Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Banks have always been a scary place to me, with so many counters(cages, actually), so many coloured slips and perennially irritated people, both inside and outside the counters! Added to it, are all those technical terms which most of the times won't make sense to me. One of the many embarrassing incidents was when my ears failed me to rightly hear the often said 'panam draw pannanam' and I once told a friend that my parents have gone to the bank to 'drop money' and she laughed till her belly ached!

When I turned a 'major', my father announced that I had begun to reap the benefits of the seeds(or units!) sowed in Unit trust of India. I had got a cheque for some 150 Rs. in my name. He said it was my money and I could do anything with it. "Hooray!", I cried and thanked my Dad hoping he was going to hand me the cash. Instead he said that I could cash it (only) in a bank(oh, not again!). Since I did not have a regular bank account, he said that this was a great opportunity to open one. On enquiry we found that most banks needed a minimum balance of Rs. 500!! Anyway, after finding a bank which considered poor people like me, I went along with 'kodi veetu' mama (who had influence there!) one early morning. After a few hours(b'cos of influence, mind you!) of uncomfortable wait with many 'sidu sidu' looks and producing numerous documents, I atlast got to open an account.

After quite a while, I went to withdraw the money. First of all, bad timing, cos' it was the beginning of the month and there was a huge crowd. With difficulty, I found the withdrawal slip and shaking and shivering, filled it up, stood in the queue to deposit the slip and waited for the "token no. xxx" call. Having done so much successfully, I was quite proud and patting myself when suddenly I heard someone screaming 'Aparna, Aparna'. For a minute I thought it must be somebody else but Nooooooooo!!! I ran to that person who was yelling 'yarunga adhu withdrawal slip pinnale sign panname, Che!' The whole crowd was looking at me! Boo-hooo!!!

Then there was this time when I went to the bank to send a Demand draft to my friend. This was my first time dealing with a DD and I, once again, shaking and shivering, entered the bank, found the form, filled, stood in line and handed over the form. After this, I was not sure if my task was over or not. I was debating if I should sit down for a while or just walk away. I was walking towards the exit wondering how my DD was going to reach my friend when asusual I heard the bank employee yelling from behind "your DD, your DD"!


tt_giant said...

LOL!.. ayyo.. i can imagine your plight!. India la banks konjam intimidating dhaan. Unless you have an uncle or chithi or someone known working. My dad used to send me for small errands to the bank to learn more.

But here, I feel its much simpler. Although I am yet to open a CD/FD in the US, other things are fairly easy!!.

Raju said...

hahahahah.. paavam Aps.. unga side of the story enakku ippodhaan puriyudhu..

I wasnt comfortable too.. but somehow my dad made me visit atleast once a week and helped overcome all the shiverings..

The most disgusting part is that of the people there.. They think as though we have come to loot the bank and they are doing a big mistake in helping us do so. If you go to a bank where the people dont know your father, their looks could literally kill. Total contrary to the people over here.. I feel like entering the bank often, just to get the special treatment..

Balaji said...

No horror stories from my side. my mom worked in State Bank. so SBI matum thaan poven. and pona raja mariyadhai dhaan :)

Me too said...

Deepak, exactly! My father too used to drive me to the bank to learn!!

Raju, very true about the bank people. I have often wondered if 'sidu sidu-ness' was a quality to become an employee there!!

Balaji, lucky you!!

Kaps said...

my parents work in a bank and hence i have hardly been to any of the banks. I picked up these skills while I stayed alone.
With the advent of technology all your experiences will be a thing of the past.

Munimma said...

Some of these places are horribly still the same. My mom goes regularly to update her book and they tell her to come later. Very high-handed. It takes just a minute to update. They are still in colonial times. Most of them act like they are doing you a favor. But then, that is the attitude in most Indian bureaucracies!

mitr_bayarea said...

good post...My father used to force me to go to the bak with him and learn stuff andf he used to wonder how i would manage my finances when i came to grad school here in US. I find it so much easier to go to a bank here,which i do on rare occasions and even now hate to go to a bank in India. My grandfather feels so much at home when he makes these bank visits in his 82nd year. Everyone knows him at the local bank and he stops by the counetrs to chat with folks. I love to go to the bank with him whenever i visit India and he is proud of introducing his US based pethi.

Me too said...

Kaps, you too have been quite lucky back in India.
'With the advent of technology all your experiences will be a thing of the past.' - Hence the attempt to document the experience!!

Munimma, I am shocked! I thought with competition from so many foreign banks, things would have improved!

Mitr, Wow! It sure would be great to accompany your grandfather who enjoys his bank visits!!