Standing in the queue for a long time for withdrawing cash and coming out without money is very disappointing. Today is the day for which every employee waits. It was already 4:45 pm and the salary was yet to be credited. I pushed the glass door of ATM vehemently and darted out. I had lots of official work to be completed within office hours so that I could take out some time for shopping which I had been planning for last few months. Every month I miss my priority and land up in negative balance at the end of the month. This month I had already decided to buy warm clothes for my children and then I would think for anything else. Suddenly my phone rang. The sound of my cell increased the palpitation of my heart beat. I received the call.
“ What the f**king report……. you have sent…….Are you in sense…….I don’t understand why the organization has kept the idiots like you…………….”
My boss’s each and every offensive word is tearing the veil of my eardrums.
I was silent. I wanted to shout louder than him. I wanted to abuse more cruel than him but I controlled myself because this was nothing new for me. Now it had been the regular practice. I stopped myself by consoling that he must have got bitter scolding from his Boss and as an obedient subordinate he was passing the same legacy to us. “ He is paid for that….” I grumbled.
An sms alert tone beeped. I immediately looked at my cell. My anger evaporated within the fraction of second. “ INR 60671.00 deposited to A/C XXXXXXXXXXXX2680 towards 0575487586756554575 Salary Nov13 value 30-NOV-2013. Clear Bal in INR 60698.00. Cheque credits subject to clearing.
Though the amount credited in my account was approx.5000 less, which was deducted towards income tax, but it did not upset me much because I was aware of that.
For this amount only we gulp down all the humiliation which is showered on us as a complimentary item being the part of our daily routine. I did not think much and waved my hand to stop the cab. This is the time where most of the people like me does not think himself lesser than the king. I opened the gate of the cab and got into it. I reclined on the back seat as if the king sits on his throne and stretched my arm on the upper edge of the seat. One can feel the relief when he has sufficient amount credited in the bank against his needs. The polluted air of the street was also giving soothing effect to my face. It was the magic of the amount credited in your account. I did not realize when I dozed off. Suddenly an sms alert beeped. I squinted at my cell and saw “ INR 15000.00 debited to A/C XXXXXXXXXXX2680 towards ECS D- HOME SBI 3547689677. Clear Bal is INR 45698.00.
It gives you pride when you spell the address of your apartment in front of someone but it pains much more when the hefty amount gets debited in the beginning of the month towards Home loan. I could have spent my life in smaller house also but it was my desire to live in an apartment. I stopped the car and stepped out of it. I moved towards the show room. I was feeling little bit hungry. I thought purchasing in empty stomach would not help me to negotiate properly so I got into the restaurant. I ordered Chana Bhatura and Lassi. An sms alert beeped. I knew it must be the same message of some another EMI. The sms stated “INR 5119.00 debited to A/C XXXXXXXXXXX2680 towards ECS D- CAR SBI 956489345. Clear Bal is INR 40579.00.”
The fresh Batura and chana could increase the hunger of anyone. I could have examined the level of oil smearing on it but gorged on it without giving a damn. While I was enjoying its taste in every bite my cell again rang. Thanks God this time it was my wife. I picked up her phone in style and said “ Yes Madam……tell me……what can I do for you……..”
“ Looking very happy…….it means your salary has beencredited……” my wife’s husky voice also sounded very sexy.
“ I am always happy……..” I replied
“ I had called to remind………”I interrupted and did not give her a chance to prove that she was only responsible in her duty and we, husbands, were just an earning machine.
I just blurted out “ I remember darling……Today I will buy warm clothes for my both children….you don’t worry………I am sitting in the restaurant just opposite to the shop………you tell me any color preference you have for them……….”
She stalled for a second and then said “ For Sarika …..take pink color and for Sunny take red……red color compliments his complexion………”
I could feel her joy in his voice. While I was talking to her I could feel that some sms’s were hitting my inbox. I opened them one by one.
