A Narrow Jackpot

vegetable market

                       Oops, How hot it is today. But what can to do now, it’s too near to hire an auto. Thinking that Sanjana was going to the vegetable market as soon as possible because today his best friend Shreya was coming to stay with him for a few days. Sanjana wanted to make something tasty for her at lunch today. By the way, vegetable market is about one km from his house, so he thought it appropriate to go on foot. Sanjana has been studying MBA for the last two years in Mumbai. Shreya and Sanjana have studied together since childhood, but due to not getting college together in graduation, they had to take admission in different colleges. Shreya is coming to Mumbai to attend a seminar at her college. Ever since Sanjana knows about shreya’s visit, there is no place for her happiness that both will stay together for a few days on this pretext.

                      Sanjana quickly took all the necessities and then reached her room and started preparing for the kitchen. Sanjana belongs to a middle class family. One who gets tied-up money for his studies every month. With that money, he can fulfill his daily needs or be shopping or save some of it. But today she is busy with preparation all these things without rest. Lunch was not ready yet, by then Shreya came and ranged the doorbell. Sanjana opened the door.

Sanjana hugs- Oh wow. You have been here before time. Looks like the train arrived early. You soon found my room too.

Shreya- The train has arrived on time and if I can find you from anywhere, what is Mumbai?

After keeping the belongings of Shreya, Sanjana- I make coffee till then you become fresh.

Shreya- Wow, you have become very intelligent while living alone in Mumbai and how is this smell coming? It’s looks like some special is cooking.

Sanjana- Yes, there is some surprise for you but first you get fresh then i tell.

                        Shreya goes on to be fresh. After that, both drink coffee and after lunch, they get lost in their old childhood memories by evening. In the evening, at the behest of Sanjana, the two go out for a walk. Both wait for a long time but the bus does not arrive.

Shreya- The bus did not arrive, so let’s go by auto.

Sanjana – It will take three hundred to go so far from Auto.

Shreya- You became stingy by staying in Mumbai.

Sanjana- You know that you have ten thousands for a month, whether you to walk in the auto or in the bus.

Shreya- Never mind, I will give money for auto as long as I am traveling with you in Mumbai.

Sanjana- Then let’s go with Ola. Saying this, both of them laugh.

Both go with auto and stroll many places in Mumbai. But strolling with a free mind was not easy because everything depends on money for a place like Mumbai. Both reach a clothes street-shop on a walking path.

Shreya to Sanjana – Let’s buy something from here.

Sanjana- I don’t need it but if you want to take it then buy it.

Shreya- See, this top is looking very good. Excuse me, How much is for this?

Shopkeeper – Five hundred for one and Eight hundred for two.

Shreya to Sanjana – How does it look? I like this.

Sanjana- If you not negotiate with these people then they will rob you as if they have to buy Mercedes tomorrow. Hey, if you will take 250 rupees then give us otherwise, we will search elsewhere.

Shopkeeper – I can’t sell it in 250. You can search somewhere else.

Snjana to Shreya- Come here, Neither the way of selling goods nor of talking.

 Sanjana goes to three more shops with Shreya and finally gets the same top in 300 rupees for Shreya.

Sanjana – You see, I got it in 300. If you do not negotiate with them then they rob you in broad daylight.

     After seeing and listening to Sanjana and shopkeeper’s talk, Shreya was realizing that the shopkeeper also will give free goods to get rid of her. Sanjana likes a sandal in a shop which is said to cost 500 but she does not take it.

Shreya- If you like it, take it, I am buying it for you, okay?

Sanjana – Oh, I don’t like it that much. I will not take it.

             Both strolling like this, arrive at CCD. This is the only place in this city where Sanjana never feels anything as expensive. Sitting in the CCD, Sanjana loved spending time with coffee so much. Many times she planned and saved for several days and then spent her free time sitting here. Today she also had her friend with him. The two sat there until it was time to close. The waiter informs them both of closing time and eventually both return to the room. For the next three days Shreya is busy with her college seminar, But for Sanjana, Shreya’s presence in Mumbai matters a lot. Slowly, 5 days pass in the same way and today Shreya returns back. Sanjana once again gets busy in the study, in her own world, in college. In an unknown city where there is no one yours, living alone becomes very dull. It was Sanjana’s objective of studies, which slightly blurred her friend’s memories.

               Today, it has been pass a week, after Shreya’s visit. Today she came to know that a new project has been assigned to the college students which has to be prepared. She needed Rs 2500 to prepare for the project, so she considered to check through the ATM first and see if she had that much money because there were only 8 days left for the month to end. She estimated that there was not much money in her account. She left room on foot for the ATM machine which was one and a half km from her room. A half-young and half-aged innocent guard was found outside the ATM, yawning. Sanjana goes to the ATM hopefully wishing that she has 2500 in her account. Sanjana entered the ATM cabin and pressed the button to withdraw Rs. 2500. The machine accepted the request and 5 new notes of 500 came out which she was happy to see. But as soon as the receipt came out, she checked the balance and saw that the balance is Rs.19950. She felt that it’s a printing mistake. Then she thought that someone else’s receipt had been printed. She could not believe it. Firstly, she saw the name of the account holder, and Sanjana’s name was on it. She checks transaction details in ATM again she saw that twenty thousand have been deposited in her account four days ago. Seeing so much money, she got lost in thoughts with curiosity and wonder.

