• 06 Oct - 12 Oct, 2018
  • Ayesha Adil
  • Fiction

The falling bank account syndrome. That’s what I call it. The bank account figures keep falling. They fall faster than they rise.

Fawad has a sure-shot plan to prevent that from happening. Save your money. Don’t spend it. Keep saving it to buy something substantial and then maybe discard that thought and see the bank figures increasing, reaching colossal heights or maybe going for it and buying that house, a new car or a fancy holiday and see it shrink like the shore in the evening’s high tide. Sigh…

So that’s Fawad and his money matters to him. Of course, the necessary household expenses, as well as all the utilities are taken care of by him keeping me and my money free to explore the world, so to speak.

So I worked only for myself, not sharing the earning with anyone.

Hmm… let’s just pause a little and rewind. In fact, let’s look at the bigger picture.

When a woman goes out to work she wears several hats. She becomes a contributor in the earnings that are brought back home to help expenses. She is still a wife, a mother, a daughter, and also a daughter-in-law. Thus, she has to take on the triple-burden, a tagline coined by sociologists, to show the immense amount of physical and emotional weight that a woman has to carry. Basically, she becomes superwoman, minus the costume.

The simple fact is, while she seeks out new challenges and conquers new terrains out there, people around her, especially the family will make accommodations to assist her to the optimum. A mother or mother-in-law, at home would take care of her house, cook her meals and if she has kids, they would even nurture them, all while this wonder woman is earning her keep. The captains at the wheel at home are no less worthy of the title too.

All things stated come at a cost and this is not attained for free. The price she pays is by helping in the household expenses. Her husband will expect her to make a sufficient contribution to all the economic needs that he personally has or those of his family or even the house at large.

This exchange will take place subtly, because God forbid if the woman is paying for it, the sensitive male-ego will take a blow, so keep it hush hush, don’t let the world know.

Fast forward to our household. Fawad didn’t keep tabs on me. He didn’t behave in a manner that made me feel uncomfortable when sharing my financial status – earnings and expenses. I didn’t have to hide my ATM card or the cheque book or the bank statement from him. And technically because we didn’t have kids, I probably didn’t feel the need to spend my money on the household expenses. Now that didn’t mean that I never did; it just meant that I didn’t have to.

I had a bad case of falling bank account syndrome and I didn’t know what to do.

So I decided to take Fawad’s advice on saving money.

“Fawad, you’re an accountant right?” I began, for it needed to be built up gradually.

“Ummm... Saima, considering we’ve been married forever, I think you do know that I am one indeed.” He answered in a rather dull and sarcastic manner. Be sure to have a taste of my husband’s sardonic humour on any given day or time, without fail.

“It wasn’t actually a question, you know. I mean since you’re an accountant I was thinking if you could help me.” I restarted with caution.

You see, when I would finally put down my bank statement before my husband, all hell will break loose. And even though I desperately needed his advice and help, I wasn’t ready for World War III, not just yet.

One glance at the credit and debit would probably make him blow a fuse.

I wasn’t ready to lose him just yet. I needed his help to balance these sheets for me!

But how, Saima? How? I wondered.

I mean, my credit card had entries like Temperate Gold Mask and a 12 glue gun stick pack! I didn’t even know why I bought them.

I began to dread my decision to take Fawad’s help. I didn’t need a professional. I mean, I know Fawad must have helped many people and organisations and businesses to manage their financial affairs but I wasn’t anybody, I could do this myself. I just needed to stop buying things. That’s it. What would Fawad do? He would basically tell me item by item that I had made bad financial decisions and now I needed to save so much and construct a timeline for me to follow and a credit scheme and basically he would tighten the metaphoric noose around my neck till I choked. I mean you all know the feeling, right? Having money and being unable to spend it? It’s like swimming deep sea without the oxygen tank. Now I don’t really know how that feels but I can imagine that it’s really bad.

The feeling is even worse than not having money to buy all those things and walking out the store feeling poor.

I could hear my mind scream. I’m not poor. I’m trying to manage my finances. I’ll come back for you later, my little one as I leave that book or that piece of jewellery or that Temperate Gold Scrub!

I had tears in my eyes. Oh my God! Fawad what have you done to me? You’ve killed me inside. I gave him such an accusing look right about then that he took an ever so slightly sharp intake of breath. I could feel him moving away from me too, ever so slightly.

“You asked for my help Saima? What is it?”

Was I detecting a tone of fear or was my husband actually afraid of me?

This man who probably told the hugest, most influential and richest conglomerates of the world how to manage their books and take their financial decisions was scared of the little ol’ me?

I felt empowered already. And slightly snobbish too. I mean, I only made the meekest amount of money compared to those people and I didn’t even know how to spend it right. But in this house I was the boss, the queen, the person running the show and calling the shots. In this house, I was the richest woman alive!

Triple-burden indeed. This triply thing wasn’t so bad.

Fawad was clearing his throat trying to get my attention. I stood up.

“It’s okay, Fawad. I’ve figured it out. I don’t think I need your help after all. But thanks anyway.”

With that, I left the room. Leave the crime scene as it is for the forensic experts to do their job.

Now I don’t want to sound like a radical feminist, my husband is still the leader, the bread-winner and the man of the house. And I respect him a lot. But I’m the Queen. I run the show and don’t let anyone forget that!