Friday, July 3, 2009

How to save money at Aryanadu

I think its time now for some light-hearted stuff, after all that somber death-talk of the past week:

Something happened last week, that left me suddenly without the cash surplus I maintain at Aryanad. This being a place without ATMs, and I having left my bank pass-books back at the city, I had to push the week off with just whatever money I had on my person: One 500 rupee note I keep folded under the driving license, precisely for times like these, and loose change in 10s and 20s not amounting to more than 100.

I plan to change my 500 into smaller denominations, and then squeeze every penny until it cried for mercy.

I begin with the lone internet cafe in town, that doubled as a cultural center and recreation club for the youth. It has two not-too-new computers with a not-too-fast net connection that keeps on getting disconnected at least once every 30 min.

But that doesn't seem to deter the (predominantly) late adolescent crowd that has made this place their hang-out.

I can see the impressive boys and the impressionable pretty young ladies exchanging glances, and sometimes I see a notebook left casually by a girl, only to be picked up minutes later by some bright-eyed boy smiling ear to ear. I love this crowd.

I think they look at me as someone who has absolutely no interest whatsoever in their life, that I, being the dr, would never have run after a girl or been simply starstruck when after months of chasing around I received that most important smile of my life.

They give me a wide berth, never making me having to wait for net access, and cutting down on the profanity-ridden 'manly' talk with me around. But that apart, they think I am part of the furniture. So they seem to have no problem with freely interacting, exchanging glances and letters right under my nose.

I have read that in ancient Egypt the women royals had no qualms about undressing in front of their male slaves. De-humanisation can happen in both directions I guess.

I wish I could come out of this shell they wish to see me in, and share their laughter.

But I believe its a sin to kill a mockingbird, and I let them be.

So, at the 'Aryanad cultural centre', I use the net for a half-our, and offer the 500. The cashier respectfully hands me back the money, apologizing for not having change, and asking me to pay next time I go there, whenever that is.

Now I did have a 10 rupee note with me, but until I could change my 500, I was not going to part with it if I could help it.

Next I go to the small hotel where I have my lunch on most days. Have the usual, that costs around 25, and offer the 500.

Same: They handle the money back, THEY apologize for not having change, and so will I please pay next time I go, whenever that is.

I start to get the hang of things.

I needed some balm for my aching arm. Same there.

The bike needed a little tinkering from the mechanic. Same.

I love this crowd.


  1. Thats a great crowd! is this treatment meted out to anybody who does not have change or is it because you are the doctor saheb of the town? You have an award waiting at my blog in appreciation of you honest and heartfelt posts.

  2. Women of the Egyptian royalty had eunuchs for their guardians! And what is a male without his manhood! :) There was a time when doctors and teachers were at the apex of respectability in a society. Thank God it still remains so in small towns like Aryanadu!

  3. @sujatha: I think its because i am the dr. one funny thing abt the place is that outsiders, esp people with an apparent urbane air are immediately noticed, and so right from day one I have been getting courtesies from total strangers. Apparently, word spreads pretty fast round here.
    Thanks for the award. But I am ignorant as to how the gift is to be received. I went to your blog but could not find anything with my name in it. Being kind of new to blogging and am not sure I follow the etiquette.
    @bala: Agree. Its when something becomes yet another service in the consumer market that its sacredness is blemished

  4. You can just copy the honest scrap image from my page onto a folder and then go to your blogger layout page, add gadget, add picture, copy that picture from your folder onto your layout page. Hope this helps

  5. Its a sin to kill a mocking bird indeed! :)


Thanks for giving me this moment of your life.