the outcome wasn't bad at all. And it can be made better.

    Do you need a stylist or a model for your advertising agency? I can be both. :)
  • Rajpriya
    14.06.12 02:10 AM
    Please pardon me for the spelling or other mistakes. I call them the slip of the tongue and not the fault of brain.

    1. I have come to a stage.
    2. This discussion brought two people at war to understand each other better.
  • Rajpriya
    14.06.12 02:02 AM
    Hi Anjali,


    No! It’s not, Clint Eastwood Movie I am talking about is Dirty Harry.

    Thanks, but if you look sharp I have just done exactly that.

    I’m have come to a stage where I don’t have to work hard anymore it just keeps coming without much sweat. It has grown and keeps growing.

    I am a Graphic Designer and specialize in Digital Printing processes, Offset, Flexo and Gravure and undertake installation of High-end (also known front end) workstations for Prepress. We own an Advertising agency in Germany now run by my elder son. I continue as Director, consultant and customer relations coordinator and train those aspiring to be in the printing sector.

    Thanks about the idea on inseparable Twins.

    Getting entangled I had to. It was from someone else’s vocab that I temporarily borrowed. You should be sharp enough to notice the change that has already taken place as a result. That’s precisely what world-class people are supposed to do-CHANGE!

    This discussion brought to people at war to understand each other better while the entire NRI forum was eagerly watching for the ultimate out come of this frivolous topic. After all the net result was not bad wasn’t it.

    P.S. I am sure he is busy writing the next frivolous one so that we could start once over at square one.
  • Anjali
    14.06.12 01:13 AM
    Hi Rajpriya,

    In the nuteshell, you mean genuineness and integrity are the traits that make you a "world class" citizen. Good. I like it. Thumbs up!

    Although I love retro and vintage in fashion, I haven't seen too many old Hollywood movies. Which of the Clint Eastwood movies are you talking about. Sounds like a series of classic films. I'll watch it if I can.

    Even I don't assess class solely on the basis of money. Class, style, glamour, humanity, character - these are thigs you can't inject into someone. They are either there, or they are not. If fake, they are clearly visible and the person appears as a wannabe. Wealth, on the other hand, is transient. If you have it, enjoy it and learn to make it grow. If not, work for it.

    As a correction, I am not a doctor, my parents are. I am a writer and fashionista. I am looking for a career in fashion merchandising.

    I like the idea of the twins. Will remember the point.

    You too are getting entangled with balls now, like your firend, Mr. Harry? :P I remember you writing somewhere that the word does not exist in your vocabulary. Good world class citizens must adhere to their words :)

    To me, discussions are more of a way to vent out your thoughts and have a nice engrossing conversation. When people make it challenging for me to answer them, I like it even better. In fact, the trickier the better. For serious matters, I don't think discusiions amount to much. Sitting in your drawingroom (or Internet threads for that matter) and talking about stuff only serves to fulfill your own need to talk and sort your thoughts out. It yields no practical results for the world outside of your own mind.

    And according to your ratio logic, how do you rate this dicussion of ours?


    P.S. Where is the person who inititated all of this? I wish I could hear something from Mr. Tadinada. :)
  • Rajpriya
    13.06.12 10:28 AM
    Hi Ms. Anjali,

    I’d prefer if you call me Rajpriya and leave out the Mr. Yes sometimes I let things roll the way they do and then at the appropriate moment announce what has to be.

    One guy addressed me Hi sweetie and even started getting a bit too amorous. Then I let him know before he started letting his head fall over my heels. But I enjoyed the respect he showed me as long as I let it last. It was fun poor.

    However, I would not have misled you into things that most genuine fakes do on the Internet. I would say things on the Internet to anyone, I could only say and defend standing right in front them. That’s what I call world class.

    There are some who remind me the name of the Clint Eastwood movie when they use intellect I would never dare use in my own home in the presence of my family with children and grandchildren. If they do, their breeding a new class called the SCUM class generation after generation and creates the need for a new balls encyclopedia. What one learns is what one practices.

