Paper Marshallogue [EXPERIMENT] – Day 17

I’ve held off writing about this until now because I know it’s a delicate subject. At the same time, though, it’s something that’s been on my mind this entire trip so I feel like it wouldn’t be honest of me not to share at least some of it.

The issue is this: money. Specifically, how much do people have here? As I’ve traveled around the country, buying things, bartering and haggling for prices, tipping when it felt appropriate, and giving freely as needs seemed to present themselves, I’ve wondered how much is enough. How much is too much? How much is too little? What’s a lot of money to these people? What’s too much for them to see me spend or withdraw or give away?

I’ve wondered some variation of these questions almost every time I’ve dealt with money here in India, which is pretty often since I’ve been eating out the whole time and staying in hotels and hostels and using various forms of public transportation and rentals.

The thing is, even back in Kentucky, I think my monthly savings rate is high compared to my peers, high to the point of making people feel embarrassed if or when they find out. If that’s the case in America, I know it’s far worse over here.

I can’t reveal everything. I try not to reveal much at all really. But I continue to wonder how much I’m expected to have, pay, spend, and give away.