Much Like the Bitter-Sweet Gooseberries

As a child, I was always cautious as to what I asked Amma. Before I asked for a chocolate, I’d check its price and ensure that I wasn’t inconveniencing her. When Nestle Munch was introduced in India in 1999, there was a lot of buzz around it in school. For me, it was an extravagant something that I couldn’t ask Amma. Granted it costed only Rs. 5. Yet, I used to yearn for a Munch for a long time after it was introduced.

It wasn’t that we were too financially poor. But I knew that we weren’t rich. I knew that sometimes Amma had to make some adjustments to pay my school fees. It wasn’t really smooth for her financially. I thought about a hundred times before I asked her for anything. I’d avoid rickshaws and walk as much as I could. I’d avoid school events that were too expensive. My sister, though she was a bit more carefree in the beginning, she too grew up to become like me. We both were always careful about spending money.

*****

I am a jewellery addict. I love fashionable clothes and I don’t go for branded stuff. If I find something I really want, say a pretty dress, I do a lot of research, find all the stores selling the same dress, compare the prices, wait for half a year until the prices go further down, and only then do I buy them. The additional benefit of this drill is that, I know if I really want something. If it is just a passing fantasy, I’d lose interest and stop stalking it. If I truly want it, I’ll keep going back with the same fervor and then one day, own it.

So, we are used to low-mediocre stuff all our lives. We did have occasional splurges. I wouldn’t deny that. I do own a pair of Pepe Jeans, we eat out at expensive restaurants etc but most of it has been the mediocre stuff. I am not complaining here. My point is, I got so used to mediocre stuff that there came a point of time when I deliberately put aside expensive things. Let me explain.

Dad gifted an iPhone to Mom one fine day and we were all drooling over it. I drooled for about five minutes and left as iPhone really did not interest me then. Amma later came and said that I could have it if I wanted. I knew that she liked iPhone while I didn’t. So I denied her offer. The next day, I told a colleague that Amma got an iPhone and I could have had it if I wanted. He urged me to take it. As I spoke to him, I realised what I had in my mind. It was this.

“See, I am using a phone that costs barely 10k. Leaping onto an iPhone from this, is a super upgrade for me and I don’t like that. Yes I’ll be owning THE iPhone. But what do I do after that? The thrill ends there! If I am owning a super-phone, I want to buy that for myself like a mark of success. Now I am a mere student and this phone with all its problems and bugs is a reminder that I need to work hard for owning something better. Also, I would like to move up the ladder gradually. I’d like to buy a phone better than the old one, savour the moment of owning something better, and a couple of years later own something even better and so on.”

That was 5 years back. That was when I was still a student.

*****

This May, after lots of attempts, trials and tribulations, I cleared CA. I worked in an institute as a lecturer for a couple of months and then got a job in a company in Bangalore. I will be joining on 16th of November. The moment I realised that I had a job, I went for it. Yesterday, I welcomed home my new phone – A Brand New One Plus 5 and I still haven’t gotten over it.

I felt like I was holding something I wasn’t supposed to own. It was something so expensive and I wasn’t used to expensive. It felt so rightly wrong. It felt sinful, but in a nice way.

 

It isn’t just about a new phone. It isn’t just about the fruit of your hardwork. It is about saving the best for the right moment. How do I put this? It might be like saving your virginity for someone special, for that right moment and when things happen just the way you planned, in par with your expectations… It is about the joy when your expectations are met or even exceeded.

This feels good. Whenever I hold that sleek, shiny phone, I smile. Everyday. I never did that before with any other phones. I don’t feel bad that we weren’t financially well off. Had we been, I wouldn’t have known this joy. The bitter-turned-sweet joy of gooseberries.

 

For all those who are still struggling with the bitterness, you will taste the sweetness soon enough. And trust me! It is totally totally worth it. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Much Like the Bitter-Sweet Gooseberries

  1. I could relate to each of your points. I am not a miser now, but I didn’t have a phone till I joined my first job – my parents got me a cheap Motorola one then.

    I bought my first iPhone when I had a good job in the US – I started with their 5 version. I am so used to iPhone now that I upgrade every year. Like you, I am waiting for this year’s grand phone too ☺️

    Saving part is a good analogy, I guess we all save to some extent for something better tomorrow.

    Congrats on your job and Good luck ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

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