    I don’t assess people’s class by how much money they have or the cars they own. Leaving aside all the things described in this post there is one thing that sets apart the class difference to me is in what they say or put down in writing and could stand and live up to.

    We could be dragged into classes by what we learn, circumstances, the company we keep or the families we are born into and many other things that may be unpredictable for tomorrow for it is most certainly uncertain. Our wealth was there and gone when the socialist Govt. took it all over under the name Lands Reform.

    We had go get used lesser comforts we never dreamt we would but fortunately my parents had reserves and let us have the best of education that enabled us to move into the class we were so accustomed to. To continue to be in any higher class depends on how much we let our temptation yield into and the amount of patience to lead a modest life with all the resources freely available to throw around.

    That exactly is how we survived to build back the resources we need and continue to be in the Upper class and not one inherited from our forefathers.
    Good education and hard work are twins if separated by surgery will suffer disastrous repercussions. So finally Anjali even though you will certainly succeed in the medical profession you pursue remember not to undertake any surgery on the twins and leave them as they are.

    Taking part in discussions on public forums is not about one having more balls than the other. It is about how much sense there is in a discussion. If anyone can inject some sense into my head I would respect them and certainly NOT feel beaten. The reason and the hidden meaning about my extensive travel was to convey how much sense people have been able to get through in to my head in all those places. Those are lessons I have learnt was education unlimited not normally taught in schools. Lasting human relations go beyond greetings or good manners. I was one who learnt while teaching.

    I feel it is the spirit of a discussion with an element of strategy built into it to obtain necessary results that is important. The amount of productivity of a discussion is defined as the ratio between the input and output.

    God bless you.
  • Anjali
    13.06.12 01:15 AM
    Mr. Rajpriya!

    Oh, my God! I am so sorry :(

    Why didn't you correct me earlier? I feel so embarassed!

    Anyways, once again, it was great meeting you. I really appreciate you for your intellect, wit, and conscientiousness.

    @ Mr. Harry (I hope I'm not mistaken this time :P), thankyou for the appreciation, but talking to your smart friend for so long was prize enough.

    :) :)
  • Rajpriya
    12.06.12 09:40 PM
    Come on Harry. I will go 1000 miles to meet you in your own den dude. I have a burning desire to discuss in person whatever balls they are.

    When I have gulped down 5 Cognac with Ginger Ale you will find me really fun to talk to. One guy laughed so much his jaw got stuck for weeks and every one thought he had permanent sweet smile one his face.
    12.06.12 09:12 PM
    @ Rajpriya

    I would have taken you on an offer, but it's 250miles from where I live now. I will tell you when I'm free and when you are in uk next. It's done deal.

    The thing about balls is to do with Euro2012, thus the wager dude.

    I will have chat with you next.

  • Rajpriya
    12.06.12 08:35 PM

    Well Harry you tend to get entangled with Balls with most of your comments. I don’t want to start matching words with you. You are far better than me when it comes to intimidating. The word Balls does not exist in my vocabulary and if you cut it out from your comments to me I would really appreciate it.

    I can sort my things with anyone my way without the balls talk. When I need your advice I will tell you.

    I say yes to the wager offer on Euro 2012 it is taken. I can meet you in London regardless of who wins. We could have a nice chat. So what do you say?
    12.06.12 08:06 PM
    @ Rajpriya

    Come on, stop busting girls balls, there's no need for that. I was very amused :) that she did matched you a word for word, that's got to be worthy of a prize in my book, bearing in mind that, you can be intimidating at times. :) Today's young girls have bigger balls then boys. That's the proof.

    Don't loose your cool dude, I still like you. just about. :)

    I was going to offer you a wager on Euro2012. Let's say for example if England play and beat Germany, I can have drink on you, and if England loose then, I own you a drink. So what do you say? ? ?

  • Rajpriya
    12.06.12 07:42 PM
    Dear Miss Anjali,

    I too apologize for any kind of wrongdoing in this issue and follow the popular saying in German “Wir haben die Sachen hinter uns” meaning “We have the issue behind us”. In the broader sense says, we won’t look behind us to see where, why or who went wrong now that we are at peace.

