Few things are more difficult than drawing the deposit on its maturity from a Post Office Senior Citizen Savings Scheme. Sometime ago, I made a trip to the post office ahead of the opening hours and joined a queue at the counter for senior citizens, arming myself with a withdrawal form. The choleric clerk at his seat of authority parted with it with utmost reluctance. Perhaps, he didn’t want the department’s hefty deposit to suffer a small dent. Indeed, loyalty personified.
None in the queue had walking sticks, a wonder, as in those days, retirees were given one, the quality depending on his position. Advancement in orthopaedics, massages and short-wave electric shocks, coupled with early morning walks, had made many knees less wobbly. The young lady at the counter, after tapping a few keys at her computer, looked pathetically at me. I got rattled. Did I lose my deposit because of a computer foul-up? No, my money was intact, with the accrued interest, but my signature had changed beyond recognition. “Blast you, Mr Parkinson!” I hissed, in mute mode.
My signature that had a calligraphic flow had degenerated now into a scrawl, as if done by a cockerel with its beak. True, I had consulted an eminent neurologist. After running several tests, she prescribed medicines that cost as if silver, gold and platinum were their ingredients. Nevertheless, I did not shiver at the sight of the bill amount, as otherwise my palms would shiver more. Furthermore, I was told to have a small pad made of a thick paper board, and practice signing within its confines. I felt like devotees practicing the divine phrase
Sri Ramajayam on notebooks that fetch them a silver coin from a pontiff of a mutt, besides the blessings.
I had a strange predicament in a private bank, when I applied for the change of my signature. All went well till I came to two boxes in the application. The first one demanded my new signature which was fine. But lo and behold, the second box called for my old signature. But how? It was lost in the sands of time. The lady officer simply shrugged her shoulders.
But back at the post office, the young lady said, “Sir, the matter is simple. Your wife is a joint depositor and her signature must be steady. Why don’t you bring her here?” The rest was a cakewalk. I had a heady feeling that the hand I held in matrimony decades back was indeed handy. But that she claimed the entire amount is another story.
J S Raghavan