Keep it secret…!

?Papa, can you help me to open an account in a bank?? asked my fourth grade son.

I was happy. The education standards have improved. I was a commerce student myself three decades ago and ventured to open a bank account only after I was a graduate. Here is a boy eager to open an account even before knowing to wear his pants on his own!

?Sure, why not? Remind me next Monday. We will go to uncle Hari?s bank near your school and open your account? I told.

?No? I don?t want it in uncle Hari?s bank. He will come to know of all my transactions. And if he tells this to that big mouth Radhika, my whole class will come to know. I want it to be secret. We will go to the bank where you have your account? insisted my son.

This amused me. The desire to open an account must have come from his school. They might be learning basic lessons in banking and the teacher must have told the students to try opening an account themselves, but from where did he get this idea to keep bank account a secret? Who told him that?

?It would be difficult for you to operate if we open it in our bank? I tried to explain.

?No need to go to the bank, they will give ATM cards and Internet facility? my son quipped in. For sure, the curriculum in the school is much advanced. He knows about ATM and Internet banking as well!

?It is great that you have studied all these. We will definitely open an account for you. But tell me from where will you get money to put into your account?? I would have to give him what I had thought, but let me see whether he has different ideas which will keep my purse in tact!

? I have two hundred bucks in my piggy bank. Mom has promised me some more. Even grandpa has promised to give some when he gets his pension next week. Money is not a problem? assured my son.

?But the minimum balance is a thousand bucks I think.? I reminded him.

?Yes,  I know, I asked mom, she does not have any more money and asked me to talk to you. You give the balance now, we can adjust the same later on somehow.?

Wow, what an answer! I did not want to ask what he meant by adjustments. In fact, I hear this many a times from many a people; what I could understand is that this magnificent word takes care of your inability to explain how you are going to arrange funds and takes you out of the botheration of returning the loans taken.

?I will put eight hundred bucks. That makes one thousand. But you promise me you will never withdraw this as you need to keep minimum balance.? I just wanted to ensure that the money will be secure in his account.

? I know. I will not withdraw, I will only deposit? told my little angel. I agreed. Happy that his plea is accepted he went for playing.


Then came the week end and I had forgotten about this but he had not. He was ready on Monday by not going to school in the school bus. ?Papa, we will go to the bank, open the account and then you drop me at school? he suggested. ?But write in my dairy that you took me to show your office around.?

?But ?Why?? I asked.

?We need to keep bank account secret? pat came the reply. We sat in the car, on our way to the bank. My wife was also ready to come with us till the ration shop. She sat in the rear seat.

?Papa what is black money?? my son asked demandingly.

I looked at his face. His eyes showed his seriousness to know the answer.

?Who told you about it?? I wondered.

?Mom was talking to somebody. Uma aunty, the lady opposite to our house, bought a lot of jewellery by using black money.?

I got the clue. I needed to educate my son ( and his mother as well) I thought, not about the black money but not to talk unnecessary things about others. ?Do not talk ever about someones financial matters. We should not say all that without proof.?

?But.. papa what is black money??

?Money that is earned by not paying tax.?

?What is tax?? asked my son.

?It is what we pay to the government. You will come to know when you grow up? told my wife. ?Do they open account for kids?? my wife asked me.

?I think so. They open in the name of the kids to teach them savings habit. Withdrawal will be only on parent?s signature.? I explained.

?Does that mean I should come to the bank? They need my signature as well?? Asked my wife looking concerned at the queue built up in front of the ration shop.

?You are not needed mom. It?s only required that one of the parents should sign? suggested my son.

My wife got down near the ration shop. We continued driving.

?When I grow up and have lot of money in my account, nobody should have any clue. So papa, I have decided I will have swiss accounts? he was planning too far..

?OK OK,? I told to cut his thoughts there itself. The reference to swiss accounts did not surprise me! After all,  One who knows blackmoney will know about swiss bank accounts as well I thought. ?When it comes to that you are free to do whatever you want. But for now, we are reaching the bank, answer only when questions are asked to you. Behave like a good boy in front of the bank staff.? I reminded him.

We went in and sat in front of the manager.

?Good morning.. what can I do for you sir? Asked the manager.

?I need to open an account with you and it should be a secret account? shot off my son.

?Good. We will do that. We keep all our accounts secret. Don?t worry.? laughed the manager looking at me trying to find out my reactions to what my son was saying. For once, he thought I had put these words into my son.  He has seen so many parents!

? Sir, Go to shenoymam in counter 2 and he will open it for you.? suggested the manager.

?Not him sir. His son is my classmate. He will tell his son and my account will become an open secret in school.? Retorted my son.

?OK then, I will do it for you? said the manager laughingly. Now he was sure that I wanted to deposit large sums in my sons account and through my son hinting him to keep everything secret. ?give me a minute sir, I will bring the forms? he told me and went outside his cabin.

?This is too much. We are depositing rupees one thousand only. what is the problem if someone comes to know about it?? I shouted at my son.

The manager came back. He got a few signatures of me and also of my son. ?Now, pay the initial deposit and the account is open? told the manager.

?What is the amount you are depositing sir? If it is cash, We can accept only upto fifty thousand? told the manager winking at me and went on saying ?And you can deposit two three times in a month.. nobody will notice. We need to intimate Divisional Office only if balance exceeds two lakhs?

?For now, one thousand. Then we will see.? I told him.

?Only one thousand? I thought you will put atleast ten thousand. We have a lot of accounts in the name of children opened for various reasons. That is why there is this Law of not accepting big cash into these accounts, but as I said, upto two lakhs is no problem? explained the manager.

Sir,I am opening this account for my son to know about banking and not for anything else. He will deposit a few times may be five hundred or one thousand and withdraw a few times.. balance will not be more than five- six thousands at any time? I tried to convince the manager.

?Exactly.. and if my classmates come to know that I have only a few thousands in my account they will make fun of me. They all have fifty thousand plus balance in their accounts? my son retorted.

?He has a point there sir. And I fully agree that I need to keep this account a top secret? the manager promised my son and patted my son while smiling at me.

Author: Gopinath Rao