Image credit- Nick Pampoukidis

              Seeing so many rupees in her account for the first time, she started having different thoughts. She thought that it had been four days and till- date, no one had reported about this money. Nobody told her that he has deposited. It seems that God has given me money to spend, on seeing my condition. Now if someone else did, then I am not going to return this money. Whatever happens next will be seen. But if there is any legal action against me? But this is not my fault. Whoever deposited it should have taken care of all this. Now whatever, this money belongs to me. She came out of the ATM cabin. The same innocent guard now started looking like James Bond. She felt as if the guard was watching her with suspicion. She got out of there fast and called out an Auto and asked the auto driver to take her to the nearest CCD. Sanjana arrived at CCD and started thinking of how to spend these money after ordering her favourite coffee.

                  Sanjana had decided the entire program of the evening until she reached home how she had to spend the best this evening. She was enthusiastic about the evening. In the evening, she first went to Juhu Beach and enjoyed the sunset there. Then she went to the shopkeeper of the same street shop and asked him the price of the same dress which was chosen with Shreya. She gave five hundred rupees with pride. Sanjana said that you have a very cheap range of clothes and went away saying this. Sanjana started thinking about how poor people are running their families by selling clothes for such less money, how do they survive? After that she went to the same footwear shop and asked for the price of the sandal of the same choice, the shopkeeper said 500 rupees. Sanjana felt how cheap this sandal was and she, without bargaining, took out a five hundred note from the purse and said – pack it. After that Sanjana turned to the shopping mall. In such a long time, Sanjana got a new experience today that any item sold in the market is never expensive, it is not just our ability to buy. If you have the ability to buy, then everything is cheap. But the more Sanjana was excited about the money, the more she was worried that it might not happen that the person who belongs to this money could come and start asking me.

                        Sanjana went from there to the shopping mall of Andheri and roamed for a long time. When wandering around filled her mind with roaming, she went to the shop of Zara Brand and chose a dress that she had seen many times. She went directly near the dress and selected her size dress. She became very happy after seeing the fitting of the dress. She immediately took out her debit card and paid four thousands. She was realizing that even clothes get cheaper in malls. Today, her mind was wishing to drink coffee from Starbucks. So she now went direct to Starbucks Cafe and along with ordering a lot of hers, she thought that she would also take out dinner here today. She thought-I have become bored eating my own hand food every day. She completed all the targets according to the plan of her day and then reached her room. Due to her day’s runaway, she fell asleep as soon as she fell in bed. She was so happy from the present day that further plans were going on in her dreams. She had full faith that this money had not come from home, if it had happened then, she would have been informed from home.

                The next day she woke up thinking that she had to fulfill her assignment too. So today he spent his whole day considered completing the assignment and continued in the same work all day. She thought she had her own money, the money will not disappear anywhere. If I will not spend today then tomorrow. She was busy with work all day, so she also ordered food from outside and thought it’s better than cooking. Present-day also passed under the same busyness but the joy of her insides was reflected in her face and body language. The next day she woke up late in the morning, so she thought, why should I talk to my father once if the papa had sent the money then he would tell. Sanjana then got up from the bed soon and being fresh, she made coffee and after taking coffee and thought that I should talk to papa now. She made a call to her father with a little doubt.

Papa- Hello.

Sanjana- Hello Papa.

Papa- Be happy my child. How are you and how is the study going?

Sanjana- Papa, I am very good and my studies are also going well. An assignment has been received. Has almost completed yesterday. Where is mom? Can i talk to mom?

Papa – Seller has just come with vegetables, then she has gone down side. When she comes, she will talk to you.

     Thus it was almost 20 minutes talking with father about relatives, many colleges, Mumbai and home town. As time was advancing, Sanjana’s soul was becoming happy that money had not come from the house, now this money is mine only. Now talking further, she was feeling bored.

Sanjana- Okay papa, now I should disconnect.

Papa – Yes, Okay my child. Hey wait, listen. I almost forgot to tell you about an important thing.

Sanjana- Yes, tell me.

Papa – Sanjana, Your uncle who have been operated recently…

Sanjana- Yes, Papa.

Papa- I got a call from him, he needed some money. So, I deposited twenty thousands in your account 4-5 days ago. When your cousin comes to you, give him that money.

Sanjana wonders – Wh..what?

Papa- Yes. Now disconnect your call, be happy.

          Suddenly Sanjana came in shock. She remained speechless due to shock. She felt a flashback of every scene in last three days. She remembered that she had spent all his money this month and spent four thousands of her father’s also. Now she was not able to drink her made coffee. She remained depressed for a while, then she called Shreya.

Sanjana- Hello, Shreya.

Shreya- Hello, Sanjana. How are you?

Sanjana – Do you have five thousand rupees?

Shreya- Yes, What happened?

Sanjana- First send it to my account then I tell you comfortably.

Image credit- Siavash Ghanbari

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