Money Matters

December 11, 2009

I’ve mentioned here before how I’m not the kind of person whose excessively fond of shopping. I don’t compulsively indulge in buying clothes or cosmetics; practically the only thing I like to spend on regularly, apart from travel (which is an experience rather than a thing) is books.

So, I was never overcome with horror at the prospect of not having money to spend when I stopped earning. Amit’s income would do for all the usual household things, and I had a small amount saved up which I could spend slowly on occasional indulgences. I thought it would last me a couple of years, and, supplemented by small freelance earnings and a couple of unforeseen windfalls, it did. My ‘occasional indulgences’ took the shape of splurging at the bookshops, a few expensive haircuts, a few gifts, and… a car.

I didn’t realise quite how careful I was being about these occasional indulgences until the prospect of earning a salary suddenly loomed in the foreseeable future. I was completely surprised to find myself planning all sorts of ways to spend my money. There was the holey pair of tennis shoes that needed replacing; the nice but outrageously expensive Nike trackpants I’d had my eye on for a good six months; any number of smart shirts and trousers I’d passed by regretfully in the shops from time to time; shoes, because I can’t possibly wear to office the nice but now somewhat ragged shoes I’ve been wearing to the park for months; gold earrings I’d been fantasizing about buying for the twins, to replace the only pair they had, which frequently came off and threatened to get irretrievably lost; shoes and clothes for Amit; and, if I could possibly find the time, a trip to a beauty salon for one of my annual exercises in masochism, a pedicure.

And, of course, a nice handbag. It’s been years since I bought myself a handbag. In recent years, I’ve been using handbags bought for me by others, including Amit. While I appreciate the thought behind gifting me a handbag, I really wish people wouldn’t. You can gift me clothes any day – I’ll wear almost anything; or books – I’ll read just about anything; but handbags are extremely personal. They say so much more about a person than just clothes or shoes do – at least, my handbags do. Besides, shopping for a handbag is such exquisite pleasure it even outweighs the joy of getting a haircut. It’s second only to buying books – and a close second at that. And it’s not something you can do every week, or even every month. A good handbag should last for years. So, by gifting me a handbag, you not only present me with something that might not be so ‘me’, but you also deny me the pleasure of shopping for one myself. Because, of course, if you gift it to me, I will use it. Of course I will, because I like you a lot, really, and I know you meant well.

So anyway, now that I’m going to be joining work, I think I deserve a new handbag. Only, I don’t know when I’m going to find time to go shop for it… or for all those other things. But, totally to my surprise, I’m really looking forward to all the shopping I have planned.


November 25, 2009

The kids don’t know what’s in store for them. They know something is coming, but they don’t quite know what. They know I’ve been going for “job interview”s and that I want to go back to “work”. They have heard Amit and me discussing daycare, but they don’t know what daycare means. I’ve told them they’ll be going to a second school soon, it seems to have got Mrini a bit worried. Yesterday, when I went to pick them up from school, she was sobbing in the teacher’s lap – most unlike either of them to behave like that. She saw me and greeted me with an absolute flood of tears. It turned out that she had been worried that I wasn’t going to show up. I wasn’t late, really, but some of the kids had started to leave, so she got worried. Poor little thing.

Today they had a class picnic. Wow! A picnic! My kids went out with a bunch of friends and not a single parent went along! They went in a school bus for the first time, they went to a strange place (a park of some kind, I gather) and somebody else took them! I don’t know about them, but this was a big thing for me. Given the uncertainty in the air with my new job and all, I thought they (or at least Mrini) might be worried about where they were going and all that, but they came back looking ok. I was waiting on the sidelines as the school bus drove up and disgorged the kids – the twins got off separately and walked off without seeing me. Tara was fine, though a bit confused (as always); Mrini had a slightly worried expression, but when she finally saw me, she smiled. If she had been really anxious, when she saw me she would have cried. So that’s ok. They didn’t say anything to me at all about the picnic, which is sad, because I’m dying of curiosity… but I suppose it will come out slowly.

And tomorrow, they start daycare. The first few days are on a trial basis to see how they take to it. If they seem willing to settle down and enjoy it, then we’ll have to shell out a horrendous amount towards enrollment, and three months’ fees.

The saddest thing about this daycare is that by the time they get home, it will be too late and too dark for them to go to the park. They don’t know it, but the era of park outings every evening with their gang, the Famous Five, is coming to an end.

Actually, the era of the Famous Five would have ended anyway, with the two boys going off to a distant land in a couple of weeks’ time. But the twins don’t know about that yet either. They so look forward to meeting their gang every evening in the park, it is going to be sad having to explain “goodbye” to them. At least daycare will give them a new set of friends, albeit in an indoor environment. The boys who are moving away, on the other hand, will have to get used to a new home, new country, new everything. They’re a few months over two, they’ll adjust quickly. Soon, they won’t even remember their gang, the Famous Five. It’s still sad, though.

It’s going to be a tough couple of weeks, as I spend long afternoons at daycare getting the kids used to the place. It would have been easier if I didn’t also have an Archaeology assignment that needs to be completed before I start work. But I know that it’s only a matter of getting over the bump – things will get easier with time as we all settle down to the new regime. I hope.

And then, soon after, sure enough things will change again.

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