Saving for nothing

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Apr 14, 2017-

When I was a child, I used to dream of big things in the future. I always wished that the future would be filled with luxury. Twenty years ago, whenever I asked my parents for a rupee, they would say that they couldn’t afford it. They also said that if we forego our desires for a while, we children would get a good education and better health services in the future. My father never bought me any jeans, saying that they would not fit in a few months because our bodies would grow so fast. Five years ago, just before I got my first job, I asked my parents for Rs100, but they said they did not have the money and that I should wait until the future when things would become better.

With time, I also started thinking like my parents. When I was a grade 1 student, my parents gave me Rs1 daily for tiffin. As I grew older and got promoted in school, they increased my tiffin allowance too. By the time I became a fourth-year undergrad, my tiffin allowance had swelled to Rs30. The money given to me was always less than what my middle-class counterparts received. However, I wouldn’t spend all the money. I imagined that if I could save some money out of my tiffin allowance, little by little I could accumulate a good sum of money to spend on whatever I wished. I had kept all the money I saved in the 16 years of my student life in 50- and 100-rupee banknotes inside a book locked in my wardrobe.

Two years after I finished my undergraduate degree, I got an opportunity to go abroad to pursue postgraduate studies. The time to leave home was drawing closer, and I was scrambling with my preparations. On my last day at home before leaving for a foreign destination, I rushed to check the money I had saved for all those years. It totalled just Rs5,000. That was very little, it wasn’t even enough to buy a piece of luggage I needed for my trip. So I decided to give that money to my mother. It wasn’t enough to support her either, but it was all the money I had managed to collect by scrimping and saving over the years.

Then I realised that the money had lost its value. I began to imagine how happy I could have been if I had spent the money in the past when I had received it. That money was what I had saved at the expense of years of happiness, but it had little value in the present. I regretted that I had always worried so much about the future and given up so many things. I should have enjoyed the beauty of the present. 

- SAMRAT BARAL

Published: 14-04-2017 08:19

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