Sep 20, 2015

Times Have Changed

Note: Got this photo from Social Media and the original owner of this photo or the document shown in this picture is unknown. Somebody while doing a clean-up at home or while going through the old documents of parents or grandparents must have found this.  

This document is in Marathi showing the details of expenses incurred on Wednesday, 13th October 1971, on account of Diwali and shopping was done from Itwari Market, Nagpur. 

This person seems to have taken Rs. 94 as festival advance from his office and has incurred expenses of Rs. 43.11 on 13.10.1971 and after shopping, he/she has taken Rs.50.81 back at home. In the end, he/she seems to be upset since there is a  major (yes indeed!!!) difference of 8 paise (Rs. 0.08) in the whole calculation. It's a fun to the see the prices of various goods in 1971. 

Since this document is in Marathi, I have translated the calculation part into English which is as under:

Festival Advance Received
₹ 94.00

Groundnut Oil 2 Kg.
₹ 9.00
Dalda Vanaspati Ghee 500 gms.
₹ 3.00
Whole Wheat 15 Kg.
₹ 14.50
Chana Daal 1 Kg.
₹ 1.25
Toor Daal 1 Kg.
₹ 1.95
Poha 500 gms.
₹ 0.90
Sugar 2 Kg.
₹ 4.20
Rice 2 Kg.
₹ 2.75
Hamam Soap
₹ 0.75
Agarbatti Packet
₹ 0.31
Rava 1 Kg.
₹ 1.25
Dried Shredded Coconut Flakes 125 gms.
₹ 1.00
Cloves and Cardamom
₹ 0.50
Potato 500 gms.
₹ 0.30
Misc. eatables for Kids (खाऊ)
₹ 0.25
State Transport Bus Fare
₹ 1.20
Total Expenses on 13.10.1971
₹ 43.11

Cash Balance to remain in Hand
₹ 50.89
Actual Cash Balance in Hand
₹ 50.81
₹ 0.08

After having a look at these price levels, we come to know how valuable these coins must have been at that time. 

Having said this, I don't want to comment on whether the cost of living was very cheap at that point of time, since it has to be looked in connection with the level of earnings at that time. This person has taken Festival Advance of Rs. 94 which logically must be the Salary in Advance before Diwali. So the salary of this person must be in between Rs. 100 to Rs. 125 or so. And he has spent Rs. 43 on groceries which is  almost 35% of the salary (assuming it to be Rs. 125). If we compare this to the level of earnings and prices today, I think in percentage, it must have come down drastically. People say that things like Radio, Bicycles, Fans etc. were so cheap in those days. But at the same time, it's a fact that hardly anybody was able to afford those goods.

Equally it is true that even after dramatic increase in spending power, people have forgotten the happiness in these small things. I still remember the day when we got a refrigerator at home, the day when we bought a 2-in-1 cassette player with radio (AM & SW frequency only, no FM) and the day when our BSNL (DoT in those days) landline got installed at our home. Till late 80's, I remember when somebody gave us whole Re.1 (अख्खा १ रुपया ), we used to be so happy since a lot of chocolates with assortment used to come by spending Re. 1.   

I keep on telling my 6 year old son that these guys nowadays have to buy all the happiness and they won't ever would be able to understand the fun that we used to have in those days, which used to come free of cost. 

Sleeping on the terrace at night during summer looking at the stars, waking up at midnight sometimes due to a slight drizzle, enjoying the Ice Cream from the hawkers in those special glass cups, people coming out for having a chat with neighbours in case of power failures at night, entire neighbourhood gathering at someone's place to watch a TV, watching 4 movies in a row when VCR is rented for 12 hours, using neighbour's drawing room to accommodate marriage guests, watching election coverage on Doordarshan only for the movies shown for those 2-3 days of counting, news breaks when tough cricket match is on the climax, TVs being arranged in marriage halls on Sundays so that guests should be able to watch Ramayan / Mahabharat (else the attendance used to be poor) are only some of the things which give me the nostalgic feeling. 

Nobody was ashamed to ask a cup of milk or a bowl of sugar when unexpected guests dropped in, since on some day or the other, everybody had to ask the help from each other.

All these things are impossible to be understood by the younger generation. But they are not at fault in this. 

Times have Changed!!!! People have Changed!!!
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