    The next important thing is I am very much masculine though my name sounds feminine. From the day I lost my own daughter prematurely born years ago due to inadequate medical facilities I try to do all what can for children in need and more if they are girl children. I engage a lot in their welfare and spread the word to all who want to join me in this endeavor.

    I am not going into those instances where you point out I made them sound sarcastic because I have my own reasons and the matter goes into my deep freezer and wait for the next frivolous one and vow not to get carried away.
    I like to debate on things where we all have different opinions but it is sometimes inevitable we tend to go over the top but, All is well that ends well.

    I am used getting up at all kinds of odd hours because of the time differences between the US, Europe, South Asia and far East because I have online conferences about urgent matters. That’s one reason why I spend a lot of time on the Internet.

    While wishing you all the best for your future, please exonerate me from any intentional offence. Once again “Wir haben die Sachen hinter uns” God bless you.
  • Anjali
    12.06.12 05:10 PM
    Ms. Rajpriya,

    Most part of it was meant to be harmless and humurous, okay, I agree. But the last paragraph that says it's the worst class to belong to compelled me to write my first comment as I really feel it's a very good class - an amalgam of good values and sufficient financial freedom. Anyways, if he doesn't like my commenting on his humurous post, he will say so himself. My last few comments are all going into answering your questions and not blowing his post up.

    Well, I did smell sarcasm and blatancy, but the insult part: no, I didn't feel insulted.

    I agree with you that many intelligent and philanthropic people outside India know quite a bit about poverty here. But we Indians are not far behind either. I am not from the South, so I can't say much about girl child laborours in Tamil Nadu. But yes, in my place there are problems too that are quite visible in everyday life. However, in a chain that talks about the Indian upper-middle class being the worst (or best) class to belong to, I think child labour is a digression from the topic. We upper-middle class Indians don't own tobacco factories and garment manufacturing units to employ little children under inhuman conditions.

    About doctors not being able to travel, I would anyways have agreed with you. The long doctors-in-my-family summary was not required. That's precisely why I confine my discussion to the topic of the post, i.e., UPPER-MIDDLE CLASS IN INDIA. I reiterate, in INDIA. I'm not talking about MNCs employing children or German rescue missions to India.

    I am niether dirty, nor mighty, nor am I powerful and rich. I am just a simple young girl dwelling in an upper-middle class society that I feel is an excellent place to live in. Don't confuse my upper-middle class for rich and powerful. We aren't aristocrats or politicians out here. Nor are we MNC owners employing children.

    My remark to you wasn't meant to be scornful. I don't even think I provoked you to play match thy words.

    Now as you say "The little education I have.." or similar phrases in all of your posts, alongside mentioning your job spanning nations and oversees education, Madam, who wouldn't smell sarcasm and a taunting tone? Leave alone smelling sarcasm, I can clearly see sarcasm here.

    That was it for the argument part. Now, since it's the end of our week long discussion I'd like to accept that I thoroughly enjoyed playing this fight of words with you. I was quite surprised in the first place that you took the time to post prompt replies here, given the fact that you are a busy lady with many responsibilities. My comments sure must have been quite provocative. :)

    Also, I'd like to apologize for any hurt feelings or rudeness on my behalf since I am much younger than you. I am a young student, just out of undergrad school and looking for a good University for higher studies for myself. I work part-time as a web content writer and that's how I came across this page.

    I loved having an intelligent conversation with you on a frivolous topic. :P

    All the best for all your philanthropic and other endeavours.
  • Rajpriya
    12.06.12 03:50 PM
    @Jyoti Agarwal

    I am not going to be influenced by your likes and dislikes in this matter. I don’t own this post. I have the right to answer questions as long as they are addressed to me.

    I think she can speak for herself without your interference. I will let her have the final say and end this issue and reserve my rights to disagree if it is not acceptable and will not waste one more word on it. If you read the last sentence of my post above my intention must be clear to you and not because you say so.
  • Jyoti Agarwal
    Jyoti Agarwal
    12.06.12 02:24 PM

    I kind of dislike the fact that you tend to own a post and reply on author's behalf (without asking for his/her permission) while the author is meant to do so.

