Wednesday, July 1, 2015

THE “POUND-FOOLISH” ALWAYS EXPLOIT THE “PENNY-WISE” – Humor in Finance

Humor in Finance

THE “POUND-FOOLISH” ALWAYS EXPLOIT THE “PENNY-WISE”
BAILOUT – A PARADOX
THE POOR SUBSIDISE THE RICH
Musings
By
VIKRAM KARVE

I still vividly remember an incident which happened in the 1960 when I was a small boy and I lived in Pune.

My mother believed in the concepts of thrift and frugality  and she practiced what she preached

She believed in building up savings rather than borrowing money.

We were taught to live within our means. 

We never took loans. 

In case we wanted to buy something expensive  we saved money till we had enough funds to buy what wanted.

After I got my job  I opened a recurring deposit  saved money every month  and purchased my first scooter after nearly 3 years. 

I still remember that I bought my first car after working for more than 15 years. 

I bought it from my savings  and did not take a loan for buying a car. 

If we could not afford something  we had no hesitation in saying so  and we curtailed our desires instead of having false pretences. 

We had not fallen victim to the disease of instant gratification. 

We believed in “cutting our coat according to our cloth”.

We never lived beyond our means  and that is why we were financially sound  and our savings gave us a sense of security.

We did not believe in “keeping up with the Joneses” – and that is why  we never felt any sense of inferiority or envy if our neighbour was better off than us  or if he had something which we did not have.

I have digressed. 

Let me take you back to the incident which happened more than 45 years ago in the end 1960s. 

As I have already told you  since my mother believed in thrift and frugality  she always travelled around Pune by Public Transport  Pune Municipal Transport (PMT) Bus. 

Commuting by auto-rickshaw or taxi was considered a luxury  and was resorted to only when absolutely necessary like when we had luggage and had to go to the railway station to catch a train  or when there was some elderly or ailing person who could not travel by bus.

One day an aunt came to meet my mother. 

She was much younger and fitter than my mother. 

She had come to borrow money from my mother. 

At first  my mother was quite reluctant to lend her money. 

I too seemed quite surprised that my aunt wanted to borrow money from us  since she was quite well-off financially – as compared to us.

Seeing my mother’s unwillingness to lend her money  my aunt pleaded desperately to the point of emotional blackmail.

(I could overhear something about cheques bouncing etc). 

Finally my mother succumbed  and gave my aunt the money. 

Then – my mother asked me to see off my aunt to the bus stop.

As we were walking towards the bus stop  my aunt asked me to hail an auto-rickshaw.

“You want to go by auto-rickshaw?” I asked her, surprised, “Why don’t you go by PMT bus – it goes right near your house?”

“I am not used to travelling by bus,” my aunt said with disdain, “these PMT buses are so dirty, crowded and uncomfortable – I just can’t travel in these terrible buses. Just call me a auto-rickshaw.”

And so  off she went travelling in the luxury of an auto-rickshaw.

Of course  my snooty aunt would pay the “exorbitant” auto-rickshaw fare out the money borrowed from us  while we would travel by bus – that’s what hurt me the most.

A question arose in my mind.

How can someone who borrows money have a higher standard of living than the person who lends them the money?

In fact  why should someone who is well-to-do and has a higher standard of living  borrow money from someone who is less well-off?   

Isn’t it logical that the standard of living of the lender should be much higher than that of the borrower?

My mother travelled by economical public transport bus. 

My aunt travelled by expensive auto-rickshaw.

We lived in a modest home in a middle-class neighbourhood  whereas my aunt lived in a stylish house in a posh locality.

Yet  my aunt would always borrow money from my mother  when logically it should have been the other way round.

My spendthrift “pound-foolish” aunt kept on exploiting my thrifty “penny-wise” mother.

I did not understand the paradox.

How can the rich borrow from the poor?

Does it make any sense?

And  why should the rich borrow from poor?

But now I see this happening all around  when I hear that familiar term “BAILOUT”.

