Saturday Morning it was: It is always best to start with, almost no tension of going to office anymore.
I did my schooling from a small town from one of state which is outside periphery of development . The dreams were big as a kid, but not big enough if compared with child of same age from any Metro city. The slow speed of small town. The pace slower than that of movement of pole star.
Had seen times when going to bank use to be big task, going there, being in line for hours , influencing officers, giving cheques, getting token and then waiting for token numbers and cashier call for that token number. 2-3 hours process for taking your own money. The backdrop was Late 80s and Early 90s. ATM machines were unimaginable in those days atleast for small town boy. Thankfully Offices had Peons and they use to do this tedious task for officers. People use to carry cash and emergency Cash at home. If any medical emergency use to come, neighbours use to come for rescue, probably the reason brotherhood was alive in society.
Time changed this boy started reaching adolescence, shifted to the largest Metro, Took admission in Govt engineering college of City. (yes India govt colleges are still most respected). His dreams were different, the memory of smaller town had place in a small corner of his heart, but slowly getting folded even if not faded. The Technology revolution had come, I was engineer and MBA from premium School and working with one of MNC. Shifted to newly developed millennium city. Nationalized banks were marginalized, MNCs and Indian MNC scheduled banks had taken their position for elite and not so elite salaried middle class. Money transferring was matter of Plastic cards, few clicks on Internet and also about pushing few buttons on mobile phone.
Life is about doing some so so glorified work, presenting that as rocket science and path breaking innovation on tool called PPT and living in rented flat which were 10 times higher than rent in smaller town, Buying smallest of the smaller flats at periphery of town and Paying EMI for rest of life, going on International Holiday twice a year , having outside food on weekend with friends which cost equal to grocery cost of entire month in one meal and Partying at disco at night where you clear feel you don’t belong but still you does that so that you don’t look outliers. The entire dream of becoming elite since childhood was lost in pseudo life of thriving for becoming elite while fully realizing one’s status is no better than his grandparent status in small villages.
What I and many people didn’t realize that whenever the development happens only for small section of society, it happens at cost of larger section of society. Too much dependency on Cars and Private vehicle screw the public transport system, which is life line for almost 90% of people. While designing city, the architects (the city planners) don’t keep provision for this class and later on they negotiated them at minimum wages without considering the human angle in this ridiculously costly city. We just exploit.
But that night the communist inside me had slept long ago. That was Friday night or rather early Saturday morning for rest of the world. Banking means NEFT/RTGS/Mobile Banking/ATM/2 min express counter at Sceducled banks. We also had heard that these banks are reaching smaller towns and service like 1 window scheme has reached nationalised banks too. That was development for us. Because we never had empathy to consider Famine and suicide of farmers because of that. But As I said the communist/socialist inside me had slept long ago.
I was dreaming about having dreamless good sleep, or may be about one of those actress in some sexy movie or may be some yesteryear crush from my past, whom I use to admire. Anyways thats not important here.
Tring Tring...... (only for explanation, Smart phone nowadays sound totally different)
It was early hours of morning 8.20 AM. (yes for me it was early).
I saw the name(oh caller ID is another invention, thanks to true caller its even better) it was my cousin who is 15 year older than me from backhome, I knew something is serious!
Hi, I replied. Whats the matter? I replied.
Agastya.... my son bittu who is studying engineering near in Mangalore... (Though I was disconnected from my relatives but I was aware enough to know relatives whereabouts)
Yeah what happened to Bittu ....( I knew my cousin will not sound so disturbed unless there is something very serious)
Bittu need some money urgently , he need to submit to some funds. Today is last day for the same. Else they will not allow him to participate him in placements. (dam these private colleges, they don’t lose single opportunity to milk parents) . Placements things were serious. I thought.
And These Temp Teachers have called for Bihar Band and no bank is open here today Agastya. So I thought of asking you to help.
Oh Come on Bhaiya, You don’t need to ask for help, you just have to order me. Don’t do formality. Give me his account number, I will do NEFT just now.
Agastya, Today is satuday, and there is no gurantee that NEFT will reach on time. College is there 90 km outside Manglore. It has only one branch of Bank of India and that closes at 11.30 on Saturday and money need to be put in that before 11 so that Bittu can withdraw it. I know I am troubling you, but I hope you understand.
OH Come on.... you don’t need to be formal bhaiya.... I replied. BANK OF INDIA..... my god what is that.... I recollected that 2-3 hour procedure by peon long long back.
