Friday, December 22, 2006

Conversion Syndromes

It's something I've been thinkin about lately. More related with the way I think personally, but its also something that anyone goes through, sometime in his life, sooner or later. Am I sounding too serious, or philosophical now? Apologies mates, cos what I'm speaking about is basically just the conversion of the root of all evil, Money.

It's something I went through on my last visit here, and its continuation after I returned to India. And now I have it again. The positivity and the negativity of it all. The battle between Gandhi and George, the cent and the paisa. Ok, in simple words, I can't help but convert the dollar into rupees, and vice-versa whenever I shell out some cash now. Maybe its my inherent love for mathematics and numbers, or some friends who feel I haven't treated them enough point out, its my hesitancy to part with the green paper. Yeah you can argue I'm biased, but I feel its more of the former than the latter. Whatever the reason, I find myself doing it in various situations, while paying at the Burger King counter, buying a snickers at the snack bar, bidding on eBay, or just walking down the Safeway aisle looking at the prices of cereal, milk and the like.

Now the syndrome has two parts to it, based on my geographical location. How? Why? WTF? Patience, I'll explain. Now when I'm here in Uncle Sam's land, my conversion syndrome makes me uneasy inside. Helplessly, I convert the dollars into rupees, and the way the numbers add up, you can't help feeling a lil flat when you realise the astronomical (exaggerated) amount of money you spend (in rupees) for a movie-ticket, or a lunch. I know it's stupid and dumb to do so, but I can't help it! Not that it stops me from going ahead with my buy, or going on a diet (which is even more stupid in my case), but it still gets to me. For example, I go and buy a DVD or a book, then start converting and realise how much I could have saved had I got it from Landmark. Or I may have just eaten a regular cheeseburger from Jerry's and then figured that I could have eaten at KFC for a whole week in Bangalore for the same amount.

And now the flipside. When I return to India (Oh, by the way, I am coming back in a week), the exact opposite happens. When I'm out with friends to have a good time, or otherwise, I tend to automatically convert the rupees into dollars. Now, this is bad. It's even worse that just having a queasy feeling within, cos it makes you careless and an addicted spendthrift, if there ever was one. You have that false feeling of happiness, like, "Ahhhh..what the hell, this is just a few dollars, won't hurt much", and it's hard to stop the cash flowing. All this after convienently forgetting that you ain't earning dollars anymore and you still have a pathetic Indian salary. For example, the month I was in India before I had to come here again, I got fixed so bad that I ended up calling up the local PH and Dominos home-delivery numbers every night for two whole weeks before I realised my folly. Well, my stomach realised it first..but..err..nevermind. I've gone through the syndrome's whole cycle one time, and right now I'm going through the first half of the second round. Anywayz, as the saying doesn't go, six pence none the wiser, I might be able to fare better this time round. Let's wait and see!

Personal Updates: Have got four days of hols now, and I'm headed off to Philly tomorrow to be with my cousins for X'mas. The last few days have been busy too, just finished episode-17 of LOST Season-2! :P Yeah, once da man's hooked, he's hooked.

So, here's to a Merry Christmas , or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa or whatever it is you may wish to celebrate this holiday season. Cheers!


Mintu said...

you come back here, and gimme a treat .. and dont forget to convert everythin to dollars ;)

Aslan said...

converting INR to USD is plain madness but i can offer a solution to the USD to INR conversion syndrome. this is what i do. i don't multiply by 50, instead i use the KFCC by PPP (Kutty Factor of Currency Conversion by Purchasing Power Parity), which is calc'ed like this.

Your salary in India: (eg. 33000)
Your rent in India: (eg. 3000)
Your per diem income: Rs.1000

Your salary in US per diem: $120
Your rent in US per diem: $35
Your per diem income: $85

So, for you, $85 is Rs.1000.
But for convenience, you should arrive at a KFC that facilitates immediate calculation, (you can alter your Indian salary a little to get this), unless you are Staney boy and multiply by 1000/85 instantly!

For eg: I will now change my salary to Rs.28500 and so now I get an Indian per diem Salary of Rs.850. Hence, I multiply dollars by 10, not 50 anymore, 'cuz that is your real purchasing power.

Hope this helps!!

Aslan said...

You answered this yourself actually, by stating that you are earning in paltry INR when you're back in India. So do your calculations based on how much USD you are earning!

10 is a good factor and should loosen your pursestrings considerably, but please do not apply this factor to electronic goods otherwise you will end up buying the place. Oh! This laptop is only INR 5000 acc'ing to KFC, so let me buy ten of them! :p

Better still is to keep a limit on how much you will spend daily 'cuz you're not earning that US salary forever, y'know.

Vivek said...

aslan summed it up brilliantly! i always use a factor of 10 too - really helps.. especially when i'm not earning :(

stan_da_man said...

@mintu: comin back on JAN 1st!! :)
...AND me will try my best not to convert too!

@aslan: OMG...awesome KFCC by PPP! hehee, but ur figures are SOOOOOO different from mine! mine are much smaller n sadder numbers man! anywayz...the best thing is NOT to convert!

@vivek: hehe yeah buddy, heard u back in Blore!? awesome!

the_jobless_trainee said...

did you say that you convert rupees to dollars and say "What the hell...its just a few dollars"!!! well...that's good news for me...

btw, did i tell you about my new currency converter (which only converts rupees to dollars)???

stan_da_man said...

@the_jobless_trainee: No u didnt!! :) anywayz dude, u won't need to be doin all d convertin after u start d won't matter with ur package!! :)

US said...

1. Money is not the root of all evil. If you still think so, then what is the root of money? (Reference: Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand)

2. Divide expenditure into *Necessary* and *Can be Delayed*. Anything which can be delayed can be bought in India and 1/3rd to 1/100th the cost. Anything which is necessary, it doesn't matter how costly it is, you just cannot survive without it. A modified version of this is JIT - Just in Time.


stan_da_man said...

@us: The root of money???? evil again! yea, I've learned to control the extra urge of gettin stuff cos d numbers r lesser here...but still feeelin very happy cos of the $12 fifa07 buy! :)

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Pranjal said...

I am trying to understand what is a good salary in India. Can you give me ballpark, I just had an interview about a job that will have me spend 40% of my time in the US and 60% of my time in India. They would like me to live in India and get indian salary.I am at

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