This winter afternoon when Mumbai was comparatively cooler than previous years, I took out a few woolen clothes and jackets from the loft. What a sight it was to see the winter clothes that had been tucked away for so many years! I couldn’t wait to try my pullovers and jackets from college days, more so because I wanted to see how or whether they will fit me now. I had to wait to put them in the sun to get rid of the moldy smell that stored, unworn clothes develop.
A day later I tried the pullovers, they were all hugging me tighter than earlier, guess they were as happy as I was to get them wearing, I guess they knew I needed more warmth than I needed way back in college.
I then picked up the old jacket that I had worn several times for my campus interviews. Thin air of nostalgia filled the room. I put the jacket on; the buttons could barely meet their buttonholes. This was my jacket’s way of telling me that I had come too far in life, with one child, husband, in laws several new relationships, it made me think of the rewards and my accomplishments just like it did in my college days.
Wearing the Jacket I looked at myself in the mirror for a little longer, the mirror too had a different tale to tell.
Putting my hands in the pocket to get some more warmth I felt something inside and there I found hidden away in the inside of my jacket a 1000 Rs. note, the old currency that’s out of circulation now.
My first reaction was that of slight regret, the precious 1000 rupees gone waste, but as I held it a little longer, it brought a big smile on my face. It made me think of the things I could do with it 15 years ago. The beautiful college memories flashed back, how we waited for our parents to transfer the money to our accounts. How we withdrew the money soon after it was credited and the account always bordered on few 2-3 hundred rupees.
Life was simple, small things brought joy. Hostel dormitories and post mid-night Maggi-chai/coffee sessions were our source of ultimate joy and satisfaction.
Small things like getting one cocktail and sharing it among 3 friends; Ohh the power of 1000 Rupees and the joy it could bring way back then!
Our pocket money during all those 3 years was between 1500-2000 rupees and that could comfortably take care of our evening tea and snacks, cyber cafe expenses, weekend outings, mobile recharge, grooming expenses and so much more. I remember some of us taking short trips to Nainital/Mussorie from Lucknow out of this small pocket money. The college days have given me friendships to last a lifetime or may be beyond, if you believe in life after death – These are the friends who I still fall back on!
Surviving the month on a fixed amount didn’t just teach us about the significance of money . Sometimes running out of cash and other times helping friends with money, taught us that it wasn’t all, it taught us that relationships come before money.
That 1000 rupee note came back to my life as a reminder, telling me to treasure the tiny things in life that money can’t buy.