Wednesday, October 1, 2008


As I said in the previous post, a little money sure went a long way those days.

I remember (and I know my brother does, too) one special occasion, when my magnanimous barama (aunt) had given both of us a princely sum of one rupee each, I forget for what reason. As 1 rupee really equaled 100 paise in those days (unlike nowadays, when it languishes at the bottom of the monetary scale), we were both overjoyed and decided to spend our king’s ransom at the local sweet shop.

There the unanimity and amity ended. My brother, eager and reckless, splurged his sum on a huge sweet, appropriately called Atom-bomb, and gobbled it down, OD-ing on the sugary-syrupy-monstrosity.

I, being way more bearish (in stock-market terms), decided (after a lot of observation and consideration – and to the irritation of the man at the sweet-shop counter) to put my eggs in many baskets. I bought a 1001 thingies – 20 paise worth of angti-sondesh (a ring-shaped milk-made sweet, 5 paise each), a danadar for 20 paise (full of yummy crunchy sugar granules), a soft-milky kalakand (30 paise) and a hard-milky barfi (25 paise). A headcount of 7 sweets, with 5 paise still in my pocket.

Bhai (my beloved and bickering brother), with his tummy full and pocket empty at one go, glared and pleaded alternately as I cruelly sat in front of him, tasting and taking my own sweet time to finish my hoard, refusing to share the tiniest grain of sugar with him. He had had his 1-rupee-worth-of-sweet, so he should not ask for more, that was my unshakeable argument.

Bhai often quotes this incident to rib me about my heartlessness and stinginess and miserliness as a child, I prefer to call myself a thrifty and careful spender, even though I am a little shamefaced about the ‘heartless’ jibe.



Aleta said...

I enjoyed your story and could relate to buying a number of different candies to make the joy of the money stretch a little further. My brother and I would ride our bikes to the local store (we had to ride through high grass along the canal, back then it wasn't paved in). That route was the quickest and no cars to fear on the way. We would buy treats and stuff them into our pockets for the ride back. There's a park close to home and we'd sometimes stop there to enjoy the treats or feed the ducks. I can't recall much of a money memory, other than the one I shared in the comment earlier.

Peter Rozovsky said...

It's so sad that we learn the value of money at such a young age! Once, at about age 8, I dropped the package from a small toy into a large trash basket outside the store, then remembered that I'd put my change from the purchase in the package, which was now irretrievably lost. Such panic at the loss of a dollar and fifteen cents!
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

PBandJ said...

When my sister and I were in grade school we had to walk to and from school about a half mile away. One day we were walking home and it was near the end of the school year and a very hot day; we were thirsty. We wondered if we had enough money to get a drink from a cafe that we passed daily, so we pooled our money and found that we had 45 cents. Awesome! We went in and asked the waitress if we could get a small coke with what we had. She said we were about 50 cents short, but she took it and gave us a drink to share anyway if we brought the rest in the next day. We were so happy she had put her trust in us and we made sure we brought her 50 cents the next day as promised. Aaaahhhh, the good old days.

redchair said...

I’m ‘thrifty’ like you and have been as long as I can remember. When my Mom would give my sister and I money for the movies as kids, my sister (like your brother) would spend all hers in one felt swoop. I’d always liked having money so I’d put mine in my pocket. When I got home I'd add it to my stash in my piggy bank.

As far as sharing it, that happened without request. With great frequency, my sister would rob my piggy bank. She still owes me a million U.S. pennies, quarters and dimes. I’ll get her to pay up one of these days.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Thanks, everyone, for saving up and spending your money memories here.