A moo point, basically …

Arbit/ Random

To owe or not to owe

with one comment

A friend’s friend borrowed his car for a weekend. He (fof) suggested that he (fof) should pay him (f) some money – for petrol and general wear and tear. My friend laughed it off – ‘naah, ditch.’ This reminded me of two snippets from the past –

1. Around fifteen years ago – give or take a decade- I had a conversation with a tobacco-stained-teethed, growly-voiced person at a small private gathering. He was the secretary of the building he stayed in, just like my dad was ours. They both exchanged notes and nodded in wise empathy each other for quite a while. As part of their high level discussions, one incident mentioned by the paan-eater particularly stuck in my memory –

He talked about this chap in his building who used to keep his car in the building’s compound. This was against the rules (since he didn’t have official permission to park), but the building folks allowed him to do so out of the kindness of their hearts, and because it wasn’t really that big a bother. The fellow was quite grateful for this, and behaved quite well with people in the building. All was well.

Then some bright folks realized that they should, in fact, start charging him for the benefits this arrangement gave him. The secretary protested but the people overruled him, as is often observed in any sensible democracy. This was going to be the cashflow which would help the building get the pink rose garden everyone always wanted.

The tenant’s demeanor changed overnight. He started acting arrogantly, lost even a shadow of deference and in general made a nuisance of himself. Now that he was paying for the parking, he felt no obligation whatsoever to be nice.

2. The book Freakonomics talks about this elementary school which decided to penalize parents who did not pick up their kids on time once classes ended. This was quite serious, as it required teachers to stay on later than usual and was becoming a bit of a headache. One can imagine their surprise when they observed that the penalty was proving to be an incentive for parents to come later than late, because they could be guilt-free as long as they paid the ‘late fees’.

Sometimes, it is in everybody’s best interest to let a favour remain exactly that – a favour. Yo.


Written by sujaybedekar

March 4, 2010 at 6:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Thats a Good one mate!!!


    September 5, 2010 at 2:07 pm

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