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An awkward question...........


Few days back I met a person- probably in his late 50's - to handover some stuff to my friend in Chennai. This person was traveling from Delhi to Chennai. I was meeting him for the first time. 30 seconds into the conversation, sitting inside the train compartment and surrounded by few strangers, he asks me where I stay and how much I pay as rent. I tell him its Rs xx. He was surprised by relatively high amount. Spontaneously he asks me, "so you must be earning Rs yy ah?" Not knowing what to say, I tell him its higher than that. To this, he comments, "is it Rs zz?" Now I wanting to end the conversation here, I nodded my head in agreement and said yes.
What happened next was hilarious. This person - who must be at least 20 years elder to me and working in a government department must be earning less ( but he gets to have lifelong pension and subsidized accommodation) than Rs zz quoted by him - abruptly ended the conversation and sent me away.
This is not the first time I am encountering such awkward conversations. I don't mind telling how much I earn but don't when I know the person asking is earning much less than me (of course in relative terms) or when I know the answer would make the other person feel bad.
I ask a friend and he suggested,"think of a funny answer for it, and as you keep repeating, you will get better at it"
how you would handle such situations?

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