I brushed in 5 min. Took car keys in pocket. And started searching BoI branch in millennium city. After 5 min of finding I shortlist 3 branchs which were near to my home. I thought Sector 40 Branch will be best suitable. I reached there by 9.15. Took money from ICICI bank ATM and entered branch.
To my surprise Bank was open. I entered. Found Bank manager was having tea at his table. Another employee was reading newspaper. Wow I thought, now I can do the thing.
‘I need to transfer money.’
‘Where is the account.’ He asked like enquiry.
‘How does the matter. This must be core banking.’
‘No We don’t take outside city transfer. You need to go to Islampur’
‘But you are free and with this system you can help me’
‘we have kept 1 staff for this work at Islampur branch, why should we do there work’
I had no idea where this Islampur is this millanium city.
‘How would I go to Islampur’ I reluctantly asked
‘Like you have come here’ was his reply
Bugger and many beep beep things. I thought.
‘Thats the reason people don’t come to nationalized bank’ I will close my account from here.”
With a secured job earned through entrance exam and knowing very well that person like me anyways must not be having any account with his bank, he was cool about it.
‘Tell me the address please’ I asked the manager ignoring the clerk. I had to reach there on time.
It was 5 KM from sector 40, I drove, I reached a village like place. Right between this so called millennium city. Parked my car on road. Broke the engine filter thanks to the road of millennium city which resembled the cheeks of Person who suffered from Chieken pox.
Anyways money was more important, Placement is most important. The time was 9.45 AM by now.
This branch opening time was 10 AM and already there was line of 10 people outside branch. I was surprise, all I was doing was substitute of 2 min click on internet. Most of the people there were speaking Bhojpuri, though I was in my pyjama, worst of my Tshirt and fancy Sleepers. But still these sleepers were costilier than shoes of those labour class people, and for them I was class apart.
They said ‘Sir, This is nothing if you will come on weekdays it will be Q of 100 people.’
‘Just for transferring money’ I asked with bit of doubt and surprise’
At 9.55 people came and entered the bank. Wow my worked will be done.
Till 10.15 bank was closed from inside. I being LFT(people with Low Frustration Tolerance) thanks to my education and near elite mentality I was fuming. I started knocking the door.
‘Pls open gate its 10.15’
‘Sir they normally open at 10.30’ some labour informed me with his experience.
‘Why the fuck they have written 10 AM’ This was not helping.
Atlast 10.30 Gate opened. Still till Q was unmoved till 10.45 no one came to attend people waiting in line.
At 10.45 I went to Manager. I asked why this is happening, 1.30 Min for one payment is not justified. I said in Hindi. For him it was only 15 min.
I waited for till 10.50. with every degree rotation of minute hand, the future of Bittu was setting.
I calculated I am behind 10 people, each transaction will take 3 min, so even if they start now it will be 11.20. and 11.30 Managlore branch will close.
‘when you will start taking’ I asked with all those worry and frustration at back of mind.
‘Sir We are understaffed. What to do’ someone will attend shortly. Branch will be open till 1.30.’
1.30, Manglore branch will close at 11.30. A nephew without placement. My LFT was becoming lower.
“Then Close the dam bloody branch” if you can’t run” I said in English. If you know India, you will understand A Frustrated Indian always speaks English
The English works better than any medicine. Suddenly he got enlightened. He realized, the old Tshirt is actually by choice and not by compulsion. He also recognised brands of Tshirt , pygama and Sleepers.
His order were becoming request. He ordered his employee, leave all other work and pls take sir’s money. Some people who were in lined looked, the guy told them to wait some more time and processed my money. They were understaff but had to save their job too. So common man can wait but people who talk English must be honoured.
My work was done. I had never realised power of accidental English I uttered in frustration. Commonmen were still in line. I went to car mechanic. My nephew confirmed he got money, he could sit for placement now! I had much more satisfaction than 1000 of NEFT, Online transfer, credit card transactions I did in last 10 years. I was also able to appreciated the impact of britisher in our life.
Saturday morning was gone , but I was satisfied. I was living in India I had an encounter with much bigger Bharat. My cousin thanked for the same and cursed the Temp Teachers who went on strike because they were being paid as less as minimum wages for unskilled labours. I felt for them as well as quality of education our next generation will get. I started thinking slowly slowly. Suddenly I saw the invitation of India Fashion week that night, My favourite actress Neha was Show stopper for a cotton based fabric fashion show. I remembered the cotton farmers doing suicide due to famine. The communism came back as soon as I became free!