Me: So it's my birthday tomorrow, you know. I'm thinking of getting something I've really wanted for a long time.
Rags: What do you want?
M: A nice camera, something semi-DSLRish
R: And you want a camera because...
M: Always wanted one. I think there is a budding photographer in me. Some of the shots I took with Rahul's DSLR were awesome. Imagine what I could be doing with a little practice.
R: 3 things - First, there is something known as beginners luck. Secondly, any random shot with a DSLR looks good to a guy who has seen only point-and-shoot cameras in his life. Thirdly, those were awesome? Don't kid yourself.
M: Hey, that's mean!
R: Ok son, how much are we talking about for this 'little practice' sessions?
M: Around 25k. But it's totally worth it. I mean, you buy a camera like this only once, right? If I don't buy it now, imagine the number of photo ops I will be missing out on. And I'll be missing many years that I could have used to hone my photography skills.
R: So let me break this down - you want to take pictures, hence you want a camera. Good. But why do you want to buy a camera. You know I heard this kind of arguments from Raj before he bought his ultra expensive camera. He disregarded my advice and now it's gathering dust in his cupboard. Why don't you borrow it from him for a week or so? He will be more that willing to lend it to you. Keeps the moving parts in the camera working.
M: Hey, why do you have to be such a damp squib? I didn't ask you for objective analysis of the options available to me. I should have just talked to Badri. He wouldn't have spoiled my enthu with eminently well-reasoned arguments against buying a camera.
R: Son, haven't you heard of the recession sweeping across the globe? Trust me, you need the cash now. Buy whatever you want a year from now. Not now.
M: Hmm. You're right. I won't buy the camera. I think I'll buy an iPod. eBay has some great offers, plus they have given me some good vouchers.
R: Don't you see what's happening here? You've fallen into the consumerist trap prepared for people with disposable income like you. You really don't need anything. You just need to splurge on some gadget to feel good on your birthday. Go watch a good movie, go for a trek, have a good dinner, take a stroll on the beach. There are tonnes of stuff you can treat yourself with on your birthday.
M: Shit! I should have not talked to you at all.
So I ended up not buying anything for myself. Just like all the 24 birthdays before this one. I was seriously beginning to become one of them - people who think spending money on expensive and
PS: I just realized that if I applied this logic to all my purchases, I'd be living the life of an hermit. And Rags is going to B-school this fall. I wonder how he will encourage consumer spending as a future business leader.