The bad investment . . !


MR Singh our honorary secretary is coming to visit us now, said my wife putting down the phone, ‘he said it was a business visit.’ ‘Does he have any other business than being our society’s secretary?’ I asked surprised. ‘All I’ve seen him doing is instructing the watchman how to salute him, shouting at the sweeper to clean his car or yelling at the pump-man to carry his bags up. What other work does he do?’ ‘He is a real estate agent,’ said my wife.

‘A real estate agent,’ I said as the doorbell rang and Mr. and Mrs. Singh entered with a box of sweets. ‘Good evening, good evening,’ said Mrs. Singh, smiling from ear to ear, ‘we have been wanting to visit you for a very long time, we have heard so much about you.’ ‘I did not know I was that famous,’ I said slightly puzzled. ‘I wonder who has talked about me?’ ‘No, no we do not listen to rumours,’ said Mrs. Singh sweetly, ‘it is your wife who has said so much about you.’

I turned to my wife, but she was busy pretending to admire Mrs. Singh’s sari. ‘We heard you are wanting to make an investment,’ said Mr. Singh, ‘I thought since we are neighbours and now friends, it is my duty to help you in this matter. All my friends have benefitted from my advice, why not you?’ I watched as Mr. Singh pulled out a bundle of papers and leaflets and booklets from his briefcase.

‘These are some very hot properties I am offering only to my friends,’ said Mr. Singh. ‘But…’ I said. ‘Have a look, have a look,’ said Mr. Singh, ‘see this is a new housing society coming up in Bandra, the queen of the suburbs. Very close to the station. Close to schools and close to the market. It will have super luxurious duplex bungalows.’

‘No, no,’ I said desperately, ‘you are making a mistake.’ ‘Ah then a flat, a three bedroom flat in Versova with modern amenities. Spartek flooring, granite kitchen, tiled bathrooms? It is a distress sale!’ ‘I will be a very distressed man financially,’ I said, ‘if I buy that flat.’ ‘You are on a very, very, very tight budget I think,’ said Mr. Singh not smiling at me anymore, ‘I think I have the right flat for you and yes with loan facilities.’

‘There is some misunderstanding,’ I said in a squeaky voice. ‘What I told my wife yesterday was that I would like to invest some of my time to help you run our society.’ ‘Your time?” asked Mr. and Mrs. Singh together standing up and staring down at me. “I think we have just wasted our time,’ said Mr. Singh closing the box of sweets and going to the door. ‘And,’ said Mrs. Singh going up to my wife and looking at her pityingly, ‘I think you have made a very bad investment marrying this man…!’


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