Trashy iPhones, Ugly selfies and Poverty

Written by Aryan Mishra

Take a good look at the picture above. This is how poor Indians are.  India is a place where people find their meals in trash cans. This is just another problem India struggles with. Despite people living in such poor conditions, here we are complaining about how it took the wi-fi 10 seconds more to load or whining about how ugly we are in a facebook picture.

According to BBC news, an estimated 357,600,000 people live in extreme poverty in India live on 4.88 RM per day. That amounts to 1781.2 RM every year. 1781.2 RM is not even enough to buy the “out of fashion,” iPhone 5, which costed 2,533.70 RM in 2012. Despite this, people don’t even hesitate to spend 2,533.70 RM even though it is far more than what some people in India earn annually. Additionally, 63 million people have no access to clean and drinking water, and 300 million people don’t have access to electricity. That’s not even mentioning the people who usually find their dinner in a trash can or those people who want to be educated but can’t. Can you possibly imagine your life without these “luxuries,”? I don’t think so. It would be like comprehending a ten dimensional coordinate plane; impossible.

Naturally, most people right now will think that I’m making this up because there’s no way so many people could be so helpless. Whenever I travelled in India as a child, I noticed people eating food from trash cans, taking showers in the open and living in really poorly built houses. When I was much younger, I used to cover my eyes. Why? I felt a sense of fear and disgust. I just couldn’t stand seeing such people because of how helpless they were. Therefore, I looked away and tried to convince myself that they don’t exist or that I should mind my own business. Looking at the “sights,” of India inspired me to try to help as best I could, and therefore I tried to teach extremely poor and small children for three summer vacations. Once, when a boy who received one packet of biscuits and when I asked him why he wasn’t eating it, his response was “I must save it so that my family can eat it too.”

Someone reading this is likely to respond to all of these overwhelming facts by saying something like “so what? That’s not my problem.” But isn’t it? Every time you throw away food, you are wasting not only the food but also some of the money which goes into making it. Every time you ask for a brand new iPhone “because it’s cool,” you are wasting money that could have been used for something better such as your studies. If not for yourself, the money for an iPhone could go to a donation to a refugee club, where that money may find use for 10 or 20 people instead of only yourself.

I’m sure that in your lives, at least once your parents have said the phrase “Don’t take it for granted,” to you. Naturally, you most likely decided that what your parents said doesn’t matter. Even with all of the different organisations trying to reduce poverty, poverty won’t go away very quickly or most likely even in our lifetimes. So is it worth it to take that extra bit of food on your plate and chuck it into the dustbin? Or to complain about how difficult the IB is? Or to make posts on social media about how your parents didn’t buy you the new iPhone? The message is clear; don’t take anything for granted because there are people who would die to have a life like yours.



Biswas, Soutik. “Who Are the Poor in India?” BBC News, BBC, 23 Mar. 2012,

Spend, Prachi Salve India. “63 Million Indians Do Not Have Access to Clean Drinking Water.”Https://, Hindustan Times, 21 Mar. 2017,

Limited, Alamy. “Stock Photo – Poor Indian Children Collecting Pickings from a Rubbish Tip Surrounded by Pigs. Andhra Pradesh, India.” Alamy,

3 thoughts on “Trashy iPhones, Ugly selfies and Poverty

  1. Tim Farrow

    Very thoughtful article! When you compare the cost of our luxuries with the yearly income in other countries, it can be quite jarring.

  2. Becky Naughton

    Great job enlightening your audience to some astounding facts. As someone who recently dropped her IPhone and cracked the screen I had a lot of these thoughts which is why I have yet to fix it. I think it is such a great thing to be reminded how lucky and fortunate we all are.

  3. Gyeonga

    Great work! I really like how you constructed your introduction that it makes people to actually think and get interested in your topic about the poor condition of India. Your statistics were outstanding that it makes me authentically understand the pain of the Indians in the destitute environment. Your editorial made me think about my words and actions again and I think we should feel thankful to our lives.

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