Being Money wise

Being Money wise

February 1, 2014 Off By Mani Padma

The financial year end is fast approaching. For anyone who realizes the value of their hard earned money and who tries to value the hard earned (not our hard work though) freedom of a free and democratic country, year-end has a huge significance. Rather two words have a quite an impact among us and they are – Financial Planning. Financial planning encompasses various aspects of finances such as tax, savings and budget. Come February and no! More than love, it’s money in the air.


Money is that sweet beautiful magical word, which other than buying almost anything, buys most importantly – dreams!


An impending arrival of a fortune, no matter how big or small, brings forth with it an array of dreams for you. Probably that new dress, or that latest I phone, car or even a house. It’s however another matter how much of the money goes into realizing your dreams in today’s age of inflation.


But have you ever faced any such situations where you find yourself in a strange predicament of suddenly being without money due to accidents or otherwise such as – forgetting the wallet or pick pockets and you have to plan with whatever resources you might be having then for the immediate future?


Though those few moments can be really hair rising. However once the situation tides over peacefully, all you are left with are some hilarious memories and a first grade experience in financial planning with a difference. It can also bring out the best, most cunning and the wiliest in you in your bid for survival. So we have brought before you some such experiences- if it is of “laabh” (profit) to you then good, otherwise you can always have a good laugh.


Dr S. Bhatnagar a consultant from a reputed hospital narrates his experience, which he had while on his way back from his hospital in Gurgaon to his residence in Ghaziabad.

“I was on my way back from Gurgaon, when near Dhaula Kuan, midway between my home and hospital, the car hit reserve meaning my fuel tank was near to zero. I rummaged in my bag to find my card, when I realized that the card holder come wallet wasn’t there. I pulled over the car by the side of the road and tried to desperately locate my wallet, but it wasn’t there. I must have left it at the locker. I neither had a card nor any money and almost no petrol either! I made a hasty calculation. I was placed just midway. Reaching either way would have saved me somewhat, but the question was would I reach at all? When suddenly I saw a twenty rupee note peeping at me from the glove compartment! I was relieved naturally and tried to drive into a petrol pump as soon as possible. After about a few kms I found one, where I charged in like a traveler lost in the desert happening upon an oasis. But the most embarrassing moment was asking the attendant to fill it for twenty rupees. I tried to explain but the attendant still gave me a disgusted look. Petrol was going for around Rs 54. So the amount that I had filled was technically about a half litre or less than that. In that automated machine all I could hear was one – phccch! Yes just one short shot- a phchhh!! But believe me that one ‘phccch’- was like music to my ears and that one sound gave me the confidence enough to drive back to my home.”


Dr Deepmala Kaul recounts her harrowing tale of that time when they were almost stranded in Vrindavan- Mathura.

“My husband had opted for a prepaid all meals- night stay package in Mathura for the whole family. Mathura was just around 150 kms from Delhi and we drove up there, the whole family packed in the car. We really intended to have a spiritually and mentally relaxing weekend, interspersed with some amount of shopping. After reaching the hotel, unpacking and after a shower we felt fresh enough to attend the aarti at the temple. My husband was dressed in a pajama-kurta and instead of leaving the wallet back at the hotel, he carried it with himself. Some habits are hard to get rid of. Aarti was a frenzied affair. It was a kind of a mass hysteria. My husband of course could not remain immune to it and he too joined in. After around an hour of it, when it was over and when everyone had sobered down, he suddenly realized that the wallet was gone! And here I was saying old habits are hard to rid off. We tried to locate it, scanned the floor, scanned the faces, informed the authorities but the result was zilch.

“Money was all gone, Cards too, it was a weekend, and I had just around thousand bucks with me. Thankfully the hotel charges were already paid off and thank God that it included meals. At least we wouldn’t go hungry. But shopping plans were ticked off, no rides for the children, in other words all fun to be excluded. An emergency plan was formed. My thousand rupees would be set aside for the fuel. Mother in law had around a couple of hundred bucks which were to be used for food and beverages during the travel back. We survived the ordeal to tell the tale, but two days were hell with the Damocles sword hanging upon us. The children were the worst hit with just dhaba food on offer and no wafers or cold drinks; they must have surely thought the worst of us. But that was a weekend for a family of five to remember till the next fifty years when for the first time we realized what being without money is.”


Kamlesh from Dwarka had this interesting tidbit about her brother in law who had once gone to Haridwar for a holy dip in the Ganges. There, while taking a bath in one of those roofless cubicles, he placed his pants, as is the rule, on the separator wall. Unfortunately the pocket end of the pants was slung carelessly over the other side and when he pulled it down, to wear it after his bath, his wallet was gone. His condition was worse than that of the Kauls. He had to sell his gold ring to get back home!


In fact I remember when I was in school, pocket money was a kind of luxury. As you see I am quite ancient and one could get a burger, packet of wafers or a Gold spot for Rs 2 back then. But Rs 2 was all I could manage at a go from my father with somewhat Victorian principles. I remember a school fete when in spite of much requesting and even promises of ‘being a good girl’, I could only manage a Rs 2. Back then Rs 10 meant like a credit card with unlimited benefits. But Rs 2 was still very less for a fete, but I still managed beautifully. So how did I manage?


Simple! First, found someone who was in a similar predicament. I bought the wafers while she bought the Gold Spot. Had a bit of the same and then we exchanged it. Armed with the bottle of gold spot I went in search of a soft target. Found one who was just about to have a burger. I traded one fourth of the gold spot for half the burger. After that I found another softer target who had the bucks but was a bit shy or sort of an introvert. She was mine for the rest of the afternoon.


Well that’s how scavengers work in the eventuality of scarcity of resources. I am not at all ashamed to say it, but that’s how it happened. Money is precious. It can buy almost anything but most importantly, it buys a bit of confidence and some amount of the feeling of security. Strip a person of it and he or she really becomes defenseless and it certainly needs every amount of will power and wits to survive without it. Only someone who had hit rock bottom financially can understand the true implications of bankruptcy which is frightening to say the least. Many a time we behave too callously with money, with complete disregard, splurging and wasting as if there was no tomorrow. But though you may believe that present is the only time there is, there is still a tomorrow and a tomorrow will always remain no matter what. So it is only feasible that you save a bit for that tomorrow. Because though Money is the root of all evil but again money is a necessary evil.

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