Poor, rich, love

Reza Marvasti

What is the scale to define poor, rich, and love! These thoughts all started last night when I was chatting with Sohnia, having a laugh at our life and I said “we are poor now, and we have a great life! hahaha”

As I said this sentence, a loud noise started in my head “we are poor! Are we actually poor right now? Well it has been a very long time since either one of us has made a dime. Our money is running out very fast. We are living on budget…” These thoughts and noise got stuck with me until today evening on the way back from our project, when it just hit me.

While I was sitting in the metro on the way to home, after a hot, tiring day, dazed off and lost in the noises in my head, I noticed the children on the seats in front of me. Their beautiful, innocent faces reminded me of the 4 children that joined us today to volunteer. They joined us because they wanted that the students of this school, also get to play like they can in their school’s playground. That reminded me of Deepak, the 8 years old that has been staying after school everyday to help us with what he can, and feed us the Shahtoots that he picks up from the tree. That brought a flash back of those orphan children in South Sudan refugee camps that shovelled and worked tirelessly to have their playgrounds…

These little souls are always up for sharing and loving. Sohnia and I have been so lucky to be in their service and learn from them. They are the purest state of love! Age, colour, language, and gender don’t mean anything to them but love, play, and share! I can not have done anything more valuable with my life. Monetary gains has not made me rich. Accumulation of things never made me feel rich. However, now I am the richest I have ever been.


We recently visited the Taj Mahal – a worldwide symbol of love and devotion. I spent the evening watching Taj Mahal glowing gold in sunrise and couldn’t help but wonder about the authenticity of its story… Building a structure that costed millions of rupees 400 years ago to show your love for another person after her death (to put the value into perspective, it was estimated in 2015 the construction cost was around US$827 million). Was this done more for a display of wealth and power, and to be remembered in history as the man who did such a great act for his true love? Or was it truly done for love? Can we really show “love” with things? This beautifully placed pile of bricks, marble, and other materials which is now the grave to Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, sits just as intact as it was at the time of its completion in 1653. Does Taj Mahal matter to either of them now? My guess: no, probably not.

Was there anything that Shah Jahan could have done or just said to his lover before her death at the cost of zero dollars, which would be even more invaluable and expressive to her than building her the nicest grave?

How ironic, the most money ever spent to express love, is now the grave to the lovers.

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