Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pocket Money

For many of us pocket money would be a very common thing in childhood, and also for many of us it could be non-existent. The concept is that parents give some specific amount of money to their children for their expenses weekly or monthly. And it is said that children learn the value of money, planning the expenditure, saving etc. when they start utilizing pocket money.

I never got such regular pocket money. To ask and take money from my mom whenever needed was our system. We continued with it throughout my life until I started to earn for myself. Even most of my friends didn’t have that concept, although many parents saved money for children in various ways like RD, policy etc. But very often we had a very little liquid cash to spend, and we didn’t need it that much.

We had hired a rickshaw commuting to school, and we had tiffin to eat in the recess. So, there was nothing spend for actually. I remember, we had to ask for even 2-3 rs. to buy school forms etc once in year, becase otherwise we used to have nothing.
If sometimes, we felt like eating something outside, we would plan it one day before and take money the next day. All the options available to us were simple and cheap. Dabeli, vadapav, masala-pav, etc. at the famous shop Purnanand opposite to my school. It was the one of the first shops to offer dabeli in aurangabad. Babubhai, our favourate chaatwala, chocolates and stuff at Kanta’s cart.

The average cost of these things was 2-3 rs. So even 10 rs. would be sufficient for our self treat. Our budget included two dabeli/vadapav, one for each me and my cousine Sushant. An extra dish which we would share. A jackfruit, my favorite. And ‘Ghataghat’ i.e. home made salty and sweet toffees. Some of us would buy collect WWF, or Cricket cards from Kanta, and collect them. Sushant and Yogesh were the celebrated collectors of those cards in my class.

Once, I read about a survey in paper, about the demographic study of children getting pocket money and their pattern of expenditure, across India. Except for metro cities, the number was negligible. I read that and demanded regular pocket money to my mom. She said she was ready to give it, but then I would not be allowed to ask for more, if I need to. Obviously I chose to keep it as it was. :-)

Only after we started travelling with bus or sharing rickshaws, we got to play with money regularly. And these things which used to happen once in a month before, we did almost daily. Very shortly we became friends with a man from UP named Shailesh, who just had started selling Dabeli near our bus stop. We were his regular customers for 4-5 years since then, upto my 12th std. He is a bigger player in the business now, owns 5-6 Dabeli and Pav Bhaji stalls in Aurangabad. Very rarely he works there himself, now he has all his clan settled in Aurangabad.

It’s difficult to remember names of hundreds of students that come in and go out of campus, but these people Karve Uncle of Purnanand, Kanta, Shailesh still recognize us by face. We can clearly observe the pleasure of meeting some old friend on their faces, when they smile at us. Talking to them is always a nostalgic ride to our golden school memories.

As we grew up, our activities kept widening the range. We start hotelling along with eating on street side stalls. Watching almost every new movie on its first day of release was our addiction. I have watched many movies in 12th, for which I managed money by conning my parents. I used to confess it weeks later after watching a movie.

Although we did what we wanted, and whenever we wanted, we knew our limits, and never crossed them. Whenever our high command indicated slow down in economy, we obeyed religiously.

All such things came to end, when I started to earn. But still I wish it back. I see now, how difficult it is to manage the expenses, and save money. It was really nice when mom n dad were taking care of it. I feel like handing it all over to them and start pocket money again. :-)