That's so taxing!

That's so taxing!

That's so taxing!

The last date for filing income tax returns was fast approaching. I had been struggling with the figures for sometime now and my heart was sinking just with the thought that Swachh Bharat Tax would prove to be the last straw. Once done with this ritual, I had to decide on a strategy to increase savings. I called the Wife over to my side and put before her my out-of-the-box savings plan...

The once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Mauritius need not be taken. I would morph our faces onto the WhatsApp pictures of our friends vacationing there. We would not only get the ‘holiday-high’ without moving out of the house, but it would leave us richer by a couple of unspent lakhs.

The credit card would be given up to arrest the urge to spend, enjoy now and pay (regret) later.

I would cancel my gym membership and save the hefty fees, though my dream of having a body like Salman Khan would remain unfulfilled. I would get equivalent load-bearing and stretching exercise by working as a coolie (in disguise, of course) at the nearby railway station. I would cancel my newspaper subscription. Instead I would practise reading the newspaper over my co-passenger’s shoulder in the train, on my way to work.

I would become more religious — not by believing in any of the 30,000 crore gods, but by going to the neighbourhood temple at 1 pm to partake of the free prasad every other day. Special occasions would be celebrated not by throwing parties in 5-star hotels, but by cooking healthy green veggies at home, with the understanding that the Wife would serve them to the guests and leave the yummy fried stuff for me.

Since special household services were costly and attracted service tax at higher rates, I would befriend the neighbourhood plumber, carpenter and electrician by handing over to them festive gifts of work overalls, which I had learned to craft out of my old lungis. This would make them feel indebted to me and their free services would be available to us whenever needed.

By bribing the neighbour’s teenaged boy with a Sunny Leone photograph, I would get hold of the password of their Broadband connection and use the internet to my heart’s content. I would save quite a bit by learning to trim my hair, hoping that it would not leave me resembling Anupam Kher. I would renegotiate my cable TV subscription plan and settle for only 731 channels instead of the current 738 channels.

Phew! To get started, this was certainly an impressive plan of saving money. I growled at the Wife — “See, this is my plan. Now tell me how you plan to save money.” She laughed and said, “I have already saved a huge amount. I just finished making sambhar for your idli without onions and toor dal. “So be it,” I said. And then came the unexpected bombshell. “Darling, I just placed an order for the sequin-laced, vermillion-coloured high heels from Amazon, like the ones Kevalramani has. And, guess what? Since it’s slightly pricey, it’ll arrive without delivery charges.” The savings exercise the new tax had set in motion had managed to clean up, if nothing else, my wallet.