“INR 4029.00 debited to A/C XXXXXXXXXXX2680 towards ECS D- P.LOAN SBI 5695395754. Clear Bal is INR 36550.00.”
“INR 2013.00 debited to A/C XXXXXXXXXXX2680 towards ECS D- CESC SBI 8465927046. Clear Bal is INR 34537.00.”
“INR 6230.00 debited to A/C XXXXXXXXXXX2680 towards ECS D- CREDIT CARD SBI 3750163965. Clear Bal is INR 28307.00.”
Now I had only 28307 in my account. My mood transformed from excitement to concern. Now the spell of being the king for a single day also started coming down gradually. I knew that how important the warm cloth was for my children. The cold day was about to begin. I could not compromise on this. I started doing budgeting for the expense of this month and it went like that:
Ration : 5000
School fees : 2000
Bus fees : 800
House maintenance: 1000
Car Fuel : 2000
Sunday’s expense: 5000
Medical Expense Fund : 1500
After Budgeting the month expense I heaved a sigh of relief because now I knew that Car fuel, Sunday expense and miscellaneous could be compromised. I paid the bills and moved towards the shop.
There had been the times when I got excited after hearing the ring but now a day it irritated me if it rang after office hours. I picked up the phone and said in an irritating tone “ Hello……”
“ Hi Shakil………Manoj here……..”
I controlled my mood and said “ Yeah Manoj tell me……….”
“ Bhai…….actually…..” Manoj stalled.
“ Yeah tell me……..dont hesitate…..what happened…….”
“ Tomorrow is my daughter’s admission and as you know I need to deposit huge amount as a donation……I have managed the amount but am having shortfall of Rs 10000 /- Can you arrange for me….I would be highly grateful………”
I felt bad. Here I was struggling to manage my expense and he was asking to depart another Rs 10000 which was impossible. I thought I should not keep him in dark and told him clearly that it was not possible for me. Suddenly I remember that he had lent me exactly Rs 10000 few months back which I was supposed to pay him back last month only but could not. I did not have the guts to say “ NO” to him. I did not have the choice but to ask “ Send me your account no…..I would transfer it tomorrow………”
“ Thanks Bhai…….” His voice radiated gratefulness.
I was just staring at the shop. Colorful jackets and sweaters for children were luring my eyes. I could easily visualize my children’s appearance in these stuffs. But I was not getting how to manage this expense.
I was facing the dilemma of returning someone’s debt or providing the basic needs of my children. Both reasons were sensitive; It was difficult for me to decide so very tactfully I left the decision on my matured brain and emotional heart. Since the nature has kept brain above the heart then how come here the brain fails. Today I realized why the heart got the tag of an emotional fool. Personally I was not happy with the decision. I was looking crestfallen. I could not realize when the lights of that shop went off and shutters rolled down.
I rolled back my steps and moved towards metro. I was thinking how to make her understand. She would never compromise. After getting the defeat from brain still my heart was ushering towards buying warm clothes then I instructed my heart to stop behaving like an emotional fool and consoled myself that “ Indian Weather has never been prompt it is always late by 10-20 days but admission date is tomorrow. I should help him.”
I took the metro ticket and got down from the escalators to catch the last train. Suddenly my cell rang again.
“ Where are you…….” My wife’s voice was filled with anxiety.
“ Metro station…….”
“ Oh God….how to make this man understand………We all are waiting you at the dinner…….By the way……which color jacket you have chosen for Sunny…….”
I did not muster the courage to say anything. I remained silent. If husbands could feel the pulse of wives so they could read our silence. She immediately understood that this month also I would not provide the basic needs of our children. She could not hold herself back and blurted out “ I knew……this month also you will convince me by giving your illogical explanations……You got all the priorities in your life above your children……I don’t know anything…….just tell me….are you bringing their jackets this month or not……….”
I could understand her demand is quite reasonable but I was helpless. By the time metro rail had pulled in the platform.
I quickly stepped in the coach, stalled for a second and then I murmured “ No……Not in this month……..”.