I still remember that day in July 2002.
I was to leave for the US for my PhD in a month.
It had already been an expensive (and unaffordable) affair – paying for the exams, applications, visa, flight, books.
We were completely out of money.
And I needed overcoats.
Michigan is a really cold place.
No one we knew had spare overcoats.
Heck, no one even wore them in India :)
Dad figured a place in Old Delhi that sells used overcoats.
We took the bus.
Reached Chandni Chowk market.
Found the place after asking a few folks.
We climbed up a rickety wooden ladder, to reach his overcoat store.
And I remember being shocked.
Hundreds, if not thousands of overcoats, stacked on top of each other.
All possible colors, lengths, material, brands!
The old man was selling them for Rs.400 a piece.
We were overjoyed!
We had budgeted Rs.1000
We bought 2 overcoats.
And then spent Rs.50 on kulfi faluda to celebrate :)
I still remember that day!
It taught me an important lesson.
The most wonderful memories in life do not cost money.