Tuesday, May 26, 2009

a dime and a thought

I figured out something the other day. That I am a cheap miser.

The Bus conductor, I am sure, must have thought so, by the way he pushed 50p change into my hand and that too only when I had reminded him that, well, he owed me 50p.
I gave him 5 rupee for a Rs 4.5 bus ticket, for which I received a ticket, and no change. I waited for the half hour that the journey lasted, and then as I was about to disembark, gently reminded him that he owed me money. At which point he took out his black regulation leather bag, opened it with far more force than was necessary, fished out a 50p coin with the facial expression of someone being troubled for something far beneath what was worth his time, and then pushed the coin into my open palm.

I think he took me for a cheap miser.

Later during that same day, I ordered something worth Rs 9.50 (I have become wary of ordering items ending at prices other than whole numbers since) and paid with a 10 rupee note. My baker thanked me, as if to signal the end of the transaction. But I being the stingy miser that I am, the transaction was far from over as far as I was concerned.

He owed me 50p.

I asked for my change.

I like my baker. He is just about as straight forward as they come. He doesn't confuse me.

He told me I was a cheap miser to have asked for my change.

I like my baker. He, like me, knows the value of 50p.

Two people giving you similar feedback over two separate incidents on the same day, deserves to be given some thought.

So they, my baker and the bus conductor, had me thinking, could it really be that I am as impossible as to be a misfit amongst my peers? After all, on both occasions I had had no lesser than two thousand rupees in my wallet, and another 12 easily accessible via ATM card. I maintain a motorcycle, the way some people maintain antique cars - though it costs me at least as much as it'd to maintain myself in style. Only that day had I had a light breakfast for 25rs from a hotel, given the boy that served me Rs 30, and walked away. As a matter of policy, I do not wish to talk about the amounts that I have from time to time spent on poor patients in our wards over the years.

I will only say this much, that I have donated my lifeblood 7 times, and on 4 of these occasions for total strangers.

So I cant be that bad a man afterall, I reason.

I asked for my change, because on both occasions the other party failed to acknowledge its existence.

In doing so, they insulted my hard toil that went into the earning of that dime.

That, and, that alone, made me ask for my change.

Read somewhere, sometime back: He who wastes one hour of time, is yet to learn the true value of life. I'd like to say something similar about a dime too.

I dont understand money. Both my dad and my brother are financial experts and they have both given up on me. For the love of God, I do not understand the stock-market. Though I would love to make some money there by sitting by a computer and merely playing with numbers. Some day, if I make enough money, my brother or dad might be able to do that for me so am not overly worried though.

What I am worried, is that I might someday come to disrespect hardwork and take its fruits for granted.

I think it is precisely because I have 2 thousand rupees in the wallet and another 12 in the bank and more coming, that I have to be on the guard against myself.

But of course, I might just be a hopeless romantic pining away about such mundane things as a dime.

I think I'll, alongwith my baker and the conductor, join the party.

I plan to pay Rs 9.00 and Rs 4.00 respectively, next time.

I am sure both these gents wouldn't even notice the 50p then either.

PS: I have a few 25p coins with me too. I wonder if I should quietly bury them and move on..

Money given away is not a waste. That's what money is all good for - to be given away. And woe to the man that worships money as an end in itself.

But perhaps I am just a hopeless romantic.


1 comment:

  1. Nice blog you have here, Gopu! Thanks for the comment you left on my '50 paise'. By no reason, do not think I belittle the value of 50 paise. I remember once long ago, in 1972, I realised the value of 1 paise when I had to walk 5 kms because I couldn't take a bus as i was short of 1 paise on a 15 ps ticket! But what is questionable is the attitude of people, the inability to leave 50 paise while wasting rupees worth of petrol. There is an old saying,' Pennywise, pound foolish'. i was just gently reminding that.
    Btw, I read all your posts and they are simply beautiful!


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