Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mea Culpa.

Money is single sided sword.

We nurture, save, grow and double it with lots of care- all on the blunt side. What if we lend our money to a friend, a housemaid or a relative? The moment we loan it out, we do it with the sharp side, and it kills that relationship forever. We all know what is definitely bound to happen but we still loan out money. Because we cannot say NO.

Sometimes it is okay to say NO. Like you know your maid servant has a husband and son who earns enough, and she is also going to few other houses, which means she is earning enough. She is definitely not starving. So when she comes to you asking for a ten thousand rupees for some reason that sounds lame, do not give it. It is easy to write this but it is very very difficult to say that on her face. Like me. I gave a pretty decent amount to my maid eight months ago when I sent her away because my son started preschool, and now she does not answer my calls. Well she answered once and talked like I stole something from her house. Well let’s not discuss that.

This is how shit happens. And when it does, it breaks out loose and is all over the place. My better half had warned me against this loan, many times before I did it, and now has washed his hands clean of it. He reminds me of getting the money back, like a pending assignment due from my side, but has put his foot down when I asked his help to do it. Well I cannot blame him, it is completely on me, and I am pretty sure I am not getting it back. However it is not easy for me to get in terms with the truth, but I continue to message and call this woman, who claims that she is out of work to pay me back.


Before judging me, it is only fair for me to have the benefit of doubt. This maid was basically a good person. She was not the evil, cunning types, and looked after my son for a year at home. My son was also okay with her, and never cried when I went to office, which suggested that she did take good care of him. I had checked in on him hundreds of times without informing prior, and have never found him crying or ignored. I had informed my neighbors to check in on him and they never complained. I did not install a camera at home because I would not have a cctcv behind my workstation with my boss looking at it all the time. I still bathed and fed my son at all times during the day, my work being a stone’s throw from home. This is the reason why I gave her that money. She did take care of my son, and did not harm on him even once even though it was for a few hours. After a year when she asked me for that money, of course she was taking advantage of my weakest point, but I believed that despite the regular pay we gave her, she could have mishandled her job in frightening ways. That is not logic, it is sentiments which played the lead and I am paying for it now.

There is no room for sentiments in this world. Like if you sit and self-pity nobody consoles you because the world is competitive. If you pity yourself, others pity you more than you do. When was the last time someone gave you a push and said ‘I know you can do it’?

I had once given off the sari I wore at my wedding reception to the daughter of my mother’s maid. That maid also took a massive loan from my mother for the same purpose which still remains a loan. My mother called to remind her about the loan but she was yelled at and even cursed. I do not regret giving off my saree because I came to know it was worn by her on her wedding day. This saree was not something I dint want. I would never have worn it for any occasion after that, but it had a sentimental value attached to it. There is no selfless good deed, but I cannot think of myself as selfish for any reason by giving away that saree to a bunch of thankless people.

I now think of that loan I gave my maid, as an act of charity. I gave it to her succumbing to my weakness, completely aware on a sub conscious level that I am not going to get it back. And it was a pretty decent amount which I could use. Talking of charity, most of us give away what we don’t need and call it charity. Is that really it? If we wanted to help the less privileged we should give them what they need, and not what we don’t need. Right?

Take for example this woman, who paid for a cheap tee shirt online, which did not satisfy her expectations. Look at how she has commented on it. Is it arrogance or do we have some other word for the last line of her comment?



There is no hard and fast rule that can tell you who is reliable and who will return your loan. Why do people pay their EMI’s to the bank promptly and not to the person they took money from which has no written record? If we have an answer to that may be it will help us decide in future.

I do not have an answer to that yet. Do you?


22 comments:

  1. Nothing hurts more than giving a loan and being treated like dirt when asking it back. I just keep remembering a favorite like "Neither a lender nor a borrower be". When we give it is as good as gone. There have been so many instances at my home when my parents lent money and did not get it back. They just consider it as charity then :P
    I do remember you giving out your sari to the maid's daughter and personally I wouldn't have done that. It has so much sentimental value and the maid needed to have at least the courtesy to have a polite word with your mother. Whatever happened to human warmth I wonder! Is this the price we pay for being good to others?
    No use feeling bad about giving in to your sentiments. It would come back to you one way or the other. Sometimes what we have isn't meant to be ours. It finds its way to someone else. It takes a good human to do what you did and people may dupe you but someone else will be by your side :)

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    1. Even my parents did the same and loans are still pending and borrowers forgotten ! Yes, I gave my saree fully knowing that maids in general are thankless, but like every other girl, her daughter also deserves to dress well on her wedding and that was all I thought. Moreover, sentiments associated with marriage day is still precious and it does not depend on material stuff. You know marriage day passes, houses change, people change, relocate and a thousand things happen post marriage and it is not like we will carry our wedding attire with us everywhere to revive memories. I still do not regret my act of giving away that saree. Yes there are certain things which are dear to my heart. My wedding saree, the manthrakodi (the saree which the groom gives the bride during the ceremony, and according to tradition this one is preserved and buried with the bride ;-)) and scores of wedding photos. I am in Muscat, my manthrakodi in Cochin and my wedding saree at my parent's house in Trivandrum. So there lies my memories scattered all over the place !

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  2. I am a sucker for these kind of things. Give away money very easily. Dad has literally lost lakhs like this. people who were down and out and needed help to get three square meals a day. Today, those guys own villas and shopping malls... but they never returned the money or ever showed up in our house ever again.
    Till date, only one man traced and found me and returned the money I gave him.. an auto driver in Calicut whose kid had a head injury and needed money for a scan. I never told him where I lived but he actually asked around in the hospital, found my house and came and returned it to me, even though I did not want it from him.