    As far as Anjali's views are concerned, I believe it is everybody's right to express ones thought over a piece of write-up. That doesn't make her a spokesperson of the entire community. If you dislike the fact, its ok. Just accept it the way it is!
  • Rajpriya
    12.06.12 11:43 AM
    @Ms. Anjali,

    I reiterate that I said:

    “How would he have known that you are the spokes person for the entire Upper middle class of India?” That was not disputing your eligibility. But I will not take yours as a popular opinion even if you have one.

    You are trying blow out of proportion a harmless and humorous article written by Mr. Tadinada. You smell sarcasm; see blatancy and feel insulted by my question to Mr. Tadinada about economy and business tickets while trying to defend your upper middle classiness.

    However I would like to bring to your notice that many people outside India know more about the “Exploitation of the poor in India” and the class struggle than you would admit. If you do care to Google search under that title you would know how much of India is exposed to the outside world. The links below and one is by an Indian lady.
    Exploitation of child labourers in India
    By T. Kala


    The entire German village where I live is behind me in our rescue missions of the vulnerable (not charity) and most of them have visited India more than once and each one supports children directly.

    16 of my close relations are Doctors 7 of them (Ladies) in the US; two are my own brothers’ daughters. 9 of them in Southern India two of them my own sisters’ daughters. Some of them feel that being in the medical profession leaves them hardly any time to travel as much as me.

    We are seriously thinking of investing in a hospital for the poor in a southern town and some Doctors from Germany have shown interest in doing honorary work. If it materializes I sure will let you know. There is already a Dentist from Germany in South India and Kerala moving from one village to another with his mobile lab treating the poor. Dr. Dieter Münchensang.

    I don’t ---- my nose into any business of dirty, the mighty, the powerful and the rich. "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned / Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."

    I am not going match the words you chose to provoke me because the little education I have had taught me to show restraint even under extreme and threatening circumstances giving me the satisfaction of being the better person.

    If you answer this you have had the final word.
  • Anjali
    11.06.12 07:06 PM

    If I am not eligible to be spokes person of the entire Indian upper-middle class, nobody on the post is. And especially not you since you haven't been living here for the last many years.

    And I too mean modest behaviour, decent intellect, and polished etiquette when I say "educated". Times are changing (even here in India) and we all realize that the person matters more than his/her paper qualifications.

    If you don't want to belong to any class, why did you mention those economy-business class tickets and so blatantly asked "Which class do I belong to?" I'm sorry but I don't have a very good understanding of sarcasm, if it was meant to be that way.

    Cars: Dear Madam, do you understand the fundamental difference between India and Germany? Here, not every adult owns a car. But fortunately, even middle class and lower-middle class families have started owning a car now, thanks to Mr. Tata. It came as a surprise to me as well when Mr. Tadinada wrote "Leave your two-wheeler and loan money to buy a car, in order to appear upper-middle class". Ask him how he feels a car makes you upper-middle class, not me. My view was just that these vehicles are for your comfort and not for appearing 'upper-middle class'.

    Employment in my office: I don't think you are qualified because we are into the medical profession. You are not a doctor, are you?

    For your good deed, without a tinge of sarcasm - I say, congratulations. You're a wonderful person. But you'll have to be disappointed because there are no underage children working in my house. One thing to make you happy: My cook, a middle-aged lady, has a son studying to be an engineer. Isn't it better to make people capable enough to fund their things themselves than to fund education for them as charity?

    You polish your own shoes? How outrageous a thought it is that we people in India get young children to do it for us!! Lady, do you really think we live in the 1950s Bollywood movie scenario where poor exploited children polish the shoes of big seth jis? I pity you for thinking of us that way.

    Envy is only a natural human quality. You have great cars (For every member of the family in every class) - this is because it's the trend there and you probably need them. You have cleaner surroundings, better roads, uninterrupted power, and many other things that we in India don't get always.

