When we first met Anita G, we didn’t know about her portfolio of skills.
Anita G is one friend we’ve made through the sharing network. In other words, parents of kids in the same class, in the same school and the same stage of parental evolution : a teenager in the final year at school. Guess this needs a lot more than one shoulder to cry on.
Coming back to Anita G’s portfolio of skills. One of which is the ability to talk
nineteen-to-the-dozen on the phone, for hours on end. “My husband thinks I’m Ms Un-put-downable,” says Anita G, with a look that could imply more than one thing.
But if we picked up the example of the phone, she is “unputdownable”. (If you’ve noticed, I’ve removed all the hyphens.)
“I always thought a ring on the finger was worth two on the phone, till I married Anita,” says John, her doting husband. “Put her in the middle of the Sahara but give her a phone, she’ll stir up a sandstorm.”
“Mom’s a phonoholic,” says Lisa, her daughter. “The kind who will reach out for the bedside phone when the alarm clock goes off…”
I must say I’ve had a good dose of her marathon sessions. Little does she know that I just pretend to be part of the conversation, while I’m doing my own thing. I could be cleaning the bird cage, feeding the fish or giving the cat a colonic. Just as long as I make the right noises.
“Wow, that’s great !”
“Only you can do that”
I toe the line, because I’ve got to be nice to her. She’s a real wiz when it comes to tax planning and investments. And very helpful when it comes to good advice. Last year she gave me some good advice on a floating-point deposit. Know what that is ?
“It’s a deposit that banks offer, but don’t promote,” she had said. “Gives you 12 % interest, with multi-layered returns that are compounded every month.”
To me it sounded like the bank would lose more money than it made. But I was told by Mrs G that it was “gateway strategy”; a ploy to get you in as a customer in the hope that you would then bring in a larger share of your investment pie. And maybe introduce your rich aunts and uncles as NRI customers.
She also told me about a growth plan that doubles your money every three years. “Put in a lakh, now and in nine years you’ll have eight. Put that back into the system and you can start making retirement plans.”
Looking at the bottom line this was good advice – and worth every step I took, laughing all the way to my bank. But there was one small problem : Mrs G also wanted to tell me how to spend the money.
Well, I was actually planning to buy a time-share package by the beach in Goa. What I had in mind was a bamboo-stilt beach house, a well-stocked wine cellar and… some bar tenderness.
In my mind, I could see a trail of thongs gently wafting by.
She’d read my mind, even before I could get to the bar counter. “I’m surprised your wife is not part of this picture,” she said, in a tone that could melt the rocks in my glass.
“Frankly, I’m shocked…”
Two days later, my wife called me from office. “Honey, I’ve got a surprise for you. It’s actually a secret I’d kept for quite sometime. You know Anita G helped me make some very good investments, and I think I’ve hit the jackpot on one. Thought we’d explore the beaches of Goa… “together”, as the travel brochure says. Even Anita G, thinks it’s a great idea…”
Five minutes later, the phone rang again. I sort of knew who was on the line. Guess it was time to feed the fish, clean out the bird cage and give the cat a colonic.