Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, seniors, friends, and later girlfriends, everyone simply loved me. Life was just beautiful. In school, I was good in studies, sports and extra curricular activities.
Dad's business was thriving and we were used to the best in life. We lived in a palatial house, went to the best school in town, dined in fine restaurants on weekends with dad's friends and had a chauffeur driven limousine to drop my sister and me to school everyday. Once in a couple of years, we would have a foreign holiday. What more could one ask for in life At least, that is what I thought when I entered my teens.
Then, one day, it was all gone. Yes, my beautiful world came down in front of me like a pack of cards. I was fourteen then, and did not quite understand the finer aspects of the business. Till that day, I had not bothered about the kind of business my father was into. On that fateful day, I heard people talk about the crash in the stock markets. I heard my father's friends sympathizing with my father.
To the family's utter shock, my father told us that we were bankrupt. The stock markets had been very rising for the past few months and being an over-optimist, my father had taken a huge loan to make some more money. Alas, that day there was a crash in the stock markets; news of a recession had been there since a few months, and now the changed government policies were out. We had no savings to bank upon as everything was invested in stocks, their values had come down drastically and there were no buyers. We waited and watched for a few weeks. But, it was a losing battle. The interest on the loans was increasing, there was no money left to take care of day-to-day expenditures, there was no one we could turn to for help. My dad's friends seemed to be the fair weather kind. A majority of them had also suffered setbacks, a few of them were ready to help, but being a self-respecting soul my father did not want to further increase the burden which was already so heavy on his frail shoulders.
The " hard facts" of life were out!! From a millionaire's family, we were reduced to a family that could hardly sustain itself. My first reaction was anger. I was very angry: angry at everything. The circumstances, the stock markets, the government, the bank which had given my father a loan, the government whose changed policies had led to this doom in our lives, the people who were not buying my fathers' stocks: in short, at everything. More was to come. We had to sell our limousine, our palatial house, the furniture, the antiques, and jewellery, almost everything dear to us to make both ends meet. We had to move to a neighborhood, which we never seen or been to earlier. We hung our heads in shame and moved into our new home, which was a small, rickety two- room apartment in a run down locality. My father would silently cry at night and my mother would try to reassure him.
Some more " hard facts " were to come. All my father's friends and relatives started avoiding us. We were rarely invited to parties and get-togethers. We were shifted to a local school, which was a humble one, compared to the elite one we were attending earlier.
Wherever I went, I could hear people discussing my father and our family. There would be hushed whispers as I entered any room. Gradually I learnt that people held my father's over optimism, lack of foresight