The Innovative Scheme
As an astute financial expert, my brother-in-law attached great importance to the value of money. He would spend liberally for the basic needs of the family including food, clothing, health, religious functions and others. However, he had a strict policy of not wasting money under any circumstances. He also had some innovative ideas with regard to saving of money.
In those days the daily Kannada newspaper used to be delivered to Hokkalike from a place called Gadikal. The paper agent Mr. Gunda Nayak was ensuring that the daily newspaper from Bangalore would reach Hokkalike by 4 pm. But to my surprise I found that the newspaper meant for my brother-in-law would arrive one day late invariably. Those were very peaceful days under the Prime Ministership of Jawaharlal Nehru. The State of Mysore was under the Chief Ministership of B D Jatthi. There used to be no sensational/exciting news in the newspapers of those days. Hence it made very little difference whether you read the paper on the same day or the next day!
Actually this was the very fact that made my brother-in-law to enter into a simple arrangement with the newspaper agent Gunda Nayak. The agent himself was subscribing to one copy of Prajavani Kannada newspaper for his family reading at his home. As per the arrangement, he would send the same copy after his family reading to my brother-in-law on the next day! The understanding was – my brother-in-law would pay him half the monthly subscription of the newspaper at the month end. It was a win-win situation for both. While the agent’s family could read the paper on the same day at half the cost, my brother-in-law would pay half the cost and retain the paper after reading - for sale to the old newspaper buyer!
The Perfect Measure!
There is another interesting incident connected with newspaper and my brother-in-law. This was told to me by my younger brother Srinivasa, who also stayed with my sister’s family later for three years for his High School education.
On a particular occasion, an old newspaper buyer had arrived at the house of my brother-in-law with his physical balance for picking up the old papers. As usual the entire stock of old papers was dumped before him for weighing. He went on weighing the papers in a particular measure (the Kg concept had not arrived yet). Ultimately he put the last bunch of papers on one side of the balance. Quite surprisingly it almost came to a full measure. But somehow the buyer felt that one more copy of newspaper was required for the full measure.
Quite coincidentally, it was about 5 pm and the newspaper of the day had just then been delivered at home. None of the family members including my brother-in-law had read it so far. But my brother-in-law was a person who would not deny any person his rightful entitlement. To the bewilderment of the other family members, he snatched the latest paper without any hesitation and gave it to the vendor so that he had the perfect measure! I leave it to the imagination of my readers to interpret the action of my brother-in-law.
The Free Gold Jewellery Service
My brother-in-law (BIL) believed in investment in gold. He knew - come what may- the value of gold would always keep appreciating. In those days the investment in gold was through purchase of jewellery only. My BIL used to get gold jewellery made regularly. While my sister was the immediate beneficiary, there used to be some jewellery items that were specifically made for the benefit of some ‘reputed’ families. The heads of these families were either clients or closely known persons. They used to borrow the jewels during their family marriages and such other occasions. This was a free service provided by my BIL.
My BIL was always running a huge risk with this service. There was no way that he could verify that the jewellery returned were the same as what was taken from him. There was every possibility that some mischievous persons could have returned imitation jewellery. I was told that on the advice of his well wishers, he later got some imitation jewellery made for this purpose only. He would lend such jewellery only after making it clear to his clients. Actually the clients had no complaints. It made very little difference for them. After all - their purpose was only for show off on the occasions!
The Inventory Management and the Mandatory Monthly Kitchen Duty
My BIL was also an expert in inventory management. He would always keep sufficient stock of all items at home including timber at the house. He used to take sudden decisions to get some new furniture. He would entrust the work to the family carpenter who would prepare the desired furniture sitting at the house itself. My BIL’s another speciality was - he would personally handle the requirement of provisions for the kitchen. He had totally unburdened my sister from this job! A number of religious functions used to be held at home. Hence it was necessary to keep a regular track of the household provisions.
My BIL had pasted all the containers with the names of the provisions inside. He would periodically verify the inventory position personally and prepare a list. Fresh stock of provision would arrive from the Koppa town on the next Sunday by the bullock cart driven by Nakra Nayka. My BIL was also an excellent cook. But with his busy engagement with so many works, he hated to handle the kitchen job. However, with my sister taking the monthly leave of four days, he was forced to undertake this duty every month! During my stay of three years, I had the opportunity to test his culinary skills. I had only one complaint. On the fourth day morning, when my sister would get back to duty, he would invariably prepare rice ganji (instead of the normal dosa, uppittu, etc.) for breakfast. We always used to think rice ganji as a punishment in our Adekhandi house! We hated the very concept of ganji!
My BIL always used to address my sister in third person. He would never tell anything to her directly. He would always use indirect speech! As already mentioned by me above, due to his dislike for the kitchen job, he was always reluctant to send her to her parental home (Adekhandi). Just like any other woman, my sister also wanted to visit our place at least once or twice in a year. But she never dared to openly express it to her beloved husband!
On one particular occasion, my elder brother had managed to bring her to Adekhandi after lot of persuasion with my brother-in-law. He had allowed her with the strict condition that the stay would be restricted for one week only. But somehow she was forced to stay with us for an additional day. The next day my brother took her back in the early morning itself. Both of them expected lot of fireworks the moment they entered the house. But they were surprised to find my brother-in-law silent. However, the next day as my brother was leaving the place, he heard some mild comment from his beloved brother-in-law. When he looked back with a question mark on his face, my BIL told him that instead of getting back early in the morning, they could have started by the evening so that my sister could have availed the benefit of almost one more day’s stay at her beloved parent’s place!
-------To Be Continued------
A V Krishnamurthy