    Same way, we have domestic help because it's the trend here (although it's beginning to fade - help is hard to find and is quite expensive too). Can you just let us be this way? Or do you want to poke your nose in our business and pretend to liberate our doemstic helps who in your opinion are subjected to a life of slavery, drudgery, and exploitation by the Indian upper-middle class?

    Hell of a life... hmmm I kind of don't like the expression. Could you say heaven of a life? Yes, I am living one!! And I am genuinely happy. I don't envy your German cars and clean roads either as I am happy with what I have here :)

    By the way, I'd have loved to own a sunflower yellow Beetel, people say it's outdated and it's tad too expensive in India. But I love the curves. :P It must be a common car in Germany no?
  • Rajpriya
    11.06.12 10:23 AM
    @Ms. Anjali,

    Mr. Jayanth Tadinada wrote his observations and the differences between the Middle class and the Upper middle class and their behavior. The article certainly was not about you in the first place.

    How would he have known that you are the spokes person for the entire Upper middle class of India?

    In my case I let people who constantly have to do something with me in my day to day life: for example my family, my friends, the people in my working environment, and most people whom I meet under strange circumstances decide if I am educated and have pleasing ways not my paper qualifications. I don’t belong to any class. I want to belong to world class and constantly remind me of this fact to control my behavior.

    Yes I was educated in London and New York (That may be much lower than yours) and live in Germany for four decades in my own house. last 20 years work in 5 different countries as a consultant and my customers always send me business class return tickets (all long distances). When I have to pay myself then it’s economy and sometimes business class. The shortest distance I fly is from Düsseldorf to London at least 5 times a year always Eco not worth paying three times higher for a half an hour flight and hardly any difference in the seats.

    You tell me about making easy money working in Germany. In the company I tell my son to employ people cleverer than us. No wonder we are successful.

    I did not understand what you mean by:

    “Then about middle-class things: A car is only to make us more comfortable, safer, and to save us from the pollution outside.

    Irrespective of class almost every one over 18 years in Germany owns a car.

    If ever I need employment in your office where you say you employ more people I will send my CV for you to decide if I have enough education to work for you.

    By the way I pulled two children out of domestic employment and fund their education that includes clothing in southern India when I read the article “All work and no play for these girls” years ago. I would be more than happy to fund any underage children working for you any time.

    In Germany we cook good food, polish our shoes take care of our clothes ourselves. I really envy your class having everything done by others and happy I don’t belong to it. I admit you are really living a hell of a life.
  • Anjali
    11.06.12 03:07 AM
    Dear Ms. Rajpriya,

    I said, they earn money by working hard. I didn't say they are the ONLY ones that earn money by working hard. I'm trying to explain here that they get the best of both worlds in a way - the good middle-class value of not spending unnecessarily, and the freedom to fulfill many of your wants (if not all).

    "They love the brands": Some do, others don't. Most can afford many of those brands out there. So it's an advantage. At the end of the day being able to get things of your taste matters - whether they come from brand or bazaar we love them both.

    Valuing yourself as an individual means: I know I am well-educated, diligent, and have a good personna. These attributes make me feel good about myself. So I don't need to be a walking billboard to enhance what I am worth.

    "When you own a car you come down to middle class because they make you safe and help you out of pollution." - Please pardon me on this. I don't understand.

    For low domestic wages: I cannot include all upper-middle class people here, but many of us are particularly caring about those who work for us. For instance, paying for their commuting costs, giving them free sanitizers etc. For the domestic help: clothes and shoes in excellent condition, good food (same as we eat), and sometimes medical expenses as well.

    Coming down to your flight: It really depends on the distance and the airlines. And also on your age: if you are young and need to save money, it's perfectly alright to fly economy. You will still be called upper-middle class for your education and good job (I presume you do have one).
  • Rajpriya
    10.06.12 09:30 PM

    You should have known better: That only the highly educated people in India earn their money working hard. Being in the upper middle class you love the brands but not necessarily become walking billboards. That exactly makes them different from the business class. I truly would like to learn about understanding attaching individual values.

