Wednesday, July 07, 2010

It's all about the money

(Apologies for the long-ish post. The happening meant a lot to me. Hence the long-winded post)

The 3rd of July in 2006 was the day I entered the Indian workforce. For the first time.

It was a symbol of growing up of sorts.

I would be staying in a PG then on. I would wear a tag with my photo and name on it. I would start using Outlook and use email for non-forward purposes. I would be dining ‘outside’ every single meal. Mostly at one of the dharshinis that gave idly-vada for 15 bucks in the mornings, and roti-curry for 15 at nights. I would have a CUG sim, with a postpaid connection. And a credit card, very soon.

It was a symbol of growing up of sorts.


That was the overwhelming feeling amongst most of my roommates. There were 4 of us sharing a room in a PG. All of us were from PSG, and for at least 3 of us, the prospects of getting more than 3 digits of money at one time seemed supernatural. It was something that had never happened to us in the past. Something we could never bring ourselves to believe for the future too. Yet it was real. As real as the appointment letter in our hands.

After all the settling down during the first week of orientation, and the PG hunting then on, we got into a groove. Slowly things began to look normal. What seemed to be too much of a privilege earlier, soon became regular stuff. The ID card went into the shirt pocket – it had become a nuisance that got in one’s way when bending to wash hands at the food court. Outlook was just a tool to check mail and keep reminders, and wasn’t anywhere near gmail in being cool. And dining ‘outside’ did not carry the same sense of exhilaration one had in college or in school days; it was everyday stuff. Three-times-everyday stuff, actually.

But the prospects of earning money – one’s own money – still seemed supernatural. Payday was still a few weeks away.

Every time we met some project manager or business leader, we used to guesstimate their salaries and wonder when we would reach that level. So also every time we saw someone drive out in a car. Any car.

As the month went by, we slowly got more and more excited about payday. We diligently logged into our ICICI web accounts every day, even if only to stare at zero balance. As days passed, the zero seemed to become more valuable.

As that happened, our pockets got slimmer too. We had all got some grace money from home to manage during the first month of working. Despite choosing the smallest of dharshinis, and avoiding snacks of all sorts, and using the bus and only the bus for travel, the bounty seemed to be getting thin rather fast. And the advance amount for the PG dealt a big blow very early on. So as the end-of-month drew closer, we were witness to a very spirited race – between the emptying of our pockets, and the filling up of our accounts with money as we had never known before. And we wouldn’t hear of asking for money from home. We were employed after all. It was just a matter of managing the month.

We learnt from some friends who had joined earlier that salary was unfailingly delivered to the account on the last working day of the month. July 31st was a Monday. Drats! If the calendar had been earlier by a day, I would have received my pay on Friday itself. Now one would have to coast across the weekend to see the non-zero account balance. For the first ever time in one’s life.

Monday the 31st found us trio very pensive. (The 4th guy being an NRI offspring, was well endowed and wasn’t bothered so much about it all. And he would have helped us had we asked. But for some reason, we didn’t). Anyway, the whole of that Monday, all three of us needed no excuses to login into the online account, and to rush to the ATM (just in case the online database was slightly outdated). We had gathered that one would receive an SMS when ‘it’ happened. But who knows how trustworthy the connections were. Maybe ‘it’ had happened, but the system was slow on sending out SMSes? Who knows.

So we kept checking our accounts eleventy-eleven times that day. Soon it was time for the buses to start back from office. And still no signs of money. Or an SMS. We went home in silence that day. How could they be wrong? They have been drawing salaries for so many months now. How could they not know?

We reached our room and changed by 7. And were about to start for dinner, when LSK came to me and said “டேய் நண்பா.. காப்பாத்து டா.. என் கிட்ட பத்து ரூவா தான் இருக்கு.. உன் கிட்ட extra அஞ்சு ரூபா இருக்கு ல?”

“அஞ்சு ரூபாயா? திடீர்னு அவ்ளோ காசு கேட்டா நா எங்க போறது? என்கிட்டயே மூணு ரூபா தான் இருக்கு.. நானே உன்ன நம்பி ல இருந்தேன்?”

We both then slowly turned to look at EV, apprehensive about his response..

“என்னங்க டா முழிக்குறீங்க?”

