Thursday, June 30, 2016

A savings account of memories ...

It was after a very long time that Kannan went back to home, and was trying to clear the cupboard. 

"Clutter has to be cleared ...." thought Kannan

Amma came with his morning cup of filter coffee, steaming hot with strong smell of the freshly brewed coffee. It was different from all the mugs of coffee at the stores as it also had mothers love in it. Amma smiled and said

"After so many years, your cupboard is going to get a new life ... at last"

Kannan smiled back, took the cup from Amma and sipped the cup of love. It was a unique feeling when the hot coffee went down his throat, refreshing him. He continued taking out old book, papers, files and all that had been stacked for years. Some old photographs, faded negatives in the translucent covers, note books, texts and so much more. The dust from them made him cough a bit, but the feeling of going back in time seeing the writings, the books and the memories associated with it was worth every moment of it. He got a blue plastic bound book among the loads of things. He wiped it with a cloth and opened it.

"New Bank of India.... Kannan Iyer.... SB Account ... 1453"

It was the first ever bank account he had. Every small amount of money he got, be it for Vishu or from periyamma as a reward for his achievements in academics as a blessing, or the small amounts of money he took from Appa for cleaning the car or selling old paper. All that went into the account sparing a bit for his books from the book store Paico. He went through each line of it and the first deposit of 5000 rupees dated March 12, 1984. He remembered walking into the bank along with Amma and starting the first ever Bank account in his life with the money he got for his upanayanam. Appa had asked Amma to go with him to start the account. Saving little by little started with that day in his life. 

When he got the blue passbook from the accountant at the teller counter, which he could hardly reach, the nine year old Kannan had a smile worth a million in the Swiss bank. 

"Appa.... I will clean the car every week" said the young Kannan "two rupees for car and one rupee for the scooter" was his demand.

Appa patted on his back with a glowing smile and said "Done"

The hard earned money was stored in a box he kept secretly inside his study table which had a green sticker on the inner wall which read "Chant Hare Krishna and Be Happy". Every time he opened the desk he would look at the sticker and chant and then look at his safely saved money, to be deposited in the bank.

Months went by and every month Kannan would go with Amma to the bank to deposit the small amounts counting it with care every time he did. He would walk into the huge bank premises as if he owned the world tightly holding the red velvet pouch which Ammamma had given him and give it to the teller along with his pass book.

Kannan stopped the cleaning for a while and was seeing every small entry in the passbook. The money he had saved as a child. He saw a withdrawal entry in it. 


Kannan smiled looking at that entry. That was the time when Videocon had launched the economical version of a walkman. It was 300, as Kannan saw it in the Sunday Supplement of Indian Express. The advertisement enticed him and he decided to buy one for himself. 

"Amma ... when are you going to the bank" Kannan asked Amma who was busy preparing biriyani for lunch. 
"Tomorrow... why what happened... deposit" asked Amma stirring the masala which gave the kitchen a unique smell of the spices.
"No ... I want to buy something... withdrawal" Kannan said with a proud smile.
"Ok" replied Amma

The day went looking forward to the next morning when he would go to the bank to withdraw money. Kannan checked again at night before sleep,

"Amma ... take me to the bank ... okay"
Tired with the day’s work, with sleepy eyes, Amma removed her spectacles and kept on the bedside table and smiled affirmatively.

Kannan woke up early, finished his bath, prayers and got dressed up, ready to go to the bank with Amma. Every now and then he would go and check whether Amma is getting ready. And the moment he saw Amma ready he rushed and put his shiny black shoes on which he had kept polished the previous evening. He was looking at his best when he held Amma's hands and walked with her to the bank which was just a block away. 

The person who took the red pouch every time looked at Kannan walk in and extended his arms as if to take the red pouch. Kannan smiled at him and said

"No... I want to withdraw money"

His eyes sparkled as he took the withdrawal slip and signed it and gave it to Amma for her signature as it was mandatory for the guardian’s signature for minor accounts. He took the money in his hands as Amma watched him take it with the brightest of expressions she had seen. He carefully put all the notes in the brown wallet he had hid in his back pocket, the one which he got when they shopped for the previous festival from the cloth store. The wallet had the emblem of the store embossed on it and the address of the shop printed in white inside.

"Amma... I will come soon... can I go shopping" asked Kannan.

For a 10 year old, he was taller and the town was known to him with his frequent visits to the book shops nearby. 

"Careful" Amma said "Cross the road with care and come back soon"

Kannan walked with the money in his pocket and kept looking back where Amma was standing in front of the bank seeing her son walk with his head held high. There was a smile on her which Kannan never could forget. 

Kannan walked into the electronics shop and asked the person behind the counter where there was a huge hoarding of the newly launched Videocon Walkman. 

"I want a walkman" said the 10 year old to the salesman.

The salesman looked with wonder. He showed the small black box which had the three buttons on top and a headset. 

"Do you want to see how it works" He asked.
"Yes ... please" replied Kannan

He inserted the cassette and played it for Kannan and put the headset on the young boy's head. Kannan head the song ring in his head and just fell in love with the experience. Private sound system... he thought to himself.

"Pack it please ..." said Kannan and took the purse out and carefully counted three notes of hundred and gave it to the salesman.
"At the cash counter please " said the salesman still not able to believe his eyes, seeing the small boy doing his shopping with style.

Walking out of the store, Kannan looked at the world outside, the bright new world where he had done shopping for himself, with his own money he had saved. He started walking back and saw a cloth store and the mannequin adorned with a peacock blue churidar with black leaves design on it. It looked very attractive. Kannan walked into the store after checking again for his wallet. 

It was evening and Kannan was sipping the coffee Amma had given him and Akka walked in after her embroidery class, she used to attend, as it was holidays for both of them. Kannan looked at her enter and quickly rushed to the study room where he had unpacked the walkman and came back to the dining table with his walkman. Put on the headset and kept glancing at Akka, and her reactions seeing him have a new walkman.

"Oh new walkman..." asked Akka
"Ya... mine" said Kannan

The tease did not go well, but Akka kept her calm and asked
"Can I see it..?"
"Sure..." was Kannan's reply.

He handed the walkman and switched it on for her and as she was listening to the song, ran back to the room. He opened the cupboard and took the white plastic carry bag which had a package in it. Came back in style and looked at Akka who was enjoying the song.

"This is for you... from me... Happy Birthday" said Kannan

The surprise and the smile on her face was priceless. She opened the package and it was the flowy peacock blue churidar for her from her little brother. Even till date, Akka has that churidar that her little brother had given her. Old but kept safe as a priceless possession, and Kannan knows it too. 

Kannan sat down to write his diary that night after cleaning the cupboard and giving it a new life as Amma said. He wrote:
"Money saved remains as it is... but spent for loved ones gifts you memories to treasure worth a million times its value" and smiled, putting his pen down.

No comments:

Post a Comment