A bit about me. I went to a private school. You’ve probably not heard of it, but people who went there went on to become bankers, barristers and the like. I used to sit next to a lad who, I recently found out, became the British Ambassador to a European country. The school boasts not one, but two former Chancellors of the Exchequer as ex-pupils.
A proper “establishment” place.
And I never felt like I fitted in.
There was a general attitude of superiority. “Because my parents are rich, because they’ve made it, that makes me better than everyone else”. Don’t get me wrong; I was there because my parents had money, it’s not like we were poor (although we had nowhere near as much as most of the others; we had a Volvo, they had Rollers).
And I hated the place.
One year, when I was about 7 or 8 (so a long time ago), we went back to visit family in India. Now, even in India, my family was pretty well off, but this particular day we visited my dad’s cousin and also drove past the hospital in which I was born.
My dad’s cousin lived in a two room hut by the side of a busy highway. He wasn’t poor. He had a place to live. His family was well fed and safe. But I was struck by how his house was nothing like mine. How different his life was to mine. And how, if I’d just been born in the next hospital bed, my life would have taken on a whole new shape. A pure accident of birth.
Because where you start from, that’s just luck. How you got here is unimportant. But how you treat people today, how you prepare for tomorrow – those things define who you actually are.