Gitanjali Diwakar is a journalist with The Hindu Businessline. In her words, she is 'a Jack of many trades and a master of a few'. She enjoys reading a wide range of books, including fiction and philosophy. Her greatest passions, however, are culture and performing arts.

Gitanjali Diwakar

Rising prices, lighter pockets, and independence

Gitanjali Diwakar | Updated on March 02, 2021

File photo   -  Stas_V

A few important life lessons amid rising prices

Life seems to have returned to a state of normalcy in my little world. From being cocooned at home, I am back to my place of work, in a city that knows no pandemic (or so it seems!). So, what changed? Honestly, a lot.  

Sure, my parents are the reason behind the home that I hold closes to my heart. But, staying away from your comfort zone is an art. It is all about find that balance between what you need, what you want and what you desire. It took me nine months to realise what I truly needed – freedom and peace. No, this is no political op-ed. But the tale of trying to make ends meet in a less stressful manner. 

Two days prior to the departure from my home town, I asked my elder brother if it would be ‘over ambitious’ to own a car and live far away from the city. To my surprise, he said ‘no’ and was happy about my decision to move to an apparent suburb of Chennai. It was more heartening to see how my father assured me of his support and used all his resources to help me find the right car.  

My decision to move to a new place and own a vehicle had a come at time when the fuel prices were deemed to be at its highest. Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic was still lingering around. Thus, began the never-ending saga of concerns, cynicism, criticism and commentary.   

For at least a month, I was debating the decision of purchasing a second-hand car versus a brand-new car. While bank managers rejoiced and dealers prayed hard, the so-called friends, extended family and of course random nobodies poured out their long-lost concerns about my decisions. Who would have imagined that owning a mobile non-living thing and moving to simpler surroundings would be a matter of national attention! 

Here are a few lessons that I have learnt along the way: 

  1. If you choose to own a vehicle, it is your business and nobody else’s. I decided to buy a car that fit my budget, was easy to maneuver and had all the safety features that I wanted. Sure, there are safer cars. So what? Those cars will not be kind on my wallet, which rather light even without a car. A vehicle is like a pet that does not breathe. It becomes a part of you and you learn to either love it or dislike it. As for me, I enjoy driving around in my vehicle and happy. 
  2. Life is expensive. After spending over a decade sharing spaces with total strangers, I believe in my own space. Yes, LPG prices are on the rise, so is fuel. Electric vehicles can help save the environment, provided your city has sufficient charging points. There are many aspects that are not under your control. I could always opt for public transport (which I intend on doing so after being vaccinated). But all these are YOUR CHOICES! 
  3. A home is where the heart lies. If home is going to be a long drive from work. so may it be. For no matter where you are, nothing calms you down more than the scent of your own space. Being 'your own master' is rather liberating.

Personally, I have scrounged, adapted, adjusted and tolerated a fair share (again, not as much as some others would have to). But, being independent to me is about feeling in control of your decisions and personality. I am truly grateful to my family whose faith has taken me this far. Now, I am happy, free and at peace. All of which, is worth than money can buy. 

Published on March 02, 2021

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