Once I Went To The Bank….

When I was little I would receive pocket money from my dad occasionally, it was not a weekly or monthly thing. Once in high school in a burst of childish anger I told my parents that they were very bad people and that they didn’t love me because all my friends got their pocket money every week or at least once a month. As I was not ready to talk to either of them for a while, my dad brought my favorite ice cream to calm me down.

Later that evening they made my brooding, sulking self to sit in front of them and asked me why I needed pocket money every week. That was an unexpected question. It took awhile for me to come up with a tangible excuse. At the top of my mind were chocolates, samosas and other things that would convince them not to give me any money.
I finally told them it was for project work, to get a Xerox copy of notes and then to buy ice cream, chocolates and samosas.
It didn’t convince them and I never got a monthly or weekly pocket money.

They told me that giving me so much money would spoil me and that I would never understand the value of it. My love for chocolates, ice cream and this amazing chat samosa knew no bounds. My parents hated this love affair with the chat shop in front of my school.

I would ask for money whenever I wanted to buy notes or any other school related stuff. I would always ask for a little more than what it actually cost and my dad would always give a little more than what I asked for. I saved the money from that until I could ask him again under any pretext I could find.

I remember, later when I joined PUC my dad took me to the State Bank of Mysore next to my college to open an account for me. He told me that I was old enough to handle my own expenses and learn about savings.
He just wanted me to have an account in case of some emergency but he made it seem like he was finally allowing me to handle money.
I was 16 and thrilled about having a bank account which I know seems like the most basic and trivial thing to have.

He got me the forms to fill which were 6 pages long back and front. These days in most of the banks it’s only a page or two and you just have to attach a copy of your Aadhar card, back then you had to submit a marks card (in my case as it was a student account) birth certificate, address proof and some document relating me to my dad.
It took me half an hour to fill those forms, attach everything and stick my passport size photo and submit it.

I went back after 20 or so days on receiving a letter from the bank stating that my account was active and that I had to make an initial deposit. My dad made me fill one of those yellow challans with a thousand small boxes to write in.
I deposited 500 rupees and filled out two more forms to get a cheque book and Debit card. As small as it may seem now it was a massive deal if you are 16, probably in a very nerdy way.

It was over in a day and the money was there in the account untouchable and unusable. The only thing I could do in that account was to deposit and never withdraw since any action on that account would generate a message that would reach my mom’s phone.
It was just clever of my parents, they could now deposit ten thousand rupees in that account that I could never use or probably it was just the typical Indian thing to do, saving. Definitely worked though, I did save and by the end of my second year PUC I had saved enough to buy a silver chain and finger ring that I still wear now.
I closed that account once I left college.

The reason I suddenly recalled this weirdly nostalgic incident now is because a few days before the Quarantine started I had to physically go to the bank to deposit money. It was some sort of an emergency and I rushed to the bank with my dad.
I had expected it to be done quickly as in recent days you have machines to deposit the money in.
No challans, no writing in those tiny boxes and no long queues.
Unfortunately that day the machines were not working in the bank due to some technical problems.

Suddenly, I was clueless about what I was supposed to do. I knew I had to deposit the money but I just did not know how. I overheard someone saying that we had to take a token and wait for our turn.
The token was generated electronically and I got one of those and promptly sat down waiting for them to call my token number. My dad came searching for me by then and we started chatting until I heard my token number called.

I reached the front of the counter and told the lady that I had to deposit money and gave her my passbook and the money. She looked at me oddly, her face confused.
She asked me for the challan and I think I probably looked at her dumbfounded as if I had never heard of the concept of filling a challan.
She sniggered at first but then looked at me closely. I don’t know if I should be thankful or disappointed at the way I look.
She assumed that I was a kid in the bank for the first time.
She patiently explained that I had to fill a challan in order to deposit or withdraw money.
“Here, take this form and fill it.” She said and handed me a challan. I mumbled an apology, my face red, burning with shame and came back to where my dad was sitting.

He was looking at me dubiously trying to control his laugh and trying to look angry. He finally laughed out loud when I asked him for a pen. I filled the form and deposited the money and ran out of the bank as soon as possible.

It had been years since I had stepped into a bank and was so used to the digital way of dealing with everything that I forgot the basics.

It sure is a funny story that my dad can remind me of and have a good laugh at, but it just shows how much we are sucked into the digital world.
How much we are controlled by it.We can not deny the fact that there are extremely good advantages of the internet, digital media but we also can’t unsee the fact that if you allow it, it will completely take control of your life.

I think this generation and the future ones to come need to find a balance of using this wide world of opportunity while preserving the sanctity and sanity of our mind.

This incident made me realise that it necessary to stay in touch with reality and the basics of our life or it might just be my way of justifying a dumb and stupid incident. *Wink*

Image Source: I tried sketching after a long time…..

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