Thursday, 21st May, 2015.
9:00 A.M. It’s the third week of the month and I’m left with a grand total of Rs. 40 in my wallet. Ten days to the new month. Forty bucks. Zillion times the amount of debt already incurred. I can make it through! It can’t be that hard, right?
11:25 A.M. After three gruelling periods of meditating with my eyes open, chips and cold-coffee from Amul seem like a good idea. But fifty bucks do not. Maybe I’m not that hungry after all. Or maybe I could borrow some cash from one of my many magnanimous friends. No! I absolutely cannot, for I already am waist deep into debt. I shall stay back right here in the classroom and keep myself away from all the temptations that the Cafeteria and Amul offer. No more borrowing.
1:20 P.M. I am famished! But how do I bring myself to step into the Mess? It’s Thursday, and I never eat lunch in the mess on Thursdays. But I must finally break my record of not having eaten there the entire year. Growling stomach trumps unbroken records. Vee, my Thursday- eating-from-anywhere-but-the-mess buddy looks at me in disbelief, her big squirrely eyes flinching from the betrayal. She offers to buy me food from the Cafeteria. I can’t afford to take anymore debt I tell her. Her eyes only widen in shock. After all, that record couldn’t have been made all alone. Vee was with me in it all through. I give in. Proudly, at that. For friendship trumps debt!
3:05 P.M. I am lying on my bed and feeling sorry for myself over my bankruptcy. How did I get here? Maybe, throwing lavish birthday treats isn’t a very smart thing to do. (Noodle Bowl does count as lavish). Neither is throwing fancy farewells (Mughlai Express is certainly fancy). But this was money spent on people I love and care for. And these were one-offs; birthdays and farewells don’t happen every day. Also these are the very people whom I can borrow money from in hard times like these. Or maybe not. I chant to myself “No more borrowing. No more borrowing. No more borrowing….”
6:30 P.M. Maybe I could ask my parents to transfer money into my account a week in advance. It wouldn’t count as a loan, just letting me have my pocket-money early. But that would disappoint them and make them feel that their daughter can’t manage her money. In fact, that wouldn’t disappoint them; it would only reaffirm their belief that I’m a child who can’t take care of herself. Which is not true. I am a rational responsible adult who is perfectly adept at handling her finances, and is fully capable of making through a week without their help.
7:10 P.M. It’s really hot. Hot enough for the mosquitoes to die. But the only thing that is dying is my last tube of Odomos. I’m running out of mosquito repellent, along with all means to buy some more. I am tempted to ask Ayy, who’s ordering groceries from Peppertap (another “convenience” I hold responsible for my insolvency) to order a tube for me, and I could always pay her later. But I already owe her a fortune! But what she says makes sense. Mosquitoes are a real health hazard. That mosquito repellent is an essential, and it’s perfectly fine to borrow money for something that can save your life! And for something that’s needed for hygiene, so I should place an order for that Body Wash, and that new shampoo that Ess and Ar couldn’t stop raving about, and maybe some Mayonnaise, because food is an essential, and I wouldn’t mind some mangoes, and some…
8:35 P.M. I did not get tempted to order in pizza with Aa. Managing my money trumped pizza! I think my resolve to live a saintly frugal week is finally kicking in. I already have a Zen-like feeling about myself. Maybe I will make this a major lifestyle change, and shall now only eat meagre morsels in the mess. And that’ll teach me to control me to control the vice of gluttony and greed and I shall evolve into a higher being, who’s above food and money and petty materialism. I can feel myself move towards Enlightenment.
10:50 P.M. After having spent the entire day being a unicorn, I’m finally coming to terms with how irresponsible I’ve been, and exactly how much trouble I’m in. It’s horrible. I’m horrible. I am never spending so much again. I promise to eat in the mess no matter what. It is healthy, tasty and hygienic food (I will keep telling myself that). I promise to never ever venture into the world of online shopping again. I vow to never borrow money. It is humiliating and it is too heavy a burden to carry. As soon as I get money next month, I’m repaying every single penny that I owe to anyone. In fact, I can do that the very next week! I could borrow money from my grandparents whom I’m visiting over the weekend repay every single debt. And money from grandparents can never count as a loan; it’s always a gift. Also, this time it’s for a good cause. It would save their granddaughter from so much embarrassment. So actually, it’s only matter of a weekend. I can make it through! It can’t be that hard, right?
Disclaimer #1: The writer only objects to eating the food cooked on Thursdays in the mess, the way it is cooked in the mess, and not the nature of food that is cooked on Thursdays per se.
Disclaimer #2: The writer is in fact, a rational responsible adult adept at handling her finances. She’s only in a bit of a situation at the moment.