Remember when a dirham would fetch three rupees?

By Suresh Pattali

The rupee! The thought that life is all about the nickel was thrust upon me by circumstances, watching how my parents had struggled in different roles to bring us up.  Every morning when I was about to go to the school, my dad pretended to be busy tending to the plants. He had two leather bags — stuffed with memories but no cash — that he had brought from Colombo. One was full of suits, all white.The other was smaller and full of papers, including his expired British Empire passports. Whenever I stretched my hand for money, he would routinely pull out the smaller one from underneath his bed and rummage around. By the time he lifted his face from the pile of papers, with misery writ large, I would have left the scene. So I decided to temp as a tuition teacher when I was in high school. My first earnings — Rs25 from five girls, a year or two younger than me — were customarily handed to my dad. The day the rupee made me proud. Since then the rupee and I had maintained a love-hate relationship. It was elusive whenever I chased, and I didn’t care a damn when it finally came knocking.

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