30th June, 2009: it was going to be a big day in my life! I was going to get paid my first salary (I know I have worked before, but that was just an interim thing, while I waiting for something else). So yes, for all I care, this WAS my first salary, and I was badly in need for it. I was already running on borrowed money and sodexo coupons and for the first time in life, I knew what it meant to be broke. So I dressed well (as well I could afford to), armed myself with my brand new atm card and chequebook and internet banking password of my brand new salary account, and then, I headed to office with aspirations of being rich.
For the rest of the day I checked my account online every half an hour (which kept showing a dismal zero as available balance), I kept staring at my cellphone waiting for that promised sms from HDFC saying that my account has been credited, I refreshed my mailbox intuitively hoping for that mail informing me I am finally rich… between all these, I found time to ping every possible acquaintance on the IM trying to squeeze out some inside information about that hallowed moment when we will get our salary. I asked my seniors who annoyingly cool about it, assuring me that it would definitely be done ANYTIME before 11:55 p.m. But that vague concept of “ANYTIME” was not good enough for me. I needed to know the precise hour and the minute so that I could plan my future (future here implies immediate alcohol consumption plans). After I was put through some extremely sad practical jokes by dumb colleagues who call themselves my friends, after I had abused the entire world a million times over and after I have had the affordable sandwich at the café for dinner) at 8 p.m. I was still poor, I was still sober and I was extremely dejected. So like everyday we set off for home gloomily, our party plans put on hold yet again.
And then, and then, and then it happened. One of us received a sms, and he just stood still, his face blank and his expression white as he extended the phone to us! Yes, it was the lonnng awaited sms from HDFC Bank declaring me as “rich and famous”. Well, may be not famous, not yet, but rich definitely! And suddenly the guys were rushing towards the ATM with me struggling in my heels and running behind them as I tried to keep up. My hands trembled as I inserted the card for the first time in the slot. Not surprisingly I got the pin wrong and was asked to enter it again. But finally, it was there, right in front of my eyes! Rs. 1.5 lacs balance against my name. MY hard earned (ok, not so hard earned) money! I took a mini statement of the cash position of my account on 30th June, 2009, 8:55 pm which I intend to take to my grave. And then I withdrew some money to fund my drinking plans. And then I called up parents, friends and other random people to share this landmark moment. This was bliss, as I had ever known bliss!
I rushed home, changed hurriedly in the dark (first power cut in my new house) and for the first time I felt like dressing up to go drinking and this time we were determined to graduate to an upmarket resto bar with good music and karaoke instead of our usual shady pubs and happy hour drinking binges. And, yes, vodka followed by tequila shots is great: good enough for drunken late night conversations.