A telephone call, late in the night from any family member arouses one’s anxiety. The least one could do is to take the call asap, so that if one could be of any help then one would have more time on one’s hands. Those “seconds” seems like hours.
So one night, at about 1am in the morning, i receive a call from my son, who believes that his father and mother have an unshirkable duty of attending to their children’s needs at any time of the day or night. Even though i do not subscribe to his belief, as it happens to be our son’s belief, we had always in deference to his belief, attended to his needs. As a reader you may rush in to conclude that my son had been brought up in such pampered circumstances, surely not. Kids were allowed to fend for themselves, as during the day their parents had to go for work, the only time they got to spend with their parents was after 9 in the night and the weekends.
So my son coming back from school was used to taking a nap before he pursued his basketball activities and other such activities which boys of his age were prone to.
So this call, so late in the night was quite alarming. I took the call and said,”So what’s the trouble?”
Son said, “Dad, i need money.”
I said, “For what and how much?”
He said, ” A thousand rupees and i need that for my expenses.”
I said, ” Aren’t you ashamed to wake me up so late in the night and ask for money? You could have asked me for it in the morning.”
He said,” You might leave early, so i’d want you to leave it with someone who’d be at home.”
I said, “I do not leave early, you wake up so late that even a lunch is an early tea for you! But i will leave the money with the servant maid. ”
I continued, “But this time it is not a GRANT but a BORROWAL!”
He said, “what do you mean by a grant and borrowal?”
I said, “son, now that you have a job on hand, my responsibility to provide you has abated and whatever i was giving you was a GRANT- which means a sum of money given for a purpose which was on a non-returnable basis. But now that you have “CREDITWORTHINESS” whatever you ask is a BORROWAL and due for payment when called upon!”
The next morning, when both my kids were at the table for breakfast, the older one tells the younger one, “see man whatever you get from dad and mom is a GRANT, whereas what i get is a BORROWAL and went on to explain the difference.
Without batting his eyelid, the elder one asks me, ” Dad i want to borrow 5000 rupees.”
I said, “nothing doing. But in any case why do you need it?”
He said, ” Just want to celebrate with my friends, just to tell them that i can borrow out of my creditworthiness! So lend me the money and make me feel like a MAN!”
I went with him to the ATM, withdrew the money and told him that i needed the money back as soon as he got his salary. After he got the money in his hands, he asked me, “Dad, what is the meaning of DEFAULT?”
I left the scene silently like as the Central Government walks away finding a way to convert a STATE GOVERNMENT’S BORROWAL into a GRANT!