"Its hard to count money,especially when it belongs to someone else"so says a banker by profession since the last thirty odd years,my Appa.His dedication and commitment towards his work will always remain a puzzle to me.If you notice,three out of five staff of a bank appear cold and sober,completely engrossed with numbers and the rest of them have no clue of what they are up to!I guess the sight of surfeiting money makes them so.And for many justifiable reasons,bank is one place I avoid.Any matter of finance however big or small is not my cup of tea.Two plus two is four and my math ends there.But like the people of the world today say,"No money,no life",some visits are imperative and inevitable.”Handle your money yourself,you are an adult!” is what I hear at home nowadays,sigh!
Patience, pen and a pocket full of pennies in that order are the three important things which are of help in a bank.And I run out of at least one of the three more than often,very unfortunately.Keeping all my woes aside,two days ago I entered one.I stood at the writing desk where forms of a dozen colours lay scattered.I picked up the right one after a lot of thinking,I had come prepared with detailed instructions from the banker at home you see.I did not want to mess it up this time.I started filling the form when a man in his mid thirties standing next to me began elbowing.”My left hand conflict again!” so I thought and moved a feet away from him.He came closer.I was annoyed enough,bending my head I continued writing to avoid his gaze.He did not stop there,he tapped hard on the desk and said”Madam,Pen”.Though it did not sound any close to a request,I handed him mine with no second thought and quickly walked away to the counter,glad with the escape.
The clerk on the other side of the table on receiving the form yelled”Madam,how many times do I tell you,put your signature here”It then occurred to me that I had come to this counter for the first time and the only pen I had brought to the bank was gone.Contemplating the anger of my brother for losing his first gift I turned to see if the man was around and yes he was,I found him walking out of the bank.He was done with his work maybe.I ran behind him calling aloud”Hello!”.When I succeeded in blocking his way,he gave me a 'Have-I-Seen-You-Before' look.”Hey could you please give me back my pen?" is all what I asked him.He seemed to carry very little of the first of the three important things.Pretending to search he said"Did I take it from you,really?Why do you have to chase me for that?I haven’t robbed your money from the bank,lady!Its a pen after all".I did not budge till he found it.He dug it out of his bag and gave me a bemused look.He returned the pen and walked away.
When I told Appa about ‘The-Case-Of-The-Lost-Pen’ not very surprised he said”That is how the world is my girl”.Well,even I think of it so almost always.”Read ‘On Umbrella Morals’ you will understand better”he added.This essay written by Alfred George Gardiner has a humorous yet sensible take on our honesty and values.A very powerful write up,it kind of woke me up.We do not find works like these anymore,reading this is worth the time.Here are the places where you can find the piece:
One of the strongest human tendencies is to cover up flaws.Ignorance and innocence are our tools.Basic courtesies ‘Please-Sorry-Thank You-Excuse Me’ are alien words these days.Pretension comes easy but under the veil we are never satisfied with ourselves.The flowers in the neighbor’s garden bloom with more colour and grace, the shirt in the fellow shopper’s hand looks more fit and wearable or the colleague’s car seems more swift and comfortable.And yet we fake and feign joy, kindness, satisfaction, strength, goodness, gratitude and every virtue possible.If we force ourselves to believe that we are perfect how do we better?If we do not accept our wrongs how do we do the rights?If we are not grateful for what we are given how do we ask for more?Weighty wisdom all this is,these questions may make us feel.Moral values today have lost their ground.Modesty comes with a price and we are not willing to pay for it.All we know is that we live in a make believe world and it is pretty fine as long as it keeps us hale and happy.The truth is it is not!