Sunday, August 19, 2007

Baap ka maal

I got my paycheck a few days ago. For weeks I had been dreaming of this glorious moment, when they would hand me my hard-earned cash and I would rush down to the mall and dutifully hand it over to the nice people at Macy's, Barnes and Noble and Baskin Robbins. The reality, however, was quite different.

I did rush over to the bank to deposit the check and then took the first bus out to the mall to make sure I had plenty of time to squander my earnings but when I got there, and as I trolled through the aisles, looking for stuff to take home, I found nothing was quite up to the mark. The shirts were too bright, or too checked, or too tacky. The books, well, when did I have the time any more to sit down and read a book. I liked books - they looked good and smelt clean and worked quite well as paperweights. Some were even useful as doorstops. But to actually sit down and read one. I didn't see myself doing that any time soon. And the ice-cream store, the one place in the world where wild bulls had to drag me away from bursting myself on all the thirty-wonderful flavors, well, wasn't all that bad for you? I mean apart from the cholesterol and the additives, didn't ice-cream, like, make you FAT? I walked out of the store empty-handed and light-conscienced, proud of my newfound powers of resistance.

And then it occurred to me, on the busride home, what a cheapo I'd suddenly become overnight. The past few weeks, until I'd gotten my paycheck, I was living on some money my parents had given me and I'd been spending it liberally. My closet was choked with clothes, the chest of drawers crammed with books and the garbage bin in the corner of my bedroom heavy with silent testimony to the nights of binge-eating. Why then this sudden change? I guess it all had to do with the fact that what I earned now I thought of as my own money, a precious and limitable quantity not easily renewed except through a month of difficult labour. My parents' money, on the other hand, was an expendable resource, plentiful and replenishable at the slightest phone call, easy to get and easy to spend.

The comparison made me laugh out loud.


Blogger DeOwl said...

You're not alone. I kinda feel the same way sometimes. Though I'm frugal no matter how you cut it, I try and make money go farther when its my own earnings. Wonder what kinda person that makes me. Not very nice I suspect.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous fathima said...

when i didn't have a job, i didn't buy anything at all, because i didn't like asking for money.
then i got a real job and after paying off school things i had this one stage where i splurged (relatively speaking).
and now i am back to being cheapo extraordinaire.

partly, i like to say i am anti-materialistic. really, it's just that most times, nothing seems worth it.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Bushra said...

Haha that's true. With my parents money I rarely thought twice before spending... now I question each purchase I made. I feel so old :(

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


So did u start residency already...?

Good luck..welcome to club.


4:23 PM  
Anonymous crayon said...

hey KK, haven't visited your blog in ages... nice reading you again :)

2:57 AM  
Blogger karrvakarela said...

Well, I guess I'm glad to see I'm not alone in this! Seriously though, I'm learning to strike a balance between what I need (groceries) and what can wait (plasma tv). It's not a perfect balance but it's working alright so far. Also, I guess I'm lucky in that my work keeps me so pleasurably busy that I have no time to spend but that's another thing.

Thank you all for writing in!

Crayon: a special hello to you! hope everything's well. how's choti and the young 'uns?

1:38 PM  

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