Paisa Vasool.

Paisa Vasool is a common phrase used in South Asia. The closest English idiom is Bang For The Buck. And also Milking It For All It Is Worth.

“The ultimate Indian idea of good value; not to be confused with miserliness. Paisa vasool means that the purchased item was worth its price. It indicates a satisfaction in extracting every drop of consumptive liquid from each paisa. When you wring the act of consumption dry, and leave no discernible residue, it is then that you feel the warm after-glow of paisa vasool…

This ability to see utility in all its dimensions in any object and to not rest till every ounce of it is exhausted, has perhaps more to do with the ingrained cultural memory of scarcity, than with a real need for economy. We may not mind paying more, but our paisa must always be vasool.”

– From Santosh Desai, ‘The Dhania Factor’ (Mother Pious Lady).

Paisa Vasool used as a noun denotes a person of that kind of disposition. There are some notable characters in my life who I describe as such.

Paisa vasool manifests itself in many ways. Some very common ones are to stuff oneself beyond comfort at a buffet meal spread; hanging around an air-conditioned cafe over one or two coffees to enjoy the cool comfort while other customers are waiting in queues; licking ones plate clean in a restaurant and so on. At the commercial level, overloading vehicles is a common phenomenon as is the over-exploiting of efficient workers.

This also translates into other areas like the utilisation of hired help. Nagging them constantly and being after them to be active constantly during the period of duty is a common malady for the Paisa Vasools.

A variant which is common with some older people is to give one task to a younger member of the family and just as he sets off, add other things to do en-route. Another one is when a service provider comes home to repair something, request him to look at something else too, hoping that it will be free of charge. For instance, when I am dressed to go for my walk and go in to inform my father that I am going for a walk, he will inevitably ask me to get something or the other on my way back.

Do I have to elaborate further as to why I suddenly thought of this subject to write a blog post on?