Sunday, June 8, 2008

Chair I

Most of my saving/earning habits come from my childhood, One of them is here for you to read, cherish with your own memories

My father had lots of different tools in his tool trunk. He is not an engineer or craftsman by job, but knows in-depth fixing techniques for all home furnishings and also is too creative when it comes to usage of bolts and nuts.

I always used to admire the whole of march weekends, he will be busy building a summer tent for us to play before our summer vacation, where the mercury melts too high in thermometer.
On the summer vacation of VI standard, I told my longest wish - I would like to use the tools for something. He first hesitated and asked what for? I immediately told him I needed a desk. I really have no idea moment before. But, the desk we use for studying is tall enough that i used pillows on my chair to reach the surface.

He wanted to me list all the needed items and a step by step task list of what all am going to do, and we will shop all the needed by the evening. I started writing my list and tasks to be completed. I remember adding like one rectangle piece of four foot long - to be cut into four one foot long legs.One plank for the top. connectors between the legs and hinges.

My Father asked me - why four legs?, I was thinking for a while and told him only then the desk will be stable."why not eight legs, then""no, that will be a waste of money"good - he said and we went to shop, not the wood depot but the furniture showroom, he just lifted me and seated on a nice desk and chair combo - asked if i liked it - which i was very much - we came home with that

I still insisted using his tools to do something. He asked me take my old chair for this "project" and disassemble and assemble it. I happily agreed and started with chalk marks of which is where and disassembled the chair completely. It was pretty late in the eveing when i finished and had to join the dinner with all. After dinner, when i came back to start, both my parents said it is not good to work with "big" mechanical tools after the dusk and so I can wake up the next day early morning in the dawn to continue the rest. I was also feeling pretty sleepy and went straight to bed, close to my new desk, with one of arms resting in the arm rest of the new polished chair.

I don't know how I woke up, but I was too fresh and it was pretty early in the morning. The sun has already started the journey and sent some beams of light to test the path before running over. I hastily brushed and took the tools and started. My mom was all happy to see me woke up early on a sunday. I started putting the base of the chair with a "bottom up" approach. Took my breakfast and kept working. My father checked with if i needed help and stood behind to support the chair as and when required. With sweat all over, I finally nailed in the last screw and the chair is ready by now. I was so happy with this chair than my new one. I have already raised the seatbase as a part of "enhancement" and now I discarded my new chair and always used to sit in my old chair.

This not only awaken my curiousity but my entire view towards furniture has been changed. I started dusting all the furnitures in the house, suggested small changes and enhancements in furnitures to our neighbours, volunteered to repair some of their furnitures as well. Slowly it faded when I got my own new bicycle, but the knowledge acquired still remains afresh.
When I started earning, I moved to different place and different country. My parents also moved to a different house.

One day, I was casually asking him about my old chair and where it is. My father added a silent note: things always come and go, it is not the chair, it is the skill that has to be preserved, you did a great job there. I could feel some pain or void internally somewhere in my heart - I felt like crying. I tried asking - is it for a chair? am I so brittle with such a muscular presence. Is this what people call deep love - but chair is an inanimate thing. That night, I visualized strange dreams of past - where my brother scratched my old chair with name and I took the compass to scratch his hand, blood starting coming out ; I added a garland to my chair the very next year in summer and distributed handwritten/painted invitations to friends and neighbours for the "First birthday of my chair". I wanted to celebrate the chair assembling day as the birthday for chair. Remember distributing tea and sweets to all on the evening gathering, of course encouraged by my parents.

