That’s what I feel right now. This is no mockery of poverty. It’s the bloody real thing.
It’s an irony that since I have started earning I have seen more poverty than ever before. Right now I have a 100 rupee note in my pocket and that’s all. Tomorrow I have to pay my home rent, the maid’s salary and of course money for food.
In my present status, only my dear roommate Mr. Rat gives me unfailing company. Much as I want to, I can’t get him anything i.e. the rat kill and spend a precious Rs. 38 on him. So, I let him feast in some corner of my room on some valuables with the constant terror of his squeaks.
It is so funny how even the dependable things in life also cheat you in a moment like this. Like the ATM machine. The last time I withdrew money I was quite surprised when my balance read Rs 300 something even after I had withdrawn Rs. 300. Because my original balance had been Rs 400. I went home thinking my memory has forgotten something sweet, I had more money than Rs. 400 and that I can actually spend a couple of more days without borrowing money.
Didn’t realize happiness would be so short lived. Yesterday when I went to the ATM, it wasn’t working. Thinking what the hell, I walked down to the next ATM. Punched Rs 300, it refused to come out and said insufficient balance. Completely zapped and a little suspicious, I punched Rs 200 the second time. The stubborn machine popped out a slip which said insufficient balance. Shocked curious and scared that my account might get blocked (ya even that has happened with me) I checked my balance. Surprise! It said Rs 128.
I was so mad, I didn’t realize that I simply stepped out of the ATM and started walking towards home, some 2 kms away. I didn’t have the heart to take a rickshaw with just 100 bucks in my pocket to keep me going till I don’t know when.
Sometimes I feel this is the bane of all my excesses. But come to think of it what excesses do I indulge in? I don’t drink anything apart from water, milk and cold drinks. I smoke but only when forced to passively. I go clubbing scarcely. Then where does the money go?
I am comforted by a common line on Tees seen long ago “My dad is an ATM”. I am not at all ashamed. But again it’s really a catch 22 situation. Money couldn’t come from home yesterday because the banks had half yearly closing. And that’s the reason they gave today also. Tomorrow is Gandhi Jayanti. So, I will have to wait till the day after.
I won’t say something similar has never happened before. I remember last diwali. I was alone in my flat. I had 500 bucks; you would say that was much better than the present scenario. Wait a minute. I took the same 500 bucks to the recharge shop and what do I find out? The note is fake.
That’s what my regular recharge guy tells me, this when I think he owes half his property to me. He advices me not to use it elsewhere and also warns me someone might call the police (bastard is really concerned about me). But I had no choice, I was alone at home. There was no one to lend me money. I went ahead and probably did one of the worst things of my life.
I bought some dia’s from a small road-side vendor. Like a mad woman scared to be caught, I then ran home and decorated my home with those lamps. To top it all I had the shamelessness of feeling relieved for not being caught. Perhaps I am paying for that.
Well I don’t know I can’t do much about it now. Will have to wait till the day after for the money to come and feed myself and Mr. Rat.