“மச்சி.. உன் கிட்ட எவ்ளோ காசு இருக்கு?”

“கம்மியா தான் டா இருக்கு..”

“எவ்ளோ னு சொல்லு டா மூதேவி”

He opened his purse and started counting a few notes and coins..

“நாப்பத்து அஞ்சு ரூபா இருக்கு”

“Yabbbaaaaadiii.. நண்பன் போட்ட சோறு.. நிதமும் தின்பேன் பாரு!”

“என்னங்க டா பாடுறீங்க? என்ன விஷயம்?”

"ஒண்ணும் இல்ல மச்சி.. வா போலாம்..”

Thus, he sponsored our dinner that night which was promptly entered in our common book of accounts..

On the way back, one of us spotted an ATM.

“மச்சீ.. அங்க பாருங்க டா.. ATMu..”

We rushed there.. I reached first, and put in my card..

And punched in my PIN..

Selected Balance Enquiry..

Then Savings..

And waited with bated breath..

In a couple of seconds, the machine said “0.00”, followed by an unhelpful and humiliating “Do you want to continue?”..

Deflated totally, we went back to the room and crashed for the night hoping for a better tomorrow..

The next morning, all of us kept checking our phones for any SMS every 10 minutes as we got ready.. Soon it was time for the bus.. We travelled in silence the whole 20 minutes it took to reach our office on Mysore Road.. We were quite grumpy in mood.. So much when someone stomped on a friend’s foot in the pathway, he started with “ஓத்..”

Only to be silenced by the other 2 of us “Shhh.. மூட்றா மயிராண்டி.. இன்னும் சம்பளம் வராம இருந்தா அவன் கிட்ட தான் கடன் கேக்கணும்.. மூடிட்டு வா.. அய்யாவுக்கு ஒரு good morning சொல்லி வை”..

“Hmmm.. நம்ம கிட்ட எவ்ளோ டா இருக்கு இப்போ?”

“உன் கிட்ட பத்து.. என் கிட்ட மூணு.. இவன் கிட்ட சூன்யம்.. மொத்தம் பதிமூணு.. நீதான் இருக்குறதுலே பணக்காரன்”

“மூணு வடை வாங்குறதுக்கு கூட ரெண்டு ரூபா கொறயுதே..”

“…”

Soon we were in office.. we got down in pin drop silence and moved towards the ATM without sharing a word.. As we entered, LSK said “இரு டா.. இந்த வாட்டி நா check பண்ணி பாக்குறேன்”.. I moved aside..

He put in his card..

Punched in his pin..

Selected Balance Enquiry..

Then Savings..

The machine took a second to process, before displaying

“Rs. 13,129”

In big bold letters.

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!! We were rich.

Or at least, we could afford our next meal ourselves!!

“Daiiiiii.. விடுங்க டா.. என் காலை மிதிச்ச அந்த நாய தேடி புடிச்சு நாக்கு புடுங்கிட்டு வர்றேன்.. யாரு கிட்ட!”

“அத விடு மச்சி.. மொதல்ல withdraw பண்ணு.. போய் சாப்டுவோம்..”

“டேய் அந்த பில்டிங் என்ன வெலை?? இந்த கார் என்ன வெலை?? Road-aa போட்டுருக்கானுங்க? தூ.. புதுசா போடா சொல்லு, காசு நான் தர்றேன்..”

Yapping our way to glory, we rushed to the food court with money. Our money.

And ate one vada more than usual.

While the happiness of earning one’s money was orgasmic, I had to keep my emotions under control. I saw myself more as a guardian of all that money. I had to save up for MBA. If in case I did succeed in getting into one of the IIMs, preferably IIMB, I would need that money. All of it. And more.

Two years later, IIMB decided to let me in.

Two years later, IIMB decided to let me out.

Sometime last week, I called up the missus one evening.

Me: “Hi..”

Missus: “Hi..”

“என்ன secret-aa பேசுறே? எங்க இருக்கே?”

“Hospital ல.. Navaneeth-க்கு அடி பட்டுருச்சு.. பாக்க வந்துருக்கோம்”

“Ohh.. எந்த hospital?”

“Ramakrishna”

“Hospital என்ன வெலை?”

