Chennai Journal
Monday, May 09, 2005
Furniture at last!
The sea shipment arrived! It feels very good to have our furniture, including the beds, books, and other comforts of home. Junior has settled back into Dad’s favorite chair without missing a beat. Early Wednesday morning, I’ll leave for the States and on the 17th, Marty, Dad, and J.D. and I will fly back here, and then the relocation part of our experience will be complete. Leela will look after the house and feed Junior while I’m gone

It is said that servants and requests for loans are synonymous, and I had my first request this week, from our driver--for his son’s tuition. Fortunately I was prepared for the request and while I agreed to help him (many Indians will advise you to refuse such requests entirely), I told him that I would lend him the equivalent of one month’s salary but not more than this. I drew up a little agreement, stipulating the repayment terms (500 rupees from his base salary each month, with no further loans until this one is paid off) and had him sign it to make the whole thing official. The amount? 4500 rupees, or a little more than $100, which was roughly the cost of his son’s tuition. Although it may seem like not much to us, this is a large amount of money by working class Indian standards. The main reason for these requests seems to be simple lack of money management skills---it’s difficult the world over to put money aside for purchases in advance!
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