Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Loansome tonight

Every day I get an average of five calls and six text messages from random banks, financial institutions, quacks, offering me personal loans to buy anything I want – a new house, a new car, a new face, a new body.. whatever.

Does anyone ever say, “Yes, please, I’d like two—can you make it medium rare…?”

Usually, I announce my verdict in about 10 seconds. “Sorry, I don’t need the money. I am renouncing the world soon,” I say. They sound confused, and continue to blabber, and I hang up.

But recently, I succumbed to upgrading my most luxurious material possession—my car, and the saga of paperwork that followed reminded me of how much I really want to give it all up.

I would have happily emptied my bank balance, signed off my mutual funds and fixed deposits, paid cash down and driven home in my passion red Xing, if I had my way. But fiscal interferences in the form of my CA, some money-wise friends and some hustling car financers prevailed, and I went down the long road. EMIs seemed to be the only way to add a dash of glamour to my spotless credit record.
After scribbling a list of numbers on a piece of paper and staring at it in stoned silence, Mr. Car Finance says, “Three year loan is really good for you. My man will come tomorrow..”

He does. Wearing his trousers at his breast. Smelling like he hadn’t had a bath in four days. Don’t even get me started on his hair. He opens his mouth, and a thousand pods of garlic roll out. He thrusts the car finance agreement at me, apart from an assortment of forms— my day goes from bad to worse, and my irritation index soars above the sensex. Apart from my cat’s birth certificate and the brand of condom my mosquito uses, I have to pretty much list every gory detail, with ‘supportings.’

I sign at 200 odd places. And after the first five, it doesn’t look like me at all. Seriously, why does signing your own name make you feel like a forger sometimes?

He remarks (more garlic breath), “Aapka signature bahut basic hain na?”

I quickly cover the next few cheques with my other hand as I clumsily sign on, lest he copies my practised flourish, and runs away with my fortune.

Madam..one more thing,” he adds with the glint of a Nazi. “You also have to sign 36 cheques..”

I instantly switch to a one-year loan (I am too spent to sign 36 cheques). I also reach a point when I am so asphyxiated by his breath that I ask him to wait in the reception area. He says, “Sorry to irritate you, but one more signature…”

Why did I subject myself to such Naziness, I have no idea. May be it’s fashionable. May be it makes me look better on paper. May be it earns me the famous tax relief or depreciation, or whatever the money pundits say to get you to spend more money.

I think it’s over, but I am wrong. A few days later, as I am lounging at home in my microshorts with face pack on, the bell rings. Mr.Verification is at my door. He asks me if I live there. I say, what do you think, this is my ghost? He has this look of “you can’t even keep your face on, how can we give you a loan?” He then asks me for more trivia, this time about my religion and the area in square feet of my microscopic house, and why my dad and I don’t share a last name, even though I am still single. I am dying to scream, but my face pack resists. He leaves after I threaten to sue him for harassment.

Phew! I hear I have finally been approved, but dude, where is my car?

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