30 comments:

King Vishy said...

முதல் பார்வை..
முதல் சிரிப்பு..
முதல் வணக்கம்..
முதல் குறுந்தகவல்..
முதல் முத்தம்..

ஈதனைத்தை விடவும்

முதல் சம்பளம்..
செம்ம குஜால்ஸ்!!

Sekhar said...

Did it end like this - "There are some things Vishy can't buy.For everything else,there's mastercard".

Madhan Krish said...

Excellent post that I could relate very well with!!

LOL-ed @ 'இன்னும் சம்பளம் வராம இருந்தா அவன் கிட்ட தான் கடன் கேக்கணும்.. மூடிட்டு வா..' and '..இவன் கிட்ட சூன்யம்.. மொத்தம் பதிமூணு.. நீதான் இருக்குறதுலே பணக்காரன்' :D

And true, it's somehow difficult to ask money from home once you are 'employed' :)

By the way, you had 5 digits for a starting salary??!! பணக்காரன் பா!! :D

King Vishy said...

@sekhar.. anna apdi laam illeengna.. utmost, ippo naa daily cream bun vaangi saappdulam without worrying abt the money side of things.. ambuttu thaangnna..

@madhan krish.. thanks da :)
and 5 digits for starting salary ya.. dai, yaaru firstu ngradhu mukkiyam illa.. kadaiseela yaaru first varraangradhu than mukkiyam.. neenga laam scientist baa.. pinnaadi pinni pedaleduppeenga la??

Vijiram said...

un first comment beats all . i was hoping for something on your muthal sambalam after the elusive MBA :) .. hope that is coming very soon .. ?

Murali said...

vishy..my muthal sambalam was a diff story.HR oa** pasanga payroll na ennoda paera thappa update pannitaanga..Salary credit agala..thy gave me a cheque and had to wait for couple of days :-(
btw..yet to get ur mudhal maasam MBA salary??

Tanay said...

Can you translate the last 5-6lines? It's more of a sincere request :P

ரமேஷ் said...

Benz, Benz car theriyumaa unaku.. oru kilometer neelathuku irukum.. munnadi sakkaram maathiri round aah irukum.. :P
I loved it,
“Hospital என்ன வெலை?”

King Vishy said...

@vijiram.. vandhuruchu da :) The last part is abt that!

@murali.. ha ha.. that cheque thing happened to a friend here.. seems to be common!!
And mba salary vandhuruchu da :) last part is abt that..

@Toin.. Heyyyy how are you man?! :)
Will translate.. you may not get the context as it has a reference to something else from the post (which was also in Tamil), but shall try..

Me: “Hi..”
Missus: “Hi..”
Me: “Why are you whispering? Where are you?”
Missus: “At the hospital.. Navaneeth has got hurt and has been admitted here..”
Me: “Ohh.. Which hospital?”
Missus: “Ramakrishna”
Me: “What's the valuation for the Hospital?”

Not sure if that helped :)

Porkodi (பொற்கொடி) said...

I could reply only in the form of a kosuvathi post.. :)

ரமணன்... said...

Cool n interesting..:)
every guy will remem his first ..
Kudos for the apt finish..

i din mind much about my first salary..
ஏன்னா அதுக்கு மேல கடன் வாங்கிருந்தேன் :)

Anonymous said...

ha ha sooober na...good narration...esp the "hospital enna vela" part :)

Arunrajkumar Kaki said...

machi... Naan Mudhal sambalam vanguna appo yennoda roommate kaalala eluppi intha road ena velai kettan da,,, chancae illa machiii

Anonymous said...

finishing ...super "nach" .could nt help remembering master story teller Sujatha!
Shaanthi.

Ramya said...

u shud write more in tamil... strting la slow un kadhai thaane padicha.. tamil portions vandhadhum sema comedya pochu... sooper feel abt first salary.. ippo raaja aattam la irukeenga!!!

liked the humour behidn throught the post....

“மூணு வடை வாங்குறதுக்கு கூட ரெண்டு ரூபா கொறயுதே..”

write more in tamil :)

King Vishy said...

