Let’s humanise the world and become more accountable
Aug 29 2013
“Oh! I heard death free, well, when you are no longer scared of death you can live life to the fullest”, she went on. “And when you are debt-free you can enjoy life to the fullest.” I answered, “How true! I wonder why we ape the west so blindly. Haven’t we seen the mortgage scams, the inflated evaluations and the financial bloodbath that took place! Why are we heading in the same direction?” She said, “It’s because everyone wants to take the easy road to success, instead of working hard.”
She told me her brother Anil’s story. Anil went to buy a flat in the suburbs of Mumbai and was told the flat was priced at Rs X, but the cash component of Rs 3 crores had to be paid upfront. So, he went to his bank and cashed a cheque of Rs 3 crore, which had the bank manager come tumbling out of his office. Anil told the manager he had to pay for his flat. The manager ordered three empty cartons lying in the back of the bank to be brought up front. They filled the cartons with the cash and the manager insisted on accompanying Anil to the builder with three bank guards. After handing over the cartons, Anil was told that six months later, the flat would be ready for handover. Six months later, when Anil went there, he was told the cash component was Rs15 lakh short of the Rs3 crores, so when the balance was paid up, the flat would be released.
Anil argued but, of course, to no avail. He decided to bring back the bank manager to the builder, who when he saw three bank executives suddenly remembered the defecit and said “Oh forgot! Just wait here Mr Anil, we will redo the paperwork. By the way, a small mistake occurred while doing the paperwork...the flat is actually 25 sq ft bigger...pehle dekha nahin! Measurements were taken last week. A balance of Rs15 lakh is due, as soon as this payment is made, the flat is yours!”
Anil realised he could fight this all he wanted, but somehow since no one was accountable for honesty here, he had to pay now and fight the builder later. Then his neighbour said something, which got him thinking. “These people are dishonest and corrupt, you stay the good human being you are. Don’t dehumanise the world, don’t stoop to their level. You remain accountable and honest and move towards a better world... life will catch up with them soon enough.”
Anil still stays in his flat and enjoys it. He is retired and freelances when he wants, takes a walk on Juhu Beach and is both debt-free and happy.
(The writer is a theatre director and novelist)