    Then about the middle-class things: When you own a car you come down to middle class because they make you safe and help you out of pollution. You can easily spot the Upper middle class person by the number of domestic aide they employ that certainly contributes to social welfare of poor class and that is no exploitation (cheap labor) of the poor class. Though they pay them the lowest wages they compensate by involving in a little bit of charity. Isn’t that fair enough for their generosity?

    They also employ more people in their office even though they are not business class people. So much for this confusion over Poor class, Middle class, the Upper middle class and the Business class.

    Anyway I am flying Business class in two weeks. I paid for Economy class but as a frequent flyer had enough miles to upgrade. So to which class do I fall into?
  • keerthana
    10.06.12 06:21 PM
    Like Maya Sarabhai puts it, "Uff! So upper middle class" :D
  • Anjali
    10.06.12 01:48 AM
    Dear Mr. Tadinada,

    I think you are terribly mistaken on the concept being upper-middle class. It's not the worst, it's the best class to belong to.

    Here is how:

    It comrises highly educated individuals who are not aristocrats. All their money is hard-earned and so they know how to value it. So even if you love brands and can afford most of them, you never really become walking billboards. Upper-middle class people do not obsess over brand names the way business-class people do. We attach enough individual value to ourselves and don't need brands to dictate our personality. Even if we can afford luxury brands and buy them when we want to, we are not ashamed of things that we buy from the colorful bazaars or flea markets of India. Good tastes matter most. We appreciate the decor of our friend's home or the way they dress paying the least heed to what brand their beautiful things come from.

    Then about middle-class things: A car is only to make us more comfortable, safer, and to save us from the pollution outside. NOT for any kind of show-off. Besides, we do use public transport when it's efficient, comfortable, and saves time.

    And as far as being alienated from the rest of the world is concerned, we are much more aware about middle class and lower class problems than our richer counterparts probably are. We contribute to social welfare in more ways than one - a) We pay higher taxes on our incomes b) We employ more people in our homes and offices c) We are involved in a bit of charity (May be the sums wouldn't be as large as the rich people's)

    As for needs and wants: All our needs are met - true. All our wants would never be met - Okay, but whose are met, anyways? Haven't you heard the idiom - "Zarrortein fakhiron ki bhi poori ho jaati hain... Khwainshey shehzadon ki bhi adhoori reh jaati hain".

    By the way, carrying a backpack is a fashion faux pas (school and college students and backpackers are the exceptions of course). Have you heard of masculine satchel bags? And don't worry, even mid-range brands make them!

    Sorry, the last one has nothing to do with the discussion, just comes inevitably due to my love for fashion. :)
  • ghanchakkar
    09.06.12 09:44 PM
    Perfect sarcastic post on "upper" middle class.

    In becoming something else we are forgetting ourselves.

    "Be- Never try to become " :)
  • Antarik
    08.06.12 01:42 PM
    Haha..I loved reading this. Amazing observations. :)
  • Rajpriya
    07.06.12 07:49 PM
    I feel we should all stop laughing at anything funny (only in India) because those poor children are dying in the third world countries, take the next flight over to those countries and stop them die. Who makes the start?
  • A Singh
    A Singh
    07.06.12 06:33 PM
    @shailu - I think you have had a major sense of humour failure. Not sure exactly what your objection is but think you need to get out more and do something constructive with your own time.

    @Jayanth - brilliant piece, btw
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    07.06.12 06:30 PM
    @shailu: Could you be more specific?

