Friday, September 23, 2011

Two bucks

"Ma'am, please give me 2 dollars. I wanna buy beer". I remember this call from a tramp sitting near an intersection on Hollywood Boulevard. I visited Los Angeles in 2005. The image of this tramp is still vivid in my mind - unruly hair, torn canvas shoes, a tote bag. He was intimidating; I just walked by while he continued to call out for 2 bucks to buy his beer.

In Bangalore. "Didi, 2 rupyah dedo didi, subah se kuch nahi khaye" - An incessant plead; almost about to cry expression; lurking forward to hold your feet; you find them everywhere on the road; kids as young as 5 years. They might not even know how much that 2 Rs is worth. They are made to beg in most cases by their handlers.

Cut to San Jose, Costa Rica - lotteries being sold on the streets. People throng the shops to buy lotteries - 2 Colonies each ticket. They want to try their luck; get rich. 

Back in Bangalore...

"1 dozen fishes"
"How much do they cost?"
"24 Rs"
"2 Rupees each?"

12 fishes is what the cat fish we have at home eats every alternate day. Those beautiful creatures are alive. They are breathing - as we are. They can see, sense, touch, eat, breathe, we do. Their value is 2 Rs each; we buy 12 of them every other day to feed to the bigger one; we watch as the cat fish eats these 12 one by one.

2 bucks was all that was needed :-)


  1. 2 bucks .. but lot of difference between 2Rs - 2 dollars or 2 pounds ..

    You have a hungry fish eating so much .. maybe try something veg and turn it into a vegetarian :) wat say .. save the fish ..


  2. If you were regular on twitter, you would have for sure mentioned this phrase - #2Rs people. Kamaal R Khan, or KRK calls people by this name. It's a very famous joke of twitter.

    2 rs can change a lot and nothing. beer? sure. khana? erm.. :D

  3. B, don't you think that comparisons are often misleading with incompatibles?

    And economics also tell us that the question you seek may not get an answer.

    If you are seeking the philosophical equation in the two matters , the cat-fish eating fish and man devouring more ,yes might be an interesting subject to analyse.

    The fact is , I feel, literally it may be erroneous to compare , it does make a lot of sense to analyse between what man do and a beast does in identical situations.

    The matters of priority- beer or a sandwich!

  4. a cat fish eats a fish!!!! taht too 12 that's new...
    2 Rs or 2$ ... need is all the same

  5. I really hope that no one from the Planning Commission reads this post. Lest the once again change the definition of poor in India.
    And yes, don't we see the big fish eat the small one in daily life, even amongst humans?

  6. Bik,

    Yes, its not about the value of $2 or INR2

    I am just highlighting needs of people.

    Yes, I have to do something about the fish :)


    Yeah, different people, different needs :) Twitter and me? thanks, but no thanks :)


    Does my write up seem like comparison? Maybe my attempt to connect the dots of people's needs failed.

    I am not taking a dig at the man or a creature(fish in this case). It was just my observation of different needs of living beings and how 2 bucks is common between all these.


    those 12 are very tiny ones :) Yes, needs all are the same :)

    Chowla sir,

    Haha, true.


    :-) Different needs, all genuine.

  7. B,

    Now do not feel otherwise.I was not trying to say that you were taking a dig at human beings.
    I felt that comparison of wants of man and beast are incompatible.
    And that though it seems to be a minor topic that you brought out will have a lot to discuss about.

    Just see the plan that even different people have for two bucks.

  8. Anil,

    :-) No no!! I was seriously wondering if I managed to put my thoughts well as I was mentally tired last night when I wrote this post. The least I want is people mistaking my intent and firing back. You remember I have mentioned about how I tend to rub against wrong side unintentionally and I am wary of brickbats :)

    True, wants of man and non-man are incomparable. But in these anecdotes; do we see a want here? It so seems these are all needs - the tramp didnt want anything else but a beer. Now a beer is a basic need as water for an American; isnt it?

