Will a cash prize make one happy?
Many think it will. I too did, but I have now switched sides.
Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.
The philosophy that wealth does not necessarily mean or bring in happiness seemed inane, until this simple incident took place quite recently in our life.
We won a cash prize in a contest – though not a jackpot, an amount more than my monthly salary. It was surprise money that came along as a blessing during the back-to-school season, a time when our pockets are almost reduced to sieves. I was supposed to be happy. Instead, after the initial spark of excitement, it made me unsettled.
It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.
I am not at all greedy. For me there is nothing more detestable than owing money to someone, and never have I tried to amass money compromising on my valuable time and health, in spite of the myriad opportunities.
But this took us unawares. After we were informally informed about the contest results, we had to wait for about a month to finally receive the cheque. All the time I constantly suspected it to be a prank, because I had never believed in cash prizes! No wonder I never participated in the contests too. Here, the initiative was taken by my daughter who, unlike me, is optimistic and has faith. Let her never lose that trait!
Meanwhile, we couldn’t resist counting the chickens. It was vacation time and we did a bit of shopping – only some necessary and affordable household items. (I have made up my mind to keep mum on the disputes that cropped up on what to buy.) However, to be frank, they were not our priorities and we would have got by without them for another few months, had it not been for this anticipated amount.
Instead of delighting me, the sight of the newly purchased items ruffled me!
I tried to soothe myself thinking: Why are you so tensed about the money? You were not expecting this amount. It is not the money you have lent someone. You can survive even without this. So take it when or if it comes. Or better forget all about it.
At last the dream materialised. I tried to decipher my feelings when I got hold of the cheque – utter indifference! The unpleasant scenes we have been through had put out all the fizz.
I could feel my thoughts undergoing yet another distasteful transformation: After all it is just a month’s salary. It may help us cover up the deficits in the family budget this month – just this month. There are no more contests coming up next month. Even if there is one, chances will be pretty slim.
Had the prize sown seeds of avarice in me? I should never let that happen.
Another worry: The victory was a fluke, not the fruit of our toil. Is this a bad omen to some imminent crisis in our life?
The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.
I don’t mind getting an incentive bonus or a better placement. Just let me regularly get what I am normally entitled to. That’s my prayer.
The cheque is still lying there in the drawer. No one really seems to be eager to encash it. Well, we shall wait for another week. Anyway it is now all ours. As if it had been ours all the time.
Have you ever won a cash prize? If yes, do share with me how you felt.