I must confess that I am quite a miserly person. Or let's put it this way (in order to save my dignity) that I do not like to splurge or overspend. This Saturday, after a long long time, I went for a Bollywood movie at INOX Cinemas. I was expecting the ticket price to hover somewhere between Rs 150 and Rs 180 (which is already too high for my liking). But the lady sitting reigning over the ticket counter asked me to shell out Rs 210 in her sugary voice (to my utmost horror, it was the minimum ticket price).
My wallet pleaded before me telling me, "Ritesh, this is too much for a ticket price. Don't you remember that only till a few years back, you used to pay Rs 20 for a movie." But I was in a different mood and was craving for some entertainment. I sealed the lips of my wallet after taking out a 500-rupee note and putting back the change which the lady grudgingly returned.
Then two diabolical-looking guards ran their hands all over my body scanning me as I was a terrorist carrying a gun or a bomb. But no, not any weapon.... I know what they were looking for. They were just making sure that I wasn't carrying any toffee, chocolate or even a chewing gum. Reason? They had an unfriendly rule and the writing was clear on the wall: Either die of thirst & hunger while watching the film OR turn your wallet upside down and buy what they were offering for a jaw-dropping price.
And as luck would have it, I was feeling both thirsty & hungry since I had a very light lunch that day. Rs 155 is what the they charged me for just a tub of popcorn and 1 cold drink. This is plain blasphemy. Why doesn't Mamta Banerjee hang these multiplex wallahs?
Again my wallet protested suggesting that I can have a popcorn and cold drink outside for just Rs 20. But I shut up its mouth and emptied its belly to fill my own.
The film ended at around 8:30 pm after which I rushed out to catch an auto back to my house. The auto-wallah greedily took me in and then announced that he would charge Rs 10, instead of the usual Rs 7. When the streets smell sweet and when the auto-wallahs charge more, you can be sure that rain is round the corner. It was drizzling and sensing my urgency, the auto-wallah had quickly raised up his price. The Ambanis and Tatas and Birlas surely have a thing or two to learn from him about how to run a business. Finally, I reached my home, took out my withered, empty wallet out of my pocket and placed it inside the almirah where it curled up in a small corner having lost, just like Tendulkar, 50 kilos off its body.