Saturday, April 08, 2006

Borrowing Money

Every time I check my wallet and find some powerless (remember that PPP theory from your Economics classes?) ten rupee notes staring innocently at me, I go to the nearest ATM machine ( by the way ATM actually stands for Automated Teller Machine and not the smarter All Time Money). If there are no such magic machines around, as is the case most often, I turn to a friend indeed. I secretly try to visualize him/her as a twenty first century Brutus cum Shylock. “Will I have to pay an equal pound, or even worse, kilogram, of my flesh if by any chance I forget to repay in time?” “Will I too enter history books by saying et tu my friend?” These questions flash through my mind while the friend takes out some helpful notes from the wallet or purse as is the situation.

I feel eternally indebted to this friend for that act of kindness, at least till I am with that person and haven’t returned the money. I make mental notes, and then use the mental formatting toolbar to modify the note into bold letters, and generally underline them too. As soon as I get back home, after a movie or a dinner, paid by the friend of course, I take out my favorite calculator, the one with trigonometric and logarithmic functions, pens of minimum two colors and a lot of scrap paper. I write down the amount I borrowed right on top in all the colors. Then I get down doing the real hard work like diving into the depths of my memory and try and remember the amount of bill at the restaurant or how much we doled out to the pot bellied tout who sold us the movie tickets in black. Then I form columns and write down mine and the friend’s name and rows for the various categories under which we spent, namely transport, movie, food, tips etc. After that I apply rocket science to find out how much I owe the friend who helped me when I was in need. It’s also during these times that I feel so indebted that I decide to split the whole amount 70:30 rather than the general 50:50. So I redo my calculations. Make reminders and set alarm on my cell phone so that I repay the money at the right time.

The alarm goes off on time and I ignore it without fail. I meet that friend at least ten times after that and forget all about the money. Finally after a month or so when the friend casually brings up the subject all I do is give back just that amount I borrowed and after coming back home I throw the piece of paper with all the calculations in the trash can.

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