    Lets take the beggar kid - he needed 2 bucks for food; and the cat fish needs its food.

    The lottery - need? That i doubt; its just trying their luck.

  9. B,
    When one expresses ones opinion, there should not be any fear of brick-bats. In any case there will be different opinions. What needs to be borne in mind is that we may be wrong and if we do not think so can we substantiate ourselves? If we fail, well accept that we got it not correct.

    In this case , though I did not mention "needs" in my reply the "want" was quite prominent in your post that it told the story of Mans' misplaced priorities.

    No brick bats B, only compliments for raising a good topic.

  10. Wants and Needs. So difficult to differentiate. Even the beggar child might not need the money as much as he wants it. Begging too is a business these days. For the handlers that is.

    I am glad I don't have a cat fish at home. :)

  11. Anil,

    I dont deny even one bit of what you say. I said I am wary of brick bats out of my earlier experiences; when few crazy bugs got personal with me and used expletives. It was a nightmare; thats why I am very careful.

    Its fine if the debate is healthy. I have always maintained "agree to disagree".There is nothing like a right or a wrong opinion; each one his own. Not many think this way Anil :)

    Yeah, I would leave it to readers to analyze these anecdotes. It would be nice to see how each one takes the anecdotes.

    As with you - you mentioned misplaced priorities. That was a crisp way of putting it. I am sure these protagonists may not agree.

    For me - I sense a mix of need and want.

  12. Juxtaposition

    :-) The dilemma

    Thats what I hinted at when I mentioned "They are made to beg in most cases by their handlers"

    Haha, cat fish is an expensive affair :)

  13. Different living beings at different places ,circumstances and with different needs unknowingly bound by common factor as simple as two bucks and of course you :)

  14. Its all about the theory of relativity! :-) You have not been judgmental about it; you have just made some observations.

  15. Insignia,
    Greetings. I came across your blog by chance. Yor are giving me the travel bug. So beautiful places you are sharing. Thank you.

  16. Begging for food is understandable but for Beer...that I cannot digest...

    Money is the same everywhere..whether it is Rs. or $

  17. The value of 2 bucks is different for everyone...Every human has its own plan and his own significance of 2 bucks..For is not even worth anything...but for is piece of bread or a cup of tea.

  18. Begging for beer is preposterous and humorous. Begging for food is really sad.

  19. We need not go to other countries to compare currencies & know its value, right?

  20. Now Serving,

    Thanks. Welcome to B Log :)


    :-) I am pleasantly surprised that you left it and that and didnt try to analyze :)


    I didnt want to be judgmental :); yes just observations; I wouldnt infer anything out of them.

    Wan F,

    Greetings and welcome to B Log :)

    I am glad that you stopped by and passed on your views. Appreciate a lot.

    I get joy in sharing; so I do what is possible :)

    I am a travel freak; I find it satisfactory in sharing my experiences. Thanks again


    Hmm, yeah. Different people have different needs; and their priorities change isnt it?


    True. :-)


    Each currency has a value; we cant compare. I am not attempting at comparing the currencies here; but the needs of people through a common 2 bucks.

  21. Insignia,

    May be I read too much into posts. I did not get the impression that the post is about currency conversion.

    My take away from this post was rather sad - poor people beg for trivial amount of money that we spend in feeding fish with live fish.

    I thought you post contains a very deep meaning and currency conversion is irrelevant here.

    Correct me if I am wrong

  22. A,

    You are absolutely correct :)
    You didnt read too much into the post; you just read what I wanted to convey :)

  23. Insignia - 2 rs for feeding the catfish.. you are a saint :) we have people who shoot at toll gate keepers for enforcement official who killed a man for 50.. i would take you for a saint insignia :)

    i hope what darwin said was survival of the fittest and not the richest !!

  24. ousu,

    Haha dont make me a saint now.

    Yeah; but it is survival of the richest isnt it?

  25. Well, that's what I meant. The value of money is different for different people.


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!