My mother has always wanted to be rich. On sunny winter mornings, she sits in the verandah, pestling cinnamon sticks and wondering about money. She asks me if I am free, and doesn’t matter what I say, tells me to sit down with her and listen to her ideas regarding the Jacuzzi we are going to install in our bungalow. We don’t have a bungalow, and neither the space to accommodate a Jacuzzi, but she’s quite convinced that an elegant hot water bath will be good for her Arthritis.
“But you don’t have Arthritis, Maa. “I point out.
“I’ll have, one day. It’s a pity you never think about the future, son! “She shakes her head in disappointment, in a way she does when her number fails to show up on the Daily Lottery Chart.
I consider mentioning her that there are better reasons to have a Jacuzzi installed in the bungalow, but she won’t listen to me whatsoever.
“We could make a gym on the second floor, with tv and everything. And there has to be a lawn with imported grass, and a metal spiral staircase with vines wrapped around the railing and spindles. The vines shall be imported as well. ”
It’s another thing that we don’t have a second, or for that matter, even a first, floor, but my mother strongly believes that somewhere in future, we’ll be living in a palace.
“How about having a mattress stuffed with notes? A pillow full of currency? “I jibe.
My mother ponders over it for quite some time, her eyes narrow as if she’s been given a whatsapp puzzle to solve.
“Ah! I guess no. “She says, “Because that won’t be good for my arthritis. ”
A few days ago, while skimming through her whatsapp chatbox, she came to know about a Tamil guy who set stalls of old defunct coins and sold a 1973 minted, historically valuable coin for 300,000 rupees. She was convinced that the coins she’d sneaked from her grandmother’s almirah in her childhood would fetch her at least a million.
“It’s a prized collection. I’m so lucky I didn’t spend it. I must have been a genius back then. “She said happily.
“Where is it? “I asked. She pursed her lips, squinted her eyes, and thought for an eternity.
“Somewhere in the house. “She replied eventually.
And then, she made us comb through the house, through every dusty corner and carton and pot and case and shelf and box garnished with shit pellets and fossilised lizards. We discovered three kittens that we didn’t know existed before.
“Here, I found it. “My father pulled out what looked like a witch’s potion bag and ran out to wash his hands.
After the coins were sterilised, we checked the dates. The oldest one was minted in 1973.
“Oh My God I’m going to pass out! “My mother exclaimed. Both her eyes had Jacuzzis floating in them.
“It’s not sufficient. It has to have a value. A historical value. Plus, you need to find out the buyer. And for that, you have to go to a metropolis where people have enough money to invest in purchasing an old rotting metal disc for a price that could cure Bangladesh and two other countries of poverty. And you can’t just sit on platforms and sell coins, you have to initiate a small business or contact a middleman. You have to pay the middleman. And there’s no guarantee of return either. ”
My mother searched for trains to Tamilnadu for a while, and after the Jio stopped working she chucked her phone in disgust.
“Nobody wants to see me rich. “She said as she tossed Rotis in our plates in the evening.
“We’ll be rich some day, maa. And we’ll have a helipad on our terrace. “I tried to give her some hope.
“Actually that’s a good idea. But the helipad shouldn’t face north-south because that would be incorrect according to Vastu. ”
Well, some things don’t change no matter how rich you become.