@ramesh.. thanks da :) adhey benz car feeling than :D

@porkodi.. Thanks for the effort! feeling honoured :P

@ramanan.. he he.. ippo en position adhu than.. kadanaali :D

@anon.. thanks thambi :) but who's this??

@arunrajkumar.. nice coincidence :) but not surprised.. ellaam common sources machi :D

@shaanthi.. mom, sujatha and self - nowhere near!! But while on the topic, you could read "Black Moon" story on porkodi's blog.. A Ganesh-Vasanth fan fiction.. very interesting read!

@ramya.. actually of late i have been writing too much in tamil :) So much that am worried about losing my non-tam readers.. guess i have lost many already!!
But ya, want to write lot more in Tamil too.. Sujatha illaadhappo oru creative scientist naattula korayudhu.. post ku apply pannalaama nu iruken :P But seriously, feels great to write in tamil in bits :) Not sure if am ready for full-length tamil posts..

Porkodi (பொற்கொடி) said...

so there are three kind'a audience for people like us - english only fellas, tamizh only makkal, thanglish buggers. very mutual exclusive set, trust me.

தக்குடுபாண்டி said...

ROFTL post dude! //Hospital என்ன வெலை?”// was classic...:)

Kavity said...

I still remember that day two years back. It was pouring outside, I was stuck at some client site, my account was not attached to the salary system. When I collected the cheque, it was a week late already and then I deposited it in the bank. There was some panga with the processing, and by the time I got my first month's salary, it was time for the next one!
First salaries rock! I just now blew up alllll of my second first paycheck on mindless stuff :D
Loved the last line - "Hospital enna velai" - so which one are you planning to buy? :P

Divya Bala said...

That was good! Loved the funny stuff in Tamil,lol-worthy. And yeah, nice punch ending. Keep it up.

பத்மகிஷோர் said...

//“Rs. 13,129”

In big bold letters.//
2625 வடை பார்சல்...

King Vishy said...

@porkodi.. so true!! wondering whether to start tagging posts appropriately now on..

@thakkudu.. Thank you for coming!! :) and for the comment.. have seen your comments on porkodi's posts.. was plannin to visit your blog one of these days.. adhukulle neengalae vandhuteenga :)

@kavity.. ellaam oru vilambaram than :P and saaad stuff, your story!! i would have cried endlessly had that happened to me!

@divx.. thank you!! :) And when the hell will you restart blogging??

King Vishy said...

@padmakishore.. lol :D naa apdi pannaalum pannuven..

Arvind Suresh said...

:) Lovely post,

Perfect ending!

desh said...

u knw i am a skillful person and hav many a skills, but cant read tamil :)

althgh wud love to learn it, doin tht means I can lay my hands on 100s of masala movies in a yr, the sort of whch bollywood never makes nw :)

those days were awesome, the initial ones at bangalore, cud relate to most of it :)

whr r u nwdays?

Venkat Muthukrishnan said...

Nice post on first salary..guess many would have memories (not necessarily fond!, I guess) of their first salary.

You have dramatized the entire episode well.. could have cut short a little bit? may be.. (don't take it otherwise)

King Vishy said...

@arvind suresh.. thanks da :)

@desh.. lol :D Sure you don't get Tamil masala type movies in bollywood of late.. But if you are looking for masala stuff, gult-land is the place to go!
And do learn Tamil soon.. I can then suggest numerous movies which couldn't have been made in any other language, in another sense :)
And ya.. the first few days at MT were awesome.. transition from campus to corporate.. And the beautiful GV location.. Programming Exercises!!!! :)
Am in banglr now da.. will be moving to UK shortly..

@venkat.. Hmmm.. true.. everyone seems to remember their first salary for happy or otherwise reasons..
And ya I know the post was long, but it started somewhere (as a senti post) and moved on elsewhere.. Didn't feel like editing.. hence the disclaimer at the beginning :)

Girl of Destiny said...

I was grinning all thru' the post :-)
Took me back to the excitement of my first salary!

Gayathiri said...

naice ....and u really have built up the excitement right when i am expecting my first paycheck after MBA....

King Vishy said...

@girl of destiny..
Glad to see you back to commenting here :) And why dont you tell us all about that first salary of yours??

@gayathiri..
Heyy glad you visited!! :) and kangaaro-relations on your first paycheck!