Monday, March 17, 2008


There was this girl in college with me; lets call her Cashmira, Cashmira used to stay very close to a friend’s (S) house in a fairly posh locality in Mumbai. They often ended up commuting together to/fro from college in the BEST bus.

S noticed a very curious malady which Cashmira seemed to suffer from, every time the Bus conductor came within a radius of two-feet. Cashmira would open her bag, put her hand it to withdraw her wallet after which, the hand would have some sort of paralysis and either a) not find the wallet or b) not open the clasp of the wallet or rarely when she did manage a AND b, then c) not find any note under the denomination of Rs. 500.

She would then shrug her shoulders hopelessly (quite in the manner of what-does-one-do /Murphy’s-law-never-find-things-when-one-needs-it) while the irate conductor stood waiting, and ask S whether she could pay ‘just this once.’

S paid ‘just this once’ a 167 times or so.

There was another lady I knew, Moneyben Aunty. Moneyben Aunty lived in a very upscale neighbourhood in Mumbai. She loved having guests (especially those who were high up on the social scale) over, and showing off her Phoren Dining sets and photographs of her Phoren settled kids.

However, when it came to opening her handbag to spring for detergent soaps and the likes, her unfortunate hands suffered from some inexplicable malaise - they had spasms and froze. So she, poor soul, had to revert to putting slivers of used bath soaps (too small to be of any use for bathing) and into a receptacle, add some water, and leave them to pickle – and viola, in that holder was born a unique detergent soap!

Another interesting lady was Karan C’s wife – Mrs Karan C. She was also exceedingly fond of company – she would happily go out to meet all her friends in whichever every part of town. Occasionally, she also had to invite them over to her house to return the hospitality. On these days, although she was thrilled about the party, her hands also seemed to strangely convulse (with some inner nervous tension), right in the vicinity of the handbag when she was shopping for the treats and eats.

So, thus, had to devised a very unique menu for the guests –she even went to great lengths to make her own special sherbet (Pepsi/Thums Up/Fanta/Coke, and cunningly diluted with copious quantities of water for a thoroughly unique taste).

Now what is this affliction that affects all these good ladies just within a few inches of their wallets? Cashmira, Mrs Moneyben and Mrs KaranC, alas, suffer from the dreaded Lockfist disease.

Understanding the Lockfist disease

Lockfist also referred to as Scroogeitis is the inability to normally open the fist to disburse money

Scroogeitis can be classified as either primary or secondary. Primary Scroogeitis indicates that no specific medical cause can be found to explain a patient's condition. Secondary Scroogeitis is acquired after marriage to a primary Scroogeitis sufferer. Persistent Lockfist is one of the risk factors for unpopularity and may often result in exclusion from other peoples homes.

Etiology of Lockfist

Only in a small minority of patients (5%) with congenital or childhood financial pressure, can a specific cause be identified. In 90 percent to 95 percent the cases, the Indian Scroogeitis Association 2008 says there's no identifiable cause.
It is hypothesized that individuals might have a hyper-active enzyme which produces an acute olfactory sensitivity for money. Some sufferers have also known to exhibit an obsessive hoarding symptomlogy (also sometimes observed in squirrels).

Most of the secondary mechanisms associated with Lockfist are not very clearly understood. What is known is that the cardiac output reading is raised early in the disease in the event/eventuality of money disbursement. Immediate relief can be provided if they manage to convince someone else to spend the money, then the cardiac output readings drops to normal level.
It is also known that Lockfist is heritable and often polygenic (caused by more than one gene).

Signs and symptoms
Lockfist is usually found incidentally - "case finding" - by inadvertent companions during a routine associations. Lockfist in isolation produces no symptoms, although when accompanied by another person, can often demonstrate certain symptoms in the companion.

Malignant Scroogeitis is a late phase in the condition, where the sufferer will often not step out from the home for fear of being asked to spend money.

No fixed treatment protocol has been designed for the Lockfist disease yet.

External Links

For additional information
Contact: Cynic in Wonderland


Epiphany said...

C' is the intension that counts..atleast they look for their respective wallets!

That is an appreciable step on their road to recovery...err isn't it? :)

ank said...

Uncle scrooge se aaya hai iska naam?

rosa not so rose said...

and the award for breakthrough research on the spending habits of the Great Indian Middle Class goes to: the solitary cynic!!! APPLAUSE!!

Drenched said...

Hahahahahaha!! This is hilarious! I now know how to label such people! Damnit, I still can't stop grinning at the name of the disease. Hahahahaha, Dickens would be proud. And the names were very apt. And OMG, the soap sliver thingie is among the cheapest habits in people that I've come across till now.
Brilliant work. I'd like to help you get some grants for your research. Kindly contact:
Mr. Makkhichoos Kirorimal
Haath-ki-mael street


narendra shenoy said...

I'm nominating you for the Medicine Nobel. Path breaking research! Wodehouse describes one of his stingier characters, Oofy Prosser of the Drones Club, thus - "a man in whose wallet moths nest and raise large families"

Cynic in Wonderland said...

epiphany - and they try and not find it technically NOT recovering.

ankji - how are you?? Been years - didnt know u still read! Kahan ho aap? Fin or Ind? andyus uncle scrooge se aya iska naam

rosa *blush , thank you, thank you ..only shouldnt it be the NON spending habits?

Cynic in Wonderland said...

drenched - please note that all stories recounted are strictly factual ( