There are certain things so tricky despite their glaring obviousness that has let humankind to be forever regarding them with a curious caution. Stifling the trifling narrative of being measured in one’s approach to money and material is one of the most (un)popular such attitudes that needs to come to us with the threat prevailing otherwise in leading to embarrassing extents of ‘devaluing’ personal worth and individual identity.
No one likes to be called a miser irrespective of whether or not they actually are that in what they practise and how they deal with their finances. Diplomatic descriptions thus prevail as taking pride in oneself under the guise of being economical and efficient and sensible and smart with choices of money matters. The underlying idea though still manifests as one of frugality, that though is unceremonious enough to ward off any attempt at drawing parallels.
This innate affinity of our species to shrug off the very impression of us entertaining the thoughts and considerations of a miserly character is particularly relayed in much cleverness across the Indian existence. The documentation thus arising though is of a more dynamic nature and which might not even dawn as alluding in any way to the economicness of the human. In fact to attribute this particular colloquiality of jargon to something as disreputed as the disputed trope of miserliness might even be wholly, factually incorrect a judgement of obvious fallacical delivery, so much so that can enrage and outrage and offend an entire nation of people- and rightly so as well.
What we are referencing is the very amusing prospect rested in the ubiquitous Indian expression of paisa vasool. Translate it as roughly or as accurately as you will and the closest English expression implying the same literal idea would be what we say as bang for the buck or even the more ordinary but more weighted occurrence as value for money. Indeed the Hindi phrase is an elocution of the same sentiment, albeit bolder and bigger and dare we say better chiming as well in the very desi vibe that it evokes and emotes.
To limit paisa vasool to what is evident from its lettered description in monetary terms would be injustice in capturing its true spirit and potential. For in this very common call conjured up in a disposition of making the most out of what anything is worth, or even bettering the transcending of that essence is a certain urge, even urgency that our people have come to identify with. We seek an absolute reaping of every penny spent- which itself is a figurative speech in that it might not have anything to do with money at all, and continue to draw and derive and extract the essence out of everything in what they can possibly hold. Paisa vasool then is simultaneously a mindset and a mandate and a magnet to which we are attracted in pursuing as part of our very Indianness in nature.
To equate something as fundamental to our existence so that our national pride is interweaved and intertwined in this dimension with something as repulsive as the ignominy of the miserly is blasphemous then an ignobility that we have dared to do. But consider it in a consciousness that gets as basic as it can and there would be some strands- even if just a single one of that multidimensional composition of what could also possibly construct one narrative of the frugalness. That we have to essentially seek more than our money’s worth from something we likely haven’t even bought in the first place might strike like an irony but it is from where the expression begins to find a queer equation with the elements of what we stick to according the acceptableness of being an economical identity.
Misering might be a definition afforded through the skimping of money but the psychology would not be wholly different than what one aspires to avail through their unending fascination with the promise fulfilled by paisa vasool. That there asserts as well a fair case for money prudence to be built into our existence as a nation not really boasting of a robust GDP or a high per capita income might in fact be a consideration upon which have been devised this ingenious concept of making less attractive matters come to entice in its endowed appeal. But that is where and when the similarity ends- if at all it exists that is- such that the Indianess more than palpable in the desi delivery of the two worded ‘dialogue’ plays across myriad some musings upon the cultural and social and societal and of course psychological definiteness conjured up out of our own constructing of national concern.
The ideology imbibed in the paisa vasool speech is one of essentialness. Why indeed would one not seek to make the most out of every experience they have courted, irrespective of how it had occurred to them? In more universally detailed a providing of explanation, isn’t that exactly the reason why we all go gaga over free goodies and discounts and sales and the like? To have the fortune of having one’s money worth or even going over and beyond such reasonable expectations strikes as a pleasurable prospect to all. And that exactly is what makes paisa vasool an idea resplendent in the ‘riches’ of what it bears and brings.
Paisa vasool makes for a very popular and oft proclaimed expression in the context of entertainment typically occurring in the Bollywood genre of masala content of course. Of course it is only obvious that essentially desi domains need to be addressed as well in as much local a flavour as possible. But no matter where in the world you belong to or whatever asserts as your national allegiance whether in choice or by chance, the fact of the matter is that an exceeding of favourable expectations is a proposition universally fawned over.
For all its residing in the happy receiving of something more, paisa vasool isn’t only an individual experience of jubilation. There is a surprising integrity in this concept of what sounds as amusing indeed such that the humanness of our character manifests and continues and conforms to that eternal need for us to exist as social beings in the social setting of a world constantly evolving to be more and more connected than ever before. Paisa vasool for instance in what occurs through availing of ‘extra’ services, whether it be of as desi as possible rendition of vishesh tippanis which risks also the unwanted exposition of coming across a lot as unsolicited advice or the only fair enough pressing of concerns and queries to a consulting doctor perhaps so as to be not just be paisa vasooling but also valuing the all important entity of life itself.
And it would be in cases like these where the human nature finds itself attesting to this defining ideal of humanity or humanness or however it is that you allude it to as that there emerges a lesser explored extent of this expanse that exceeds all expectations indeed. Think about it from the view point of your doc who you are bombarding with every possible question and query and who addresses as well your every matter even when you might have by now taken up a whole lot of her time that what that consulting/ registration fee might have bought and the very obvious deduction is one of a certain gratification.
Gratifying indeed in what she personally experiences as part of that superior human identity that in the process gratifies you as well in granting yourself access to what you would likely interpret as a more personal touch rendered to the professional exchange, even when this personal establishing might be exactly what everyone else feels in availing for themselves an additional extent of the feedback. With so exemplary a notion that is let to unfurl and prevail and further, the urge for a paisa vasool experience unfolds as the phenomenon that we believe we will always be better with.
And specifically when it means adhering to the typical Indian trait of actively- read proactively seeking out some complimentary bunches of dhaniya- pudina as addons one earns due to the regular procuring of sabzi from that one sabzi wale bhaiyya, no matter that our religiousness in sticking to that one identity does not hold of course due only to a natural extension of our more essential religious adherence never possible to be singularly maintained in a country from which emerges the religion of Hinduism resplendent in its worship of a whopping 33 crores of the Gods and Goddesses, the paisa vasool mindset is something we inherit as treasure and hold as well in no lesser preciousness of the feeling of victory that it delivers. For is one really worth their salt as an Indian of a cultural identification if they do not practise the art of bargaining as a hard and fast rule they swear by, because of course one has households to run and businesses to sustain and pride to be maintained and the greatest of them all- expectations to first achieve and then exceed, in such queer but quirky dimensions of a worthwhile existence?
The merits of paisa vasool, or at least the essence of it would also strike as more worthy if one makes way for such considerations of sustainability that somehow manages to seep in through such channels of thought. If getting more than what one’s money is worth in its face value is so essential to the Indian nation for concepts like these to have assume individual identity, it sure would not be too far fetched to imagine and interpret that we would also be more conscious and concerted as well in our efforts of making things last forever perhaps. Even if that means only a roundabout way of exerting something that is more of an inbuilt capability rather than a deliberate choice, the goodness still holds anyway and every way. Think of it in terms as ubiquitous as possible of even the free pudina treasure making way for more treasure to follow by planting of its stems after the leaves have been used up and one would not need to go any further in singing praises of our collective paisa vasooli character.
In the paisa vasool philosophy then is deep seated every expression that makes up the human existence across all facets of what we live through. From embodying the initial, more than optimal stages of the law of diminishing marginal returns in economics to representing in all practicality of living the larger-than-life generalness of every desire in making the most out of every moment, the whole microcosm of what this phrase and idea attends to is both physical and psychological in stipulating. It might be as evidently Indian as its language of expression allows it to flaunt but within this particularity dwells a basicness that stands up to render worthy every probability of what is possibly rested in the many opportunities that life invites us to explore and experience.