“How stupid of me not to have joined the IAS,” hubby’s last words were barely audible.
“What are you muttering to yourself?” I asked quite concerned at his worried look.
“Oh, I did not notice you, I must have been thinking aloud. It isn’t anything that would interest you,” he said evasively.
“Come on, I know something is bothering you. Why don’t you tell me what it is?” I urged.
“No use, my dear,” he chuckled, and added “Ignorance is bliss.”
“Why are you talking in such vague terms? Tell me, what’s your problem,” I insisted.
“Ok, if you insist. My problem has got everything to do with money,” he said at last, stressing the last word.
“Earning it or spending it?” I wanted to know.
“Both, my dear,” he replied.
“Well, why should both earning and spending bother you? I thought it was very clear; you do the earning and I do the spending. And spending with care, for that matter,” I said.
“That is clear, of course, and I’m not worried about either in the sense ‘you’ mean, but…”
“Then in what other sense do you mean? By the way, haven’t you always been complimenting me for not being too demanding on your purse?” I said.
“Well, I don’t deny that, but that’s the whole trouble. You see to be one of those exceptions to your clan,” hubby remarked.
“But I thought that’s how an ideal wife should be and every husband would dream of having such a wife,” I said not knowing why hubby was suddenly complaining of my frugality.
“That’s why I think it is futile to discuss these things with you. If you had asked for a posh bungalow and an air-conditioned imported car to go with it and a yearly holiday at a hill resort or abroad, it would have been different,” hubby said all in one breath.
As I still failed to understand the implication of his words, I said, “How will it make a difference? Tell me, how can we afford all these!”
“Ah, now I see that you are coming to the point. For every action there should be motivation, right? We ‘can’ afford all these only if we ‘have’ the money to spend and to have the money one should ‘make’ money and to make money you require ‘motivation’,” explained hubby sounding like a teacher giving moral lessons to a child.
“How can you ‘make’ money? You make it sound as though it is like making puris and chapatis. I thought people ‘earned’ money and not ‘made’ money,” I tried to enlighten him of the difference in the two expressions. But I noticed that hubby was annoyed when I pointed out the difference.
“You turned out to be a greater nitwit than what I took you for and a total ‘misfit’. Don’t think I lack the sense not to understand the difference between ‘earning’ and ‘making’ money,” accused hubby.
Suddenly, an idea struck me and I said, “But , how can you ever think of ‘making’ money in your kind of a job?”
It was hubby’s turn to look surprised and pleased.
“Ah, I am happy that you have understood the basics. So you ‘do’ agree that money can also be ‘made’ and not merely ‘earned’. If you stretch your imagination a little further, you will also learn how it can be made and where it can be made, hubby tried to enlighten me.
“But doesn’t this kind of money have a name. ‘Black money, to be precise?”
“Now you seem to have understood the difference very well,” said he, looking happy that was able to understand ‘complicated’, things.
“Yes, it is black money no doubt, but how does it matter whether money is white or black as long as it has the purchasing power?” hubby posed the question to me this time.
“But… where is the need for this kind of money, dear, if we live within our means and our wants are limited? Why do we need a Mercedes Benz or a bungalow when our Maruti and the house we live in are adequate? And what if you get into trouble like some in the service did?” I said after a pause, not daring even to imagine the consequences of making black money.
“There you go again! We are back to square one. I thought it was stupid of me to have chosen private service and now I know it was a greater stupidity to have chosen you as wife,” said hubby desperately.
N Meera Raghavendra Rao