Rich organisations like banks and airlines (who have the most highly paid employees) are being “bailed out” by the comparatively poorer taxpayers. 

Yes  the poor taxpayer is being penalised for the extravagance of these lavish spendthrift organisations  who have landed themselves in dire straits because of their own incompetence and profligacy.

Why should a person who earns much less than the highly paid employees working in these organisations be expected to bail them out?

Is it fair to ask the middle class to bail out someone who is much more financially well-to-do?

Why must the economically prudent subsidize the financially reckless?

It seems the same thing is happening with nations too. 

Developed nations like Greece are seeking bailouts. 

If you have a look at the luxurious lifestyle and plush high standard of living of these European Nations as compared to underdeveloped or developing nations  you really wonder why these developed and modern nations should be “bailed out”.

In fact – it is the less-developed Asian and African nations who need a “bailout” – not developed European nations. 

It is inexplicable.

How can someone with a lower standard of living “bail out” someone with a higher standard of living?

It would be much better if these cash-strapped nations and bankrupt organisations be asked to cut costs, reduce salaries, prune expenditure, implement austerity measures and practice thrift and frugality  rather than giving them bailout after bailout  despite the fact that they continue with their spendthrift lifestyle. 

And if they refuse to mend their profligate ways  then it is better to let them go bust.  

The poor subsidize the rich.

The “pound-foolish” always exploit the “penny-wise”.

Strange but true – an inexplicable paradox – is it not?

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)
  

Monday, June 29, 2015

Humor in Uniform - RUM QUOTA AND THE “TEETOTALLER ALCOHOLIC”

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

RUM QUOTA AND THE TEETOTALLER ALCOHOLIC 
A Rum Tale
Delightful Memories of my Halcyon Navy Days
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


TEETOTALLER ALCOHOLIC  a Rum Tale by Vikram Karve

Long back  around 38 years ago  sometime in the late 1970 we were young officers just introduced to the pleasures of alcohol during our specialisation course.

We youngsters thoroughly enjoyed our newly found freedom by topping up to the hilt  in the bar every evening.

Though it was supposed to be a Technical Training Establishment  the atmosphere was more OG than Gunnery School.

And to make matters worse  we were located in a desolate place in the back of beyond.

Apart from playing sports  the only recreation for us bachelors was drinking alcohol. 

Also  in order to sleep soundly in the bedbug infested cabins  one had to imbibe a reasonable amount of alcohol every evening.

So  every evening we would assemble in the wardroom bar  and top-up till the last sitting for dinner was announced.

In order to curb our excesses  the PMC set a daily limit of 3 large pegs of Rum for each individual officer. 

Well  during those days  we drank only large pegs – and 3 large pegs total about 180 ml of hard liquor – less than a quarter of a bottle of rum  which has almost 13 large pegs.

Now  for tough young naval officers like us in their early 20’s  only 3 large pegs of rum were just too little  especially for an ardent drinker like me.

So I devised a simple strategy. 

I caught hold of my course-mate “X” who was a strict teetotaller 

Of course – like most teetotallers in uniform  my friend “X” was quite a money-minded businessman in uniform too.

I made him a proposition: “If you let me have your rum quota  I will pay your entire wine bill  including whatever soft drinks and snacks you have.”

“You will pay my entire bar bill?” “X” asked me, quite unbelieving.

“Yes,” I said to “X”“ See – your daily 3 peg rum quota is going waste since you are a teetotaller. If you give me your daily rum quota – I will pay your entire bar bill every month.

“X” readily agreed.

In fact  I am sure that in his heart he jumped with joy. 

So  we instructed the bar steward accordingly. 

Every evening  the steward would put my first 3 large pegs of rum in X’s bar book.

Whatever subsequent pegs I drank beyond the first 3 pegs  would be entered in my bar book. 

Yes  those days – in Navy Wardrooms – we had bar books which we had to sign at the end of the evening  or by next morning.

So every evening as I sat down to drink  my first 3 large pegs of rum would be written in X’s bar book.

In case I drank a fourth or fifth or sixth peg of rum  the steward would write them in my own bar book.