    @Sunil Deepak: Thank you sir :)
  • Sunil Deepak
    Sunil Deepak
    07.06.12 05:37 PM
    Yes, this article in poor taste! Making us laugh so much while all those poor kids die in third world countries! :)
  • shailu
    07.06.12 05:29 PM
    mindless article.spend ur time on something constructive.really dismal article.waste of time and energy
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    07.06.12 04:15 PM
    @Sundeep: Thanks

    @Praveena: Baaga chepparu... andaru appu chesi pappu koodae beraale :)
  • praveena
    07.06.12 03:52 PM
    that Rich class promotion remains loans n credit card bills only not assets(pulini chusi naka vathalu oetukunatlu , utiki egarlenama akasaniki egirinatlu -Telugu proverb)
  • Sundeep
    07.06.12 01:11 PM
    Nicely written. This article made me laugh :).
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    07.06.12 11:54 AM
    @Rajpriya: It is true that globalization made the economies of the world more fragile... in the sense, anything from riots in Tunisia to the political climate in Israel could potentially affect the stock markets around the world because everything is connected.
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    07.06.12 11:46 AM
    @Rajpriya: As always... thanks :)
  • Rajpriya
    07.06.12 11:20 AM
    Correction: A friend of mine’ wife’s CREDIT CARD was stolen. When I asked him if he had informed the bank to stop it being used he said NO. When I asked him why he told me he was happy the thief was spending lot less than his wife.
  • Rajpriya
    07.06.12 10:35 AM
    @Jayanth aka g2

    Es war Humor extra Klasse, Sehr witzig und ich habe nur kaputt gelacht. Meaning your article was humor extra class, really funny and I broke myself laughing.

    My grandfather may have been in a position to afford many luxuries available in his time but even though he owned of lots of land his income would have been one twenty fifth of mine today. However, the times he lived through were devoid of technology and fashion and he did not live in London.

    Plenty of essential commodities were available at a fraction of today’s prices and oil prices did not affect price increases of essential commodities during their time.

    To what class we belong today depends on, letting us be pressurized by others to keep up with the Jones’ and by how much we could be extravagant and if our extravagance pushes us into a lower class. Increasing our income by being well employed and modest spending could give us comforts we are all dreaming all the time. I know I could afford things that I could not have afforded 40 years ago.

    If people are smarter they won’t need smart phones. Smart people use technology only if it could make money and not as a means for showing off. Money can’t buy friends but you can blessed with a better class of enemy. Money may not buy everything but it can make your miseries a lot more bearable.

    A friend of mine’ wife’s credit was stolen. When I asked him if he had informed the bank to stop it being used he said NO. When I asked him why he told me he was happy the thief was spending lot less than his wife.
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    07.06.12 02:26 AM
    If you say five star,
    Upper middleclass you are :p
    06.06.12 10:24 PM
    @ Jayanth

    Nice article, :) but, I do have a question, lets say, if all the above is not covered by you, are you still middle class? bearing in mind, you run up a beer bill in new Delhi 5* hotel for two night at cost of 15000 rupees and then hustle with fruit vendor on the price of banana from 50 rupees to 40 rupees. I'm lost, I don't know where I fit now.

  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    06.06.12 09:22 PM
    @ravi, @Vivek, @Giribala: Thanks :)
  • Giribala
    06.06.12 07:48 PM
    Great insight, g2!!!
  • vivek
    06.06.12 06:53 PM
    Nice observation. Really hilarious.
  • ravi
    06.06.12 06:45 PM
    Kathi laga cheppavu baasu....kevvu keka anthe
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    06.06.12 06:23 PM
    @Sonali: You're also 'Going over to the dark side' eh?

    Yes, following European Club football would put you in that league. :p

    International football is different though.
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    06.06.12 05:44 PM
    @Violet in Twilight: OMG... "Murse" in India on a bicycle? Where? I need to get that imagery removed from my brain through laser surgery now!
  • Sonali
    06.06.12 05:15 PM
    OMG! you've covered almost everything bang on! and to my utter horror I realized I'm slowly turning into one of them when I innocently thought I was just enjoying my upgraded pay package.

    btw does tweeting, and tweeting about football and tennis also make one an upper middle class in the virtual world?
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    06.06.12 04:28 PM
    @Noel: Er, I don't have a smart phone. I prefer dumb phones with a one week battery life :)

    @hunk: Spot on... I wonder how I forgot to mention that!

    @Nilanjana Bose: Thanks :) ... yes, travel and hobbies deserve a special post in itself. Wait for the next part.

