An ode to Chillar

An ode to Chillar

Let me start with the disclaimer that the ode is not to the present Miss World Manushi Chillar; but to the simple coin. The coin brings back vivid childhood memories of the jingling sound in my piggy bank.

My first piggy bank was an old chocolate tin with a hole in it. As a child, I used to wonder why it was called piggy bank. Those days there was no 'Mr Google', and so my query remained unanswered for a long time as my mother, too, had no clue why it was named that.

Whenever we did any errands in the house like dusting, cleaning our cupboard and other small tasks, my mother used to give me a 25 paisa or a 50 paisa coin. Those were the days when a small Cadbury chocolate bar cost only 40 paisa and an ice-cream bar, a humble 75 paisa.

How the mighty coin has fallen today! Even a alms-seeker makes you feel guilty if you hand him a small coin. The ruder ones may even fling it on the ground. Nowadays, shopkeepers look askance if we ask for 50 paisa change. The tendency is to round it off to the nearest rupee.

For the pleasure of getting a simple coin, we siblings used to quarrel among ourselves to run errands for our parents. Occasionally we used to buy a chocolate or bubble gum with the coin; but for the most part, we would dutifully insert the coins in our respective piggy banks.

On rare occasions the piggy bank was turn a recipient of notes too as relatives who stayed on as house guests used to give money to the children of the house before they left.

It was an era where parents did not buy gifts for the children at the drop of a hat. The repeated refrain was 'if you want something, you need to save for it.'

I recall the numerous times I counted the money in my piggy bank to check whether it was sufficient to buy the Enid Blyton book which I was keen to read. My joy knew no bounds when I had collected enough to finally buy it.

In today's digital era, when the government talks about a gradual shift towards a cashless society, I wonder how the children will learn the importance of saving.

Perhaps, the disappearance of the piggy bank will be the collateral damage that the this digital age will leave behind.

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