Somehow I felt a little headache when I woke up next morning. I already saw my parents have come online. It's a sunday morning. I straight took my laptop and started talking to them. I was checking on some mails, ooosh, I was again late for one of the credit card payment now. I told my parents, I will be back in a moment and went online to my bank and transferred the money to credit card payment through bill payer where I could already see a late fee of $35 is posted.
When I rejoined the chat, my parents seemed a little worried on their face, I told them the payment delay. My father asked me "How many credit cards do you have""eight"he laughed but continued"how many salaries do you get"I instantly said "two""how""oh they pay here once in 15 days""so that is still one salary then""yes"

"how many legs a chair needs?"I was totally taken back by this question - it shot me like an arrow deep within."what is that for, it can be 3 or 4""which is more stable""i believe four, but what's up, why suddenly""Son, I thought with the chair lesson you may have learnt the basics of life as well as economics - didn't you"

"I didn't get that father, can you please" before I finish, he started - he never interrupts unless emotionally charged - this made the conversation too sensitive"if four legs are needed to support one plank in the chair, don't we need four streams of income to support one life?""on contrary, what am hearing from you is, one legged chair, whose legs are already split into two, supporting eight monsters and a lean man"I got the eight monster he refers to are the credit cards, "but whoz the lean man""that's you my son - you also use cash right, I remember you told me last week on the shirt that you got from the mall"

For a moment I wasnt speaking, I needed some time to think"May i call you in five minutes papa" I wasn't waiting for his reply and cut the chat.I again felt something too sharp hitting me very deep inside. Damn!, what a stupid am I. I felt ashamed to call myself a technofunctional geek in finance, when my very basic finance structure is in peril. I realized what my father was quoting, last week Friday I went to mall and saw a nice shirt, am in need of a shirt and trouser for a long time. The price was $60 and didn't take it thinking I would go for something cheap in $25-$30. Now am happily losing $35 without bargain inspite of all great technological marvels surrounding me all the time.

I opened a new excel sheet at my computer and made a quick budget sheet, reconciled the month's savings and so forth. I don't have the sweat or long day this time, I already downloaded all I needed from the net and sort of added it to one sheet containing all my financial information. Saved it with password protection and sent it to my father.I also enabled auto payment of minimum balance to evade the fine in future. It all took me just an hour or so.

After sending - I told him to take a look at it while I take my shower and went straight for the cold shower.At times of pressure, exhortion, argument, I just go and stand below the shower, and let the cold water drip forcily down, washing the whole body as well as the invisible emotions too get washed away. I am back in my towel.Waiting for my ping, he came online and was very happy - "I am so proud and a little sad this time"I was surprised - "Sad for what dad?""I always felt you are not caring for your financial position, but thought it wouldn't be appropriate as you are working for one of world's top financial institution, but am proud because, you still possess the same perseverance, great job my son"

"thanks dad, am kind of relieved a lot now""no son, you still have to think of the same chair now""what now""As I was seeing through your accounts, it seems you have only one bank account - first add another bank or two - hope you have electronic payment of salary and can divide amongst all these banks""Yes, I can ask my company to auto-deposit and that will fetch fee waiver in bank accounts mostly""Also, review the credit cards, I have no clue why you need 8 - this is certainly heavy set to control and tame - why don't you cancel the last 5 cards in the list - I see that you have not used in couple of months and also their APY is heavy"He has really done some quick home work - went to all 8 credit card to check the intial APY each offers.

He continued "Have you reviewed your credit history recently, I was reading in some where, seems one report is free annually - why don't you see that to assess your real situation"This is another big blow. I always wanted to do this but was thinking I will have a better score and anyway I haven't done anything worse and kept on postponing.I immediately started from one of the credit beureu and went to all 3 - the report was shocking, how many issues each one have - I went ahead and sent emails to all of them and escalated with the credit buereu that this is not correct, they promptly replied back saying a dispute is created and will keep me posted on the updates.

