The sun had risen well above the horizon and was nearing the peak and still I was asleep in my bed on the day the college had allowed leave. It was then when I heard my mother scream from the kitchen. The yell had enough volume to kick me out of my bed and hurry into the kitchen. I looked meekly at my mother, as she stood well dressed to go out somewhere.
“You’re still asleep? See you are in your final year of college and you do not have any sense of responsibility. This is a shame. Anyways. I am going out with your aunt for some purchases and dad has gone to office.”
“Okay” I said without much indulgence in what she was saying and complacently walked around the kitchen positioning myself on a stool that was there. She stared sharply at me, bewildered by my irresponsible way of going about my days.
“At least ask why I called you?”
“Why is that?” I asked, again without any serious concern or interest.
“It was better when you didn’t ask.” She said and immediately a sound was audible inside the house. It was the vehicle of my aunt who had signalled with her car’s horn to indicate that she has arrived.
“See, the guy who delivers paper will come. Check the bill and pay him. Money is at the dining table. Do you understand? I have to go. Aunt Sita has arrived. Bye.” She spoke hurriedly and rushed out leaving the empty cup of coffee on the television.
Completing my daily routine, I cleared the television top, dumped the cup in the kitchen sink and lounged myself on the couch to watch something on the television. After endless channels of blathering and bilges, I settled on a news channel that relatively attracted me. It was a heavy dose of some sharp talks on unnecessary issues and objections on trivial arguments, the program got over after an hour or so.
The new enlightenment I had received from the idiots chatting in the idiot box urged me to turn towards my bedroom to have another deep nap when I heard a knock on the door. A man had come to collect the paper bill. I walked up to the television for the money, paid him and got the receipt. After some deliberation in my bed, whether to do something else or sleep, for a minute or two, I heard another knock on the door. My mother entered with fury-filled eyes and a stuttering stomp.
“What did you do?”
I was caught unawares with the question. “What?”
“How much did you pay for the papers?”
“Around three hundred. I think.”
“Can’t you even see what he has added? He hadn’t delivered the paper for a week and you pay him for a whole month.”
“How am I supposed to know?”
“You have to. You are growing up. I can’t be taking care of you even now. You have to indulge yourself with the household.”
“Come on. I am not even reading the paper. Dad takes it to his office. How will I know how many days he has faulted?”
“See. You can’t be like this. You have to take up some responsibility. This is a family. Everyone has to put in some effort in running the house. You are now a grown up. From next year, you are going to go to office. You will be employed. Will you still be saying something like this? Will you say ‘I don’t know if my salary’s been credited in my account?’ You have to grow up and look at the family budget.”
“Fine then. I will.” I said with aggression behind a reluctant façade.
“Don’t cut me down. When I talk to you, you listen. If you do not check what you are paying for, you will be taken for a ride. People will cheat you and strip you off. You have to be careful. Look after our family budget from now on. It is your responsibility. Household budget is very important. If you do not check what you are paying for, we will go in a downwards spiral. So be careful.”
It wasn’t that bad. The exposure to my household accounts only made me interested in such topics. I was keen in learning more about the issues of finance and money. Budgets were my stronghold. I didn’t have to force myself to look into them after some time. They interested me. I was swooned into the working of financial and economic systems and I saw any program that involved finance, with interest.
The parliamentary budget was in session and the news channels were fighting it all out over the allotment of budget to various sectors of the economy. Then entered a monster to put an end to my pleasures. My dad asked me for the remote to change the channel. I was in disapproval of his actions but my arguments against him were of no avail.
“If you don’t give me the remote now, I will cut the connection this month and make sure that the television doesn’t work in this house. Ever.” He threatened and snatched the remote from me. Anger surged in me and all I could do was stomp out of the room in anger and lie down on my bed.
Hours passed in my sleep and I was aroused from my sleep by my mother to have dinner. I refused to have anything with the anger filling my stomach and the ego sealing the same. She was unaware of all the happenings and listened to my narration of the incident.
She then said, “Why do you want to see that budget? Nothings of avail in watching it. There is nothing to be done.”
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