According to an estimate, 2.5 crores people were born in our country in the year 1981. I was one of them. Of those 2.5 crore infants, about half (45%) were born to parents living under the poverty line. Fortunately, I wasn’t one of them. And that’s perhaps the greatest fortune I’ve had in my entire life. That one event — being born to financially sound, kind, educated, and loving parents — contributed about 95% to the outcome that today I am not among those who don’t know where their next meal will come from.
Warren Buffett calls it winning the ovarian lottery. He writes —
I’ve had it so good in this world, you know. The odds were fifty-to-one against me born in the United States in 1930. I won the lottery the day I emerged from the womb by being in the United States instead of in some other country where my chances would have been way different.
Imagine there are two identical twins in the womb, both equally bright and energetic. And the genie says to them, “One of you is going to be born in the United States, and one of you is going to be born in Bangladesh. And if you wind up in Bangladesh, you will pay no taxes. What percentage of your income would you bid to be the one this is born in the United States?” It says something about the fact that society has something to do with your fate and not just your innate qualities. The people who say, “I did it all myself,” and think of themselves as Horatio Alger – believe me, they’d bid more to be in the United States than in Bangladesh. That’s the Ovarian Lottery.
My streak of luck didn’t end with my ovarian lottery.
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