23 June 2008

New-age moneylenders

Over the last year or so, quite a few people who borrowed money from banks killed themselves. Reason: they missed an EMI or two and the collection agencies hounded them like crazy and humiliated them.

That made me think of the many calls we receive from banks, begging us to take loans. It doesn’t matter that you already have one and are on the verge of selling your furniture to pay back the loan. They’ll still try to shove another loan down your throat. I don’t understand how this works.

If 60-70% of a person’s income is already tied down in debt payments, on what basis do banks ask that person to take another loan? I know that loan begets loan if you have a good credit history. Am no finance guru, but isn’t it necessary, amidst all that hard selling, to think about the loan repayment capacity of the borrower?

I was wondering if this was happening only in India. But recently, I saw a documentary, The American Nightmare, with the same subject, that is, people falling for easy loans that quickly become traps. I think the documentary was set in Cleveland where houses in whole localities were boarded up and put up for auctions. Pretty scary.

05 June 2008

Meet me when it's dark

What'd we do without power cuts in the evening? When you mutter and curse the electric supply company aloud, but you are actually delighted within. Because, in the dark you can stay within, within yourself. And think of all the things you were supposed to do in life, and how life brought in its own list of things for you.

Aww, mosquito bite here and scratchy-scratch there. And if it's a Kolkata summer, wipe the sweat away for the hundredth time, before it makes its way into your eyes or mouth. Or just lie down and wait with each panting cell of your body for the slightest of those evening breezes, and feel grateful for even that.

But introspection continues unabated amidst all the mosquitoes and the perspiration. Some music would help and off you are into your very own private world. Memories that you'd thought you had forgotten long ago come back and it's such a joy. Memories of days when you didn't have tomorrow's to-do things on your mind and all you wanted was daddy to come home and sit you on his lap and tell you how strong he was.

Memories of power cuts in those days, when you learnt to make ghost figures on the wall in the candle light with just a twirl of your fingers. As the memories come in stronger and vivid, you realise how far away you have come since then. And then, as you dig deeper you find other memories covered by a layer of dust, and no matter how much you scrub, they remain hazy, out of reach. This makes you anxious. Is it actually possible that you could have forgotten something? Something tender, something treasured? Aww, that's bad. Because, that means, slowly all the memories will slip away. And one day, when you're too old, you'd have none left for the power cuts to come.

Damn, will getting an inverter help?