Dem (own) itization


The age old version of a savings account – a piggy bank, almost extinct now, was one of my little secrets. For years together I had resisted the urge to break it open, until recently when I was forced to. Wonder why? No rocket science this. Demonetization. I had always imagined that my piggy bank one day will be worth a fortune. Wishful thinking I must say.

Quarter paise and one tenth even, a few hundreds and fewer fivers. Not to mention a ‘railway track coin’. Cliched enough? The savings were not significant. Those vintage coins, the recently retired notes and some valid currency, nothing to make me richer. But then a thought ran through my mind, a thought that changed my whole perspective about life and assets and a lot more that lies between the two.

What is more valuable? A vintage copper coin that grandma handed over while reciting stories of her time, or a bunch of hundred rupee notes which can buy me a new bicycle?

Let me make this simple. What is more valuable? A vintage 1973 Royal Enfield or a non-geared scooter I use daily for my office commute?

Simpler? The bike or the ride experience? The car or the destination it leads me to?

What do I flaunt about? My new camera or the beach sunset that I captured through it? The car interiors or that half a day my family travels together?

Anything that depreciates in value is not an asset. Anything that is an asset never depreciates.

The old coin is a memory, the piggy bank a mere carrier of the memory.

The old ‘bullet’ is a prized possession, the scooter, a mere necessity.

Memories never fade, whatever does – rent.

Prized Possessions never lose sheen, whatever does – rent.

‘The Demon of Owning’, struck the day of demonetization. I looked around and realized, whatever I own, owns me. I want to experiment but I am afraid at the very thought of the returns the second hand goods will fetch me, let alone ‘buying’ the new ones. All that is around me is losing value, all that I buy becomes a burden with passing time. All that I cherish is priceless. All that I care for are memories.  All that I truly hold dear are experiences.

The ‘enlightened’ me is asset-light – the weight of the non-valuables is no more. All that I look forward to, are memories, experiences and the intangible joys.

Own the 1973 Royal Enfield. Rent the 100cc gearless scooter.

Own the invaluables. Rent the rest.

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