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7 rules of CHANGE.

This is about pocket change. But it is also about change. Looking at change through lessons on pocket change. Hence named – 7 rules of pocket change.

Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on

Me – How much?

Fruit seller (FS) – 25

Me – 20

FS – 25

We locked eyes. like stubborn lovers, neither budged.

Me – last 22.

FS (sighs)- 23 & it’s yours.

I won. I extracted my wallet to give him 22 bucks which I knew he would accept despite his protests. I searched in my wallet – came up with a 50. SHIT. 

I hand over the money. He looked at it, said –

FS – change nahi hai.

Now he had the upper hand. He took my 50 & handed back 27. He won. And that is the first rule –

Rule no 1: CHANGE always – or someone else will have the upper hand.

ready for change.

Buying small stuff for home early morning is always a pain. Just as I would be getting out of the house the requests would fly –

Get milk

Apples for dad

Get curds!

Early morning, vendors like brisk business, no room for negotiations. So, I would round off the amount to the nearest ten digit. Example –

Me – How much for the eggs?

Eggs guy – 67 for 6

Me –(in best no-nonsense voice) 12 for 120. I don’t have change.

Take it or leave it. I would put my carry bag forward. Nine times out of 10 he would give in.

Rule No 2:  Say NO CHANGE to make others see your way.

Photo by Denniz Futalan on

She – Use G-pay.

She – my regular veggie vendor was at least 70 years old. I was shopping for tomatoes. It came to 18 rupees for half a kg. Of course at 7.30 am she didn’t have change. But what surprised me more would be evident when i said –

Me – You have G-pay?

She showed me her QR code, hidden behind the pumpkins. Phrases like data protection, privacy violation, support local- pay cash flew around in my head. Reality – she had google pay. I did not.

ME – All these app companies are not good.

She – It’s great! They solve this CHANGE problem once & for all.

I bent lower to get closer, intimidatingly so & lowered my voice;

ME – Today they have your change. Tomorrow they sell your veggies.

I heard the gears turn in her brain- stop -CLICK. Her eyes shine.

ME – Will come back later, saying that I begin to leave.

Wait, she stopped me. Retrieved a small purse from within her blouse. Threw me a dirty look & gave me change. PHEW!

NO 3: Beware of applications that can change you.

As a child, mom would often send me out to run errands at the local grocery store owned by a Marwari guy. She would give me a 100 with strict instructions to get the exact change back.

But if bought goods worth 48 and gave him a 50 rupee, I would expect 2 rupees back. The thrifty shopkeeper instead of handing me change we would give me candy worth 2 bucks. Now which kid in his right mind would refuse candy?

I’d go back home & show mom the candy. She isn’t so thrilled, but what can she do? Later after lunch she would give me the candy. Shopkeeper happy, me happy. Which brings us to –

No 4 – When people expect CHANGE it’s an opportunity.

Photo by Sharath G. on

Auto-rickshaw guy – Don’t have change for his.

ME – Your fare is 300. I am giving you 500. That’s more than half your bill.

I stood my ground. He sighs, mutters stuff – finally reaches for his wallet & extracts change. So again –

No 5 – You get CHANGE only if you bring value to the table. ‘

As a kid I was never given pocket money. I would end up stealing change. I had turned pinching change from my mom’s till or Dad wallet into an art form. I would leave the big notes only pocket the change. This went on for some time. In a while I had enough change & got greedy. Now I wanted it converted to a 10 rupee note.

I asked another known crime master – my elder brother. Without exchanging a word, he knew this was a secret deal, no parents involved. On the house terrace, I handed over 10 rupees worth of change. He handed over cash – one 5 rupee, & two 2-rupee notes – added up to 9.

Me – Where’s one rupee?

Bro – Commission.

5 Slaps 3 blows 1 continuous wail & 1 irate dad later – change gone; money gone in exchange for a sound thrashing plus being branded a thief. Hard lesson but has to be said

No6 – CHANGE has to come the right way

I was at a sandwich guy near the bank. A little girl with her mother were about to enter it when the mother stopped & turned to the daughter. As mother & daughter were wearing masks, I could only see the eyes & hear the angry voice of the mother. I only caught the end portion which sounded like –

Mother – Grhgo!!! ## Go! @#$#& !!! WHY you brought it !!@@##% GET IT %@&#!!!

Mother entered bank leaving the little girl outside. Then in noticed the transparent plastic bag in her hand. She looked around before heading towards the same sandwich guy where I was standing. The man was busy on the phone. I saw the contents of the bag – Change – loads of it. All 5- & 10-rupee coins. \

In all probability her mother had asked her to change the coins outside the bank. She twiddles her feet – looks at me, I pretend to not notice. She peered at the sandwich fellow still busy on the phone. She felt conscious – clutched her coin, & ran back into the bank. At that minute the sandwich fellow (SF)turns –

Me – That small girl was waiting for you.

Sandwich fellow (SF) see the girl disappear into the bank.

Sf – What? Did she need a sandwich?

Me – She had change in her hands, wanted it exchanged.

SF smiled, shrugged.

Me – How much?

SF – 90.

I extract my wallet. I have 1 hundred & then all five hundred. I know if I give him 500, he will give me change. I’m good for that. I hand it over

SF – Don’t have change?

All I had to say was a simple NO. Instead, I said –

Me – I have. But if I give you, I don’t have any left. Don’t you have any change.

SF (lies easy)- Sorry sir, what to do? No change.

And that was that. that’s when it hit me –

No 7: Sometimes it’s better to wait for change.

Blog Post – Soni Anthony.

Photo credit –, CanvaPro, Soni Anthony.


Published by appamprawns

soni writes about children and people in controlled spaces, in his quest for appam stew. homi writes in the hope of being able to buy prawns to make patiyo.

One thought on “7 rules of CHANGE.

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