I seldom drank more than 6 large pegs  except on rare occasions like parties  but on such occasions of unrestricted drinking  booze was on the house  and was not subject to any quota.

So  thanks to  every evening  I would enjoy a generous amount of booze – which raised my spirits – so my morale was high and I was quite happy.

“X” was delighted with this arrangement. 

“X” sat down with us in the evenings  downing soft drink after soft drink  eating plenty of small eats – knowing that I was paying for all his soft drinks and eats too – and calculating the cost in his mind – estimating how much money he was saving – since I was paying his entire bar bill

I am sure that in his mind he was wondering what a sucker I was.

A couple of months passed happily.

One morning  the PMC suddenly entered the training hall  and he thundered, “Who the bloody hell is “X”...?” 

The PMC shouted X’s name  and he looked around the hall.

“X” meekly stood up.

The PMC strode up to “X” – and he brandished X’s bar book menacingly  and the PMC shouted at “X”: “Do you want to become a bloody alcoholic? You have been religiously drinking 3 large pegs of rum every day for the last two months. I am stopping your booze. No more drinking. You better sober up.”

And then, as suddenly as he had come  the PMC stormed out of the hall  rendering a hapless “X” dumbstruck and speechless.

Poor “X” – his reputation as a “drinker” spread pretty fast. 

At parties  when “X” had his usual glass of cola in his hand  the PMC would suspect that X’s soft drink was was spiked with rum. 

So “X” started drinking lime juice  but even then  the PMC was sure it was spiked with Gin or Vodka. 

The PMC kept telling the Training Officer that he suspected that “X” was still drinking heavily.

Accordingly  the Training Officer kept warning “X” to stop drinking.

Meanwhile  I had found other sources to replenish my “thirst” for alcohol  like picking up a few rum bottles from married officers.

The biggest joke was that the PMC thought that “X” was taking rum bottles from married officers  and “X” was warned once more by the Training Officer to abstain from drinking.

Soon his reputation as an alcoholic was growing.

“X” feared that his appraisal report (OLQ Marks) would be ruined with a remark about his alcohol dependence – and he would be branded as an alcoholic throughout his naval career.

So  one day  “X” told the Training Officer the whole story. 

The Training Officer told the PMC all about it.

And soon  I found myself being marched up to the PMC.

The PMC had two bar books in his hand – X’s Bar Book and My Bar Book. 

He was turning page after page.

“Is it true?” the PMC asked me, “You seem to drinking 4 to 5 large pegs of Rum every evening. Sometimes even 6 pegs of Rum.”

“Yes, Sir,” I meekly said  trembling inside  expecting to be logged  or be severely admonished by the PMC who was also the XO. 

I surely anticipated that my booze was going to be stopped  so I was thinking in my mind what new arrangements I needed to make to obtain my supply of rum  maybe my friends in the Army or Air Force may help me out.

The PMC held up the bar book of “X” and he asked me: “And what about this officer  your friend “X”  is he telling the truth that he is a teetotaller  or is he also a bloody alcoholic like you?” 

“Sir  he is an alcoholic teetotaller,” I blurted out.

“What? Alcoholic teetotaller? Bloody Hell! This is the first time I am hearing this crazy oxymoron,” the PMC looked at me curiously.

“Sir  I meant that “X” is an teetotaller alcoholic,” I mumbled sheepishly.

Suddenly – the PMC burst out laughing and said, “Come over to my house for a drink this evening. You seem to be an interesting chap.”

Maybe  I reminded him of his youthful days.

I did - that is what he told me after a few drinks - and I could see that the PMC really enjoyed his liquor.

In the evening  as we imbibed peg after peg of the best rum  the PMC  an old sea-dog  was overcome by the Auld Lang Syne Complex – so he harked back to his halcyon navy days  and he excitedly told me about his glorious drinking escapades.

Cheers  That calls for a drink...! 

I hope my good friend the “alcoholic teetotaller” aka “teetotaller alcoholic” is reads this – and has a good laugh.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This yarn is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)