Yesterday I was having a conversation with an Indian friend. She grew up in a poor family but never considered herself as poor. She commented, if an American comes to her parents place today, he/she will consider them as poor. She had an interesting and passionate opinion on 'insider-outsider perspective', coming from an anthropologist.
This exactly has been my experience too, and so has been of many of my other friends. Looking back some of the places we lived in would even be considered as 'slums'. But our focus was not so much on our finances, or lack of it. Well, there were times when it was an annoying issue, may be on the day when I would not be able to join a picnic for Rs 10 (or was it 20), and insensitive Sister my class teacher made fun of me in front of the whole class, saying look she is so poor.
But then it was not all consuming. Adults make it so, I guess. We didn't have terms for calling ourselves poor, or have self-pity for that. We were busy in our little joys and happiness. The unique gifts we had in ourselves, our family members, our circumstances.
Some of the things definitely need to change everywhere, there is no denial about it. Yes good education was the best thing to be available, along with a set of not-so-pushy parents. Reading was enjoyable, play was good, arts was fun, watching the big tree near my house was best. Most of us would have felt bitter if an outsider had come offering some help, making us so aware that money is our problem. More than money our live's well-being or quality of life was determined by something else.
I think we all need to broaden our vision... what is a good life!