I switched back to my father "Anything else left now!..."My mom hastily added " please go and have your breakfast at least, these can continue after that also"
I don't want to argue on this as I know where this will end - so quickly grabbed a bread and toasted it, spread some peanut butter and came back"Yes mom, am done with this, where is papa"

"Son, let us now think for the four legs, I see that all your money parked in checking account that doesn't fetch a penny - how about some savings account"

"yes dad, am already working on that, I am comparing the APY which is the real indicator and not the APR - this is taking me some time, I will be done by EOD""That sounds like a plan, good, also - how about revisiting your expense side"

"Dad, there is nothing much on it, it's just the rent, cable, internet, electricity, food, car related and phone"

"I see that you have bought premium package in cable, but how many channels do you see there? I thought you also have a web2tv already"
"That's right, I can check their other options"

"Oh - I also see a landline bill on your credit card statement, we didn't know you have a landline phone, is it still there"
"Yeah dad, I got it in a deal, it was kind of free for 3 months, only from last month they started billing - i need to cut that"
"have you ever used it"
"nope - I even forgot the number" - I mumbled, though the number flashed on my head and I remember calling from this to my friends few times when it came.

"Why is it that electricity is shooting up consistently? I checked on Powerlight website and seems heavy families have your kind of bill, hope you are single still :)"

"Oh please dad, i don't know, let me check out today or call them to inspect"

"ok - is your AC on"
"yes dad"
"then how come am hearing the car start sound in the street so loud that just passed by - is it from the TV"

ooh - i just started checking out and seems one of my window is open all these days, the closed blinds there waving that looked like a glee saying in subtle words - let the world enjoy some A/C from this home.

"you are great dad, now i hope something else will be already brewing out there, what's it"

"Son - seems either you are eating too much or throwing lots of party""nope - nothing like that, what's this for"

"I see lots of grocery purchase on your credit cards"

"I use for readymade food and the other mostly for groceries and vegetables"

I checked my bills to see what's hitting up - its the frozen food - typically i buy them in lots but couldn't eat some of them - they go waste in bin or still sleeping in freezer - my freezer is completely full these days and everytime i open - something falls - gotta clean it up a lot

"Well boy!.. Too much for the sunday - take care and if possible come online tomorrow - good day"

"Good night to you too..."

Started for my jogging - left the ipod at home - jogging is when I get time and most of the times get great ideas - slowed down on the slope and unintentionally saw the curves of the tree going too slanting towards the ground - one of the side effects of roadside trees - always to perch against the road as most of the times grooming will cut their roadside branches too much - what the cutters don't know is roots will develop exactly opposite side of the strongest branch and having strong roots will elevate roads and very soon cracks will appear on the surface and that will suggest uprooting the tree - man's ignorance causes nature pay price.

Soon after an early dinner - called up my parents, he wisely cut the call and came online in a minute and half - system boot time, else he will call me.

"Good Morning - had a nice sleep?"

"Sure son - what do we have to think over now, anyway last evening was another wonderful time - okay now am passing on the mike to amma - she has lots to say"

I know where will this start, i slowly said "hmmm... start, am really listening - you see me right - no hidden ear plugs"

"today am not going to talk about your marriage - appa told me that truth - at least show me her face, we are not stopping you to marry anyone by the way"

"what? so you started a new technique of blaming me - that too living with my wife without telling you - come on its early morning, i just brew my coffee - you don't have to brew some stories"

"then how come you have bought grinder, that too imported from here and didn't even tell me"

"oh please mom - that's done 2-3 months back - i wasnt planning to hide that - it just so happened and skipped my mind - this is why i always tell you that I will speak and you listen - when you start yours my speakers go deaf and the mind as well"

Thankfully my papa intervened and said "that's it - i will take not more than 2 minutes - one - yes i told her that you bought grinder, but never told her that you got married and all ; by the way - are you paying for woods now also - saw some of your payment descriptions as "wood payment"

"yes dad - come on how can i forget that"

Wood payment - how clever my parents are, they weaved all the needs and future education in just stories - the bedtime stories so that we dream of that and assimilate. I know how many times he used to tell me the same story again and again and I also enjoy hearing the same - at times i even remember demanding him like
"today only wood story two times and nothing else"

Everytime he will take the same patient approach and give me complete story in slow moments and introduce some small new terms or an exact replica of last time - even the cooing sounds will also be realistic.The same words echoing now also just by the word wood story - There lived a merchant, by the name dhamanakan, he sold wood logs for his living, he used to cut trees at summer, stock it near his warehouse in the jungle and transport it in small quantities to the shop near his home every week to sell them.Once in winter, he went to the warehouse to bring some big wood logs for sale. The time he reached there, it was already dark and he planned to stay in for night and move the logs in the morning. He lighted a small fire in the fireplace to keep himself warm.

