Like a kid in a candy store. I stood in his driveway and stared at the big beautiful house. An artistic combinations of stone and white marble stands out. The large glass windows are tastefully embedded all over – like in a palace. A manicured front yard and a professional landscape add to the appeal.
His corner-house sits in one of the upper-scale and most affluent residential areas of West Chicago suburbs. As I walked inside the double-door entrance with marble sidings, I quickly realized that the inside of the mansion is even more impressive and prettier that outside view. There are large bifurcating staircases leading to the upper storey; there are multiple bathrooms on the main floor; the open ceiling concept has a catwalk that overlooks the family room; the kitchen alone is bigger than a decent size luxury apartment. If you look at the size of house, you would think that some millionaire lives here.
Maybe, he is a millionaire; but it is hard to guess his wealth out of his humble disposition and a very friendly nature.One of my friends had introduced me to him last week during a wedding reception. And, before I knew he invited me to come by the next week-end for ‘some tea or drinks’ – as he put it.
After a brief chit-chat, I asked him about his occupation. I knew he was not working much currently, but I was very curious to find out where he got the big bucks to build that big mansion.
“One second, be right back”, he briefly went into the kitchen and came back with two cups of hot tea – steam still evaporating around the rim.
“It was a good job, a very good job. Only 15 minutes drive from the house,” he reflected on his past occupation, the cup of tea resting on his thigh as he leaned back in the easy-chair.
For 15 years, I found out, Ramesh had worked for an electronics company as a quality controller. He does not have any special technical education – engineering degree or anything else of the sort.
“I started on the assembly line, but I was promoted to the supervisor within years”, there is a tone of happiness and pride in his voice as he walks down the memory lane.
“Everybody appreciated what I did for the company. I used to get letters of recognition all the way from Japan – our headquarters.”
“So, what happened?” I asked curiously.
“Outsourcing!” he did not feel any further need to explain. But then, after a brief pause, he spoke with a somber voice, “they did not need us anymore, they found cheaper ways to do what we did, in other countries!”
“Oh, I see!” I did not know what else to say.
For the past 4 years Ramesh has struggled to find a decent job. Most of the jobs that need his skills are outsourced. After trying for years, he gave up on the job market, and tried to do what one of his best friends does – real estate agent. Continue reading