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11 08 2015

On a casual Sunday drive, bumped into my schoolmate after 25 years. I guess its always destined to happen when friends depart to find ones own way only to meet again in a most mysterious and yet magical way. Catching up on 25 years of memories wasn’t too easy, that too at the behest of our folks waiting at home. This was one moment in life, I wasn’t going to miss in the world. After all 25 years isn’t a small time being away from my memories, isn’t it?
Conversations flowed in our typical slang, catching up with the news of our friends who’s who list, our conversations went in all the possible tangents. Until we spoke about ourselves. While Deepika is working at a senior position in an Advertisement agency, having handled several prestigious and award winning campaigns for various brands, was to me a bit intimidating till she asked with poise about my profession. Not sounding too much like a sales and marketing guy, simply sounded her of being a financial planner. Suddenly the conversation went into the various campaigns she had headed for few insurance and finance companies and retorted, “I am happy I have taken care of my family, my absence will never be felt, atleast in the financial terms” she said with raised sly eyebrows.
As a planner and acting like an investigating officer, wanted to know more to check on the correctness of the things she had sought solutions from. After all helping a friend isn’t sales any which ways, I told myself.
5 minutes is what I need from you, I told Deepika, watching the next round of filter coffee being plonked on our marble table top. 1 minute for each insurance and she said endowment, money back, child plan, that’s it! But it’s good enough, she said with a grin.
No term life plan? No health insurance? Personal Accident? Vehicle? Home? Bang bang bang, I shot her with bullets which whizzed past her, bringing a sense of dead errie silence between us.
I have my vehicle Insured, Deepika jumped with joy. Thats mandatory I told her, for the sake of not paying hefty fines. That’s 1/5, what next? Covered under group Health insurance? Voila yup so that’s 2/5, which precisely was my point of contention, she had to protect herself and her family from medical cost escalations, isn’t it also a form of wealth preservation plan, I asked? Only Rs 5 lacs for a Director, accounts, this wasn’t acceptable and to top it all, an insurance which would cease to insure her post her leaving the company? Isn’t that unfair for a loyal employee? She kept mum, probably questioning her sensibilities. Isn’t that the norm being followed by most corporates under the pretext of austerity drives and cost cutting, alas, one has to fend for self, I quipped.
And what about your personal accident? I am a very safe driver, she said. Personal Accident policies aren’t for driving safe, wasn’t it meant for protecting our income in case of accidents, I could slip and dislodge my hip on our way out of this place! What if I were bitten by the stray barking everyday near my apartment or by a snake during my green monsoon treks? Did she never know that she could have her salaries paid through PA insurance in case of her long abstainance from work due to accidents?
The scoreline still remained at 1/5.
I was pretty sure she had her home secured, obviously I was positive since we are exposed to so many short circuit fires, burglaries and thefts being on the rise. It sounds so predictive like a soap serial to find these news as headlines. The LED displays and the various swarovski crystals that adorn our places, this one was surely heading towards 2/5, unfortunately it wasn’t to be. I was desperately wanting to get the score up, after all it isn’t a feel good factor to see your friend score so measly.
Sounding confident I knew she would be insured through a term plan, I know for sure staying in one’s own apartment at plush Prabhadevi wouldn’t have come without its share of EMI and loans. I was determined to push up the score. Knowing she would have insured her liabilities (loans) through a term plan. I fell flat on my face when she said the life agent advised her “term plans were kharche waala policies” and hence not recommended.
It’s not easy when one sees your friend score so badly. Here I was bumping into a friend after 25 years and finding out things aren’t as good as it should be, “K.O.ed” yet with a determined face, booked myself a date. A planned date with Deepika, a date to change scoreline 5/5 and an opportunity to change her destiny.
The phone rings sounded louder with each call, reminding us of our family commitments. We had to depart, to meet again. This time it was with loads of memories and a one point agenda, agenda to meet again and do a HIGH FIVE!
See you soon Deepika.


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