Friday, 17 October 2008


All work at the bank is conducted by my better half. And no complaints. I am not intrigued or fascinated by the intricate workings of the system, and am content to benefit from the fallout of the procedures.

But last week, I had to take a trip to the bank at the request of my husband. “Since you are going that way, why don’t you deposit this cheque?” he said. “Of course,” I said cheerfully.

Whereupon he gave me several instructions on what to do, what to say and how to present the cheque, by which time my enthusiasm had died down, and I had started bristling. I may not actually enjoy going to the bank, but I do know a little - my days in the office had also entailed some banking work, which he seemed to have forgotten.

So I took the cheque and went to the bank. Upon presenting it I was told that I needed to give two Xerox copies of the cheque as well. When I asked why, I was told it was a ‘foreign cheque’(her words), and so they needed Xeroxes. Now, why had not my mentor and guide mentioned that, I wondered. But I persisted anyway and told her they had never wanted Xeroxes before this. She told me that now they were into core banking, and hence they did nothing at this branch. Core banking? I must have looked lost, when she told me that I could have the copies made at the basement shop, and waved me off. I nodded and left.

I decided to do it later after finishing my other work. And when I returned I found I had no money in my handbag. Hmm, in all the flurry of getting instructions on depositing a cheque, I had forgotten to pop in my change purse. I did not feel like returning home to get the money, but I did want to finish off the job.

And there was my coffee powder shop, Sarasu Coffee, next door to the Xerox shop. Bhaskar, the owner, was there and I decided to ask him for a loan of Rs. 2/ -. He was only too happy to oblige and insisted on escorting me to the Xerox shop and telling them my requirements. After finishing my work there I went back to Sarasu and thanking Bhaskar, took leave of him. But he would not let me go, and insisted on buying me a cool drink. “You haven’t come here in so long,” he said. I told him it was his own fault - such good service and prompt delivery. Bhaskar is a one-man industry. He takes orders on the phone, roasts and powders the beans, and delivers the powder. I only have to call him on the phone and say, “Sankar’s place, Bhaskar”, and the coffee powder is delivered - he knows my requirements. After all I have been his customer for the last 25 years.

His hospitality left me with a warm feeling, and I don’t mean the Madras heat. I returned to the bank, finished presenting the ‘foreign cheque’ and walked home, pondering on core banking and mom-and-dad shops.


Gowri Mohanakrishnan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gowri Mohanakrishnan said...

'Whereupon he gave my several instructions on what to do, what to say and how to present the cheque, by which time my enthusiasm had died down, and I had started bristling.'
Aah, men, men!
Loved this piece - and God bless Bhaskar!

h.eckler said...

bank stank
blankety blank
idler presence

mom, pop
coffee shop
filtered essence

Webradio said...

Hello Raji !
Your text makes me laughing...
Because the bank is rich, and you must make a loan at a coffee shop...
Hilarous hitory...

See You later.

Kat said...

Loved Webradio's comments..!
You must've applied for a loan in the bank itself :))))

Of course since it had become hard-core :)) the bank procedure appears to have changed. My heart goes to your husband.

Thanks for sharing that Alibaba kind password... Let me try it with... "Raja’s place, Bhaskar" and see if delicious coffee powder gets delivered, in my home..!!!!

Devika Jyothi said...

I love reading biographical material....knowing more and more...

Nice reading Raji...:-)


Anonymous said...

Lovely anecdote, Raji. It's nice to know that the core Madras is still there thanks to people like Bhaskar.
P.S. That Heckler can sure heckle!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely anecdote, Raji. It's nice to know that the core Madras is still there thanks to people like Bhaskar.
P.S. That Heckler can sure heckle!!

kallu said...

Raji, this post has everything.
Like Gowri says- men... they have to give us instructions.
And can give a 2 Rs loan and a cool drink!And accompany you to that complicated Xerox place:-)
I like it that you were so resourceful and you thought of the perfect place to get a
And weaving in Bhaskar..great.
Keep going raji

Maddy said...

that was lovely - reminded me of standard chartered calicut - there was a time when i could call the asst manager from any part ofthe world and say - can you organise to send home a draft of Rs 2000 and it would be done. today, banks behave horribly - like a big favor is being done if they do something at all, in time or properly. no wonder they cannot survive these days.

now you mad eme wish for a filter coffee - 25% chicory and all..

Indrani said...

Funny piece!
some of these small time shopkeepers are of great help, with the malls springing up every where I am afraid they will cease to exist soon!

Swarna said...

Next time you need to present a 'foreign cheque' - tell them to take photocopies for themselves - it is their requirement.
Glad you have friendly neighbourhood outlets.
Was lol at Webradio's comment.

Unknown said...

Very interesting post Raji. Such little experiences, so well written, make reading worthwhile.

Incidentally, why don't you tell us where Sarasu Coffee is so that other Chennaites too can try out their coffee?


Gardenia - :)

Heckler - Verse so terse - this can be a post by itself.

Webradio - so true!

Kat - you shall have it - see the last line.

Devika, glad you stopped by.

Kamini, But for Bhaskar and his ilk, Madras would not be the same. Yes, nice heckling! :)

Kallu - :)

Maddy - Ah! 'Those were the days, my friend.' but coffee, with or without chicory , is fortunately still available.

Indrani - sadly , too true.

Swarna - alas I was a real ignoramus; otherwise I would definitley have told her so.

Abraham - I treasure your remarks. And Sarasu Coffee is on T.T.K. Road, near Alwarpet Corner. The phone number is 24995610.

Sugopa Ray said...

Raji Mom...the branch didnot have a xerox machine of its own??

It was a delightful read nonetheless :).

Ashvin said...

Ahem, aunty, now I know why my
be(i)tter half looks exasperated sometimes when I give her basic instructions......