    @veby: Of course, technology and things like that should never be blamed. Exactly, a whole new culture that equates the worth of a person to his/her appearance or the kind of gadgets he owns is being aggressively pushed through the media and entertainment outlets and they have been quite successful too in making a section of the population very brand conscious.
  • Nilanjana Bose
    Nilanjana Bose
    06.06.12 03:18 PM
    Utterly brilliant! Hits the nail right on the head - walking billboard, loved that!

    Perhaps you could elaborate abt the holiday habits of UMC's as well, is it okay for UMC to take holidays inside India or not? :)
  • Noel
    06.06.12 03:09 PM
    btw if you're worried about carrying a bag around for your kindle.. you should get the kindle app for Iphone/android (judging by the fact that you're 'upper-middle class', i'm assuming you have one of these devices) :)
  • Veby
    06.06.12 03:07 PM
    Yup @Jayantha!!! But I would say "Simplicity is the most beautiful form one could ever acquire and it doesn't reside in hi-fi brands and all. Actually change in time has blessed us with numerous changes and, consequently Brandization and terms like Upper Middle Class occurred and it's not bad somehow. But just check around and find toward whom we are pointing our fingers? Don't we have different frame of mind over people having big names Van Huesen or Gucci in their wardrobes? We are actually poor people, hungry people trying to compete with flashing lights of modern standard of life today, aka Upper Middle Class. :)
  • hunk
    06.06.12 02:55 PM
    Buying iphones and ipads and complaining the app costs 50-100 bucks
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    06.06.12 02:17 PM
    @sourav: Thanks :)

    @veby: Yeah.. that empathy is culturally going away (or may be it never existed and I am realizing it now) People who ought to feel empathy are feeling embarrassed that the things are not beautiful enough to look at.

    @Jyoti Agarwal: Yes.. it is your upper middleclass-ness that is to blame :P
  • Jyoti Agarwal
    Jyoti Agarwal
    06.06.12 01:29 PM
    I often wonder where does all the money I (and my husband) earn vanishes. Its strange how we find it difficult to survive in a salary that is almost 5 times the money our parents used to make. Needles to mention they managed easily with that amount.

    Now I realized, it is all the fault of the upper middle class to which we belong ;-)
  • Veby
    06.06.12 01:26 PM
    But I think people reside across a Poor country could never entitle as Rich or Upper Middle Class!! And anyone in doubt over India, visit internal roots of our Incredible India or better say, third world. In my terms Upper Middles Class is nothing but just a scurrilous show off of wealth in a country where still a huge population have no food, no shelter, no education and nothing except a starving life ahead!!!! I am not against this new lifestyle or hi-tech standards of modern living but at least keep some humanity alive yet...
  • Sourav Roy
    Sourav Roy
    06.06.12 01:24 PM
    "Upper middle class is a meaningless term created by the rich to keep the middle class from joining with the lower class when the revolution comes!"

    Loved the flow! It started on personal lines, went on to generalize and then again ended on a personal note. The ending was especially good :)

    Excellent article!
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    06.06.12 12:58 PM
    It's not even a dilemma for most.

    The upper middleclass increasingly spend their lives completely disconnected from the poverty, inequality and ground realities of the country (and the world) they live in.
  • Veby
    06.06.12 12:44 PM
    Superb job Jayanth!! You perfectly described this dramatic dilemma drilling us(the third world people) each moment. I feel,affordability and sensibility must matter all-how, however, seems like this branded-at-any-cost trend doesn't require any concern. And after squandering every single out of our wallet and clock, how could it be possible to find even a jiffy and penny to spend thinking over those 700 succumbing kids! Regardless or worthless. Isn't it so?
  • Jayanth Tadinada
    Jayanth Tadinada
    06.06.12 12:35 PM
    @Angela: Thanks!

    Yes, this is a beginner's level post. Those things will be covered in the advanced level ;)
  • Violet in Twilight
    Violet in Twilight
    06.06.12 11:07 AM
    Go 'Artsy' upper class and carry around a 'murse' (Man - purse). Riding bicycle with messenger bag murse is ultimate in cool (and upper middle class signaling).

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