“Maa, if the markets continue at this rate, next year around this time I’ll take you around in my own car”.
Sunaina was thrown in a sudden flashback on all the promises her son Sohum had made, his dreams, his aspirations.
“I must’ve done something really good in my past life to deserve a son like Sohum” she would keep thinking.
“Please fill up these forms and make the payment at the counter” said a nurse who interrupted Sunaina’s thoughts.
“Give me the forms, I don’t think she will be able to fill it right now” said Sunaina’s younger sister Tara who was the rock in that situation. Had it not been for her, Sunaina would have gone hysteric, probably even suffered a stroke. After all, she was his mother, who would get teary if Sohum would even get a slight scratch while playing as a kid.
Sunaina continued to be in a daze, thinking about Sohum.
“Maa, I know I promised you a luxury car, but for now, let’s stick to the usual hatchback, “family car” as they call it.”
“Sure beta, it’s your achievement, whatever makes you happy. But I want my drive around the city, that you cannot compromise on!” she'd say, pulling his leg.
“Yes Maa, 5 to 6 months more, and we will welcome our new family member for sure!” Sohum would reply, feeling hopeful, as always.
“Thank you. Please make the payment at counter number 1” said the nurse on receiving the documents from Tara.
“Rs. 10,000 as deposit, the rest of the bill can be taken care of by the cashless mediclaim you mentioned Sohum’s company provides him with; I’ll just do the need...” before Tara could complete her sentence, they saw the doctor rush out of the operation theatre with an entourage of worried nurses.
“Get Dr. Rakesh on the line ASAP, we don’t have much time!”
And that was it.
Sunaina’s worst fears suddenly seemed so vivid, so clear.
“Doctor! Please tell me my Sohum is going to be fine, please!!” she cried at the doctor’s feet.
Tara held her tight, controlling her own emotions.
“Listen ma’am, no time to talk, we are trying our best, we won’t let anything happen to your son”
In a few seconds, another doctor, who seemed senior, both by experience and age rushed in the operation theatre. Sunaina sat against the wall, she was numb. She began playing the whole incident in her mind; oblivious to what was presently going on.
“Hello! Madam, your son just met with an accident. He has been admitted at Sleven hospital. Please come quickly.”
“Hit and run case Madam, we could not get hold of the driver” said a stranger’s voice over the call that practically changed her life. Sunaina was busy with her sister Tara who had come to visit after a long time. Luckily.
Another batch of nurses rushed in the operation theatre. Sunaina’s anxiety seemed no bound. She waited, still in a daze.
48 long minutes of being a living dead. This was indeed, the worst time in her entire life. How she longed to give it up, if that could save Sohum.
Finally, the door opened.
Sunaina’s heart beat began slowing down to almost nil, everything started to appear hazy as the doctor approached her; she didn’t have the courage or strength to even move a finger.
“the operation was a success. Your son is out of danger” said the relieved doctor on his way out.
She couldn’t thank her stars enough.
“Ma’am, your son is out of danger, but has to undergo back to back surgeries and at the earliest, else he might have to lose his right arm” said the nurse.
“Have some sweets Maa”
“What for? Employee of the month again?”
“I wish! But not this time...these keys...they belong to you”
They were the keys of the car that Sohum had finally purchased for Rs. 5.65 lakhs.
Back at the hospital, once composed, Sunaina got the list of surgeries and their respective costs. She had to arrange for the funds at the earliest.
“My God! Sunaina, the mediclaim can suffice for today’s operation performed, but the surgeries to get him back to normal seem to be exorbitant. So many lakhs! Would you be able to arrange for this much?”
Two months later...
“Sunaina Aunty, Hi! How are you and how’s Sohum doing?”
“We are fine Ajay, things are back to normal now. Once again, thank you for all your help. You went against your policy and within no time arranged for the funds”
“Oh come on Aunty! Some perks of being the son of an automobile dealer. Besides, the car had been used only for a week. Could manage some tweaks and give you the best deal”.
“Have you started with what we discussed the last time?” inquired Ajay.
“Yes beta, what we have been through has only made us realize the importance of always being prepared. When I shared what you told me with Sohum, he said he already knows about it, but regrets that he never acted on it.”
“But now, he sets aside 10% of his income every month towards emergency funds. In fact, he invests it in liquid funds just like you said. He mentioned something like 7-8% returns, which a savings bank account does not provide.”
“Yes aunty, I pray a grave situation like that never repeats, but you never know when you are faced with emergencies, be it health... natural disaster... a relative in need... or anything at all. If you are saving for a rainy day, why just save when you can invest and get better returns? Anyway you aren’t going to touch those funds, might as well allow it to grow better.” said Ajay with concern.
“Very true...I wish I had known this before. I would’ve had a huge sum by now and wouldn’t have to sell off Sohum’s car, the car for which he was saving for, since so many years.”
Note to investors:
Emergency funds, also known as contingency funds is the amount that will come to your rescue in times of unforeseen circumstances such as medical emergencies or planned short term goals such as fee installment for your child’s education. The best way to gather this corpus is to keep aside a set percentage of your income every month. It is wise to not let it merely rest in your savings bank account, but invest in liquid funds, as these funds provide a better rate of return. If your savings bank account provides you with 4% rate of return, liquid funds could provide you with almost double. These funds can be redeemed in less than three days and only invest in high-safety financial instruments such as treasury bills. Thus, they provide you with a better degree of security (compared to other market linked instruments) and you can pull out these funds conveniently.