Banking Nostalgia

Long ago once I was taking down some stuff from the loft in my house, I found a huge bunch of bank pass-books, exhausted cheque-books and deposting slips. I called my chartered accountant and informed him that I wanted to junk this bunch. They approved it instantly. I started tearing them and dumping them in a plastic bag, to be trashed later. But slowly as the period started receding back, I realized I had opened a tunnel of memories with real documentary evidences right in front of me. Real books, real dates, real deposits, withdrawals…
I could not believe my eyes when I discovered the oldest pass-book was of 1969! From Central bank of India, Tilak road branch, Poona; SB A/C # 5671. The account was opened on 19 July, 1969. It was my first independent bank account, during the period, when I was a first year student in the Film Institute, Poona. I was very unsure then, very cautious, even scared. I used to receive mostly monthly ‘money orders’ from daddy, so the dealings were strictly cash. The pass-book displayed princely depositing sums like Rs 855, 144, 300 and the withdrawals were of the order of Rs. 50, 60, 30 and sometimes even 20. The financial transactions were of the similar scale for the entire 3 years period in Poona. Respectable figures appeared only when Institute’s fees was to be paid.
Among the earliest of Bombay chapter, I found a pass-book of SBI, Girgaon branch, A/c # 1044, opened on May 22, 1972. I had deposited Rs. 300 on this day to open the account. When I came to this city on May 3, 1972, I had just a few rupees brought back from Poona. I realized that my finances will not be able to buy me even a week’s meal. I wrote to daddy to send some money. I knew it would take not less than 10 days for the letter to reach and money order to follow. As soon as I dropped the inland letter in the ‘letter box’, I promised myself that this would be the last time I asked for money from home. I also knew that I will have to manage coming 10 days within those 300 rupees. Daddy sent me 500 and it was the last time he did so. So, to spot this mile stone entry was very important for me, as it denoted the end of a very important phase.
Further going through the same pass-book, I came across a cheque deposit of 2000/- on 20 Oct, 1974. Instantly I realized that this was my first cheque from Navketan against the film ‘Ishq Ishq Ishq’ – another mile stone for me. It was the biggest amount I had received from anyone in Bombay, till then. At that time my heart was beating hard and I wondered, what will I do with so much money. Funnily, I also developed a phobia for income tax, because that year I paid my first income tax of 250/-.
Coming back to that Navketan cheque, I remember, when I went to deposit it, the clerk noticed the signature and he announced loudly that he was holding a cheque signed by Dev Anand himself! With a chorus of staff, ‘let me see, let me see’, the cheque left his hand and went to each and everyone in the bank. They all looked at me too with a lot of interest. Some of them asked me if I was acting in the film. But they were able to maintain a fair amount of interest in me, even after knowing what I did for living; which was NOT acting. They made me a minor ‘VIP’, as staring at Dev Saab’s signature on the cheques became a pattern. After that, whenever I would make any deposit or withdrawals, I did so sitting in a chair in front of Mr. Rathod (now no more), an officer there, who soon became a close friend.

2 responses to “Banking Nostalgia”

  1. Rajprakash Ratnam Avatar
    Rajprakash Ratnam

    Sadly, there were no mobile phones those days, What a pity (?) Otherwise, we could have had the snap of the cheque with Dev Saab’s signature for posterity.


  2. You are right. But his signature was rather simple. I could easily replicate it. 🤫


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