1999 – 2000


Back then, I was a graduate student, new to the U.S. trying to stand up on my own feet. I did not have a scholarship yet. The situation was tight, and I was not willing to ask my dad to fund me for tuition expenses, though he would gladly do so. I was educated enough to find a prudent assignment.

After learning how the credit system works, I started to apply for credit cards. And within days I started to receive letters from the credit card companies. I would try and bend the envelops first, to see if there was a credit card inside. Nope. I learned quickly that a lighter envelops meant rejection. All the envelops I received were light. Very light. I would return from school each day, check my mailbox, read the same words of dismissal, and throw them in the bin.

Then one day, I received an envelop that didn’t bend. Excitedly, I opened it, and voila! There was a real credit card inside! I couldn’t control my excitement. I had a w-i-d-e smile on my face. I could finally rent a car now! (Yeah, a credit card was required to rent a car, even in those days). I now had my very first credit card. It felt great!

The excitement did not last very long, though. When I tried to activate the credit card, I was told that it was issued by mistake (Yup, boo-boo). I was dejected at first, but I couldn’t help but laugh about the whole situation. My roommates and I giggled about it into the night, and over the next few weeks. The card was just a piece of plastic, which I eventually threw away.

To build some credit, I secured a part time job at school. I was now the IT guy who was working as a ball boy during the inter college volleyball tournaments. That was my job. So much for a prudent assignment.

Once I was allowed to work off campus, I started working in New York City in my desired field. About two months later, when I picked up my mail, I finally found what I had been waiting for. It was a fat envelop which carried my new credit card. It was an AT&T Platinum MasterCard.

The timing couldn’t have been better. I used this brand new credit card to make the purchases for my family before leaving to India for a vacation. I maxed out my credit card before heading out.

My hard case suitcases bulged with goodies. Crystal glass vases and goblets, wristwatches, perfumes, chocolates, wine, silk ties, winter jackets, cosmetics, toys, pens, gadgets, and there were many more presents that I had stuffed in the small spaces in my bags.

I can never forget the expressions that I saw the day when I gifted presents to my family. These were invaluable expressions of joy and delight that cannot be put into words.

These happened to be the last presents that I gifted to my family.

I am glad I maxed out on my credit card.I am glad I lived in the present.

In the Picture : Mask doll that I bought for Shalin, my 2½ years old nephew.

More about what happened : Here