    Will I give money in the future? No. One good person does not undo the dozens of bad incidents and betrayals that I have witnessed in my house.

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    1. Oh how much can I relate to this! My parents never learnt their lesson, and even now give money to maids and these people disappear soon afterwards! I may not lend money or any stuff as well...but it is very difficult for me to lie or say No to anyone under such circumstances.

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  3. Appreciate your good heart at giving... and in this era, u hardly see people doing that except for publicity sake.. continue doing that irrespective of what the outcome is... I personally have been blamed for doing good... but still that good feeling within u and the halo sign u carry for urself... that is what makes it all meaningful....

    Anyways, i believe our Father in heaven notes it all down... so rest assured... the loan u have lost will be doubled to u ... 'coz our Father is no debtor to anyone... u continue ur good deeds only because we need people like you to make this world better! :)

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    1. Wow thanks a lot...u made me feel much better Jeny ! May be I should just ignore and leave it to the Almighty to decide !

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  4. Hmmm faced this like a million times and lost a million friends over it too. I don't bother asking back anymore. I give out of a good heart and never expect it back. If it comes then, well good. Else I just let it be. Of course I don't lend huge amounts, I'm not that good too ;)

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    1. Yes. Same here. Why this mistake alone happens a million times and not just once, is because we cannot say no to people. We are completely incapable of making excuses. We cannot possibly make a smart excuse.

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  5. A heartfelt post huh:-).....totally get what u r going through. In my case thru experience, I've learnt to give only how much I can afford to give away. When I loan such people I dont expect it back and so give accordingly. If they give it back its a bonus and if they didnt ...well I never expected it in the 1st place. My H on the other hand is very generous....if he has it he will give it and we have lost a lot of money that way. Some people have given it back but most of them just forget us after the event:-(.
    He says its okay because he gave it with good intentions and his conscience is clear. I just throw my hands up;-/

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    1. Hmm. I am the generous one here who even gets to face the brunt of it all. Whereas the wise one here warns against it, and then keeps reminding me about it :-/

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  6. In most cases, the reason behind a broken relationship is money. :(

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  7. I STILL DONT KNOW HOW AND WHY YOU GAVE THAT SAREE TO HER?? It has such a sentimental value attached to it. That said I recently understood that people are not thankful...I mean when you help them out , for that 5 minutes they will be but soon after that it is like they did you the favour and not the other way around.
    And money, this is not charity, we earned it and we deserve to get it back.

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    1. Ya I know. But I only followed my heart and I did it. I do not regret it. I did not do it so that I will get something in return, or that person will be thankful to me. But disrespecting me after doing this is simply rude and unacceptable.

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  8. Charity is being overrated these days. . As the woman who commented saying she gave the tee for charity. I don't feel giving away something you don't need is true charity. I really appreciate you giving away that saree for a good cause. . I'd rather give medicines than money because in that way I know it is being used properly. Money can be used for a lot of things. .

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    1. Yes. But for Onam and Diwali, instead of giving the maid servant an Onam saree, we can give her a bonus which will be more useful than the saree. But yes, money can be used for a lot of things so we need to see first if the requirement is genuine.

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  9. I usually refrain from lending out money and if I do, I am prepared to let it be a dead investment, essentially booking losses. I saw how things can change, but in my case the things were quite the other way around. A friend borrowed money (it was 5000 INR) and that isn't much when a friend asks for it. But yes, you do expect it back even though you don't say it, or even if you don't a mere acknowledgement that the person remembers it suffices, when it is a friend in question. But somehow, I don't know, this guy did not pay me back, and he literally disappeared from my life. Every now and then when I do see him online and say hi, he makes quick exits. I don't understand this and hence, I tell my other friends that this is what I don't want, and hence, no lending business at all. But there are exceptions, rare ones. :)

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. Like Maithili said 'Never a lender or a borrower be'. It should become the mantra for any relationship to survive, people even fight with parents, spouse , children over money and assets. So no amount of emotional bonding stands in the way when people are blind by greed. There have been rare exceptions in our case when the money we gave people were returned before time and with interest as well ! Such people are very few and rare and we never know how a person will change after we loan them some cash. That is the case which happened with you.

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  10. I wish people would start returning borrowed things. It would help to restore my faith in humanity, Cheers Anita! Stay blessed.
    my blog about social issues in Pakistan

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    1. :-) I hope so too Hafza. Thanks for your comment.

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  11. Anita, my two paise on this (don't tell anyone, in case it is illegal to use, even metaphorically, denominations that have been outlawed by government!).
    Two kinds of charity are being talked about here. Cash and kind. In case of 'kind', I would say it is definitely what you cannot or do not want to use any more that goes to charity. It doesn't mean it is useless, it simply means you do not want to use it any more, but it is pretty decent and can be used. I agree with you when people give away things unusable by anybody as charity. In case of cash, basic difference is there is no sentimentality attached, so one can simply decide based on merit and spareability of the cash.
    My second point is, whether cash or kind, if *I* give something to someone, it would be with the expectation that I may not get it back. So if they do give it back, I would consider it a bonus. If they don't, I still consider it as a blessing, as I wouldn't have to take such a decision (that is, to lend or not to lend) with respect to that person ever again! Therefore, if there is something one does want back, I would say not to give it in the first place. Like you said, it is best to see the circumstances of the person, and if you think it is really important to give, then give without any expectation.

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  12. You are really a kind human being. :)

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