Being a merchant, he didn't want to waste too many logs and so he kept on telling the fireplace that, "give me more fire and heat then i shall give you some more logs" - as time passed, he already started shivering and the fire also doused off. He repeated the same but nothing happened.

When he realized its too cold, he couldn't even move his hand to light the fire and add more logs.

The moral of the story is keep donating - charity has to be there at every moment to get more money - the other way is not true - if you keep saying let me have more money then i will donate - remember the merchant Dhamanakan.

Suddenly, I was shaky for a moment and come back and asked them.."Dad, though i have asked you couple of times, this time, may i insist both of you to come here - and in return, i shall do 2 things - one - show my wife here if exists or comes out from thin air, two - get another girl from india and make her my wife by coming with you when you return back"

Instantly both are laughing loud and dad said "book the tickets" but mom was a little hesitant and continued " you know what, we cannot come now, if we come there who will see the girl for you - we will wait, see the girl - you tie the knot and then we can come with you - at least we will have some one to speak to when you are away - but one thing is sure - as papa said - book the tickets, not for us but for you - come here in a week, i will show you herds of girls to choose from - choose the choice and get married - i am not listening anything else and saying bye now - can you please cut the call before he opens something"

I said " amma you would like to listen to this - give me 5 mins and I shall book my tickets and tell you the dates when am coming - and you don't have to show me herds of girls - I will show you my girl - just wait till i come, but don't tell this to anyone - not even to our servent maid"

This time only my dad laughed loud ...

Nice memories make life - some months back, I was on purchase spree and got some items like electrical fleece warmer that keeps warm all the time at thermostat set degrees, solar flashlight that charges in sun during day and emits light all the night with no switch to turn off and fig fruits, body massager and some more.

After a week, I decided to send all this to my parents and told them the same word - "All this is for you only don't tell this to anyone as I want you to use this and not give it to someone"

Seems my mom told the servant maid of all these items in a casual talk and the word spread and by the time the parcel reached our home, all the items inside was already booked by one or other neighbor/relative with a genuine need theory fabricated around the object.

So they have to give all of that except the flashlight - one day it so happened there was a power cut and the maid has to go home - she took this flashlight and from next day she didnt turn for work...

Just to break the silence, i said "whats the lunch plan today there?"there was still no answer from my mom - I know she is really confused and couldnt get a small speck idea of which girl am pointing

"Mom - listen, there is no such girl in my mind now, relax, but what am saying is, i will come like thalaivar Shivaji and help you find my own girl"

Now she laughed"Listen - I will never go out of your way for marriage or anything for that matter - you can still trust me"

"Thank god - I will come in a minute - you both keep talking" she rushed to kitchen and she was out.
We both know where she is heading to - the nearest vinayagar temple to give HIM a coconut. Anything that worries her, her prayer always limits to one coconut to nearest temple for erasing that worry - oh yeah, the prayer will also specify the time limit within which HE has to solve the issue else he loses the coconut offering even it is solved.

This suddenly reminds me of the TIME management that we came across; I had to actually write an essay with TIME as the topic for one of our school competition - typically, we, whole family sit together and discuss on these things, my mom will also add some masala puri or kara sev as side dish for the discussion.
We never know when she makes all these, mostly during nights after all of us slept, she will be in kitchen preparing for some weekend, occasion, pickles and what not - but the amazing thing is she will be freshly awake the next morning and will be on run - I still couldn't believe how she derived all those energy and where from...

Ok, coming back to Time Management - My father gave me a great idea for Time management - its more like real conversation than essay, basically on conclusion, we will understand the same concept of Urgent and Important quadrants.
When there are kids playing, some ---- we will see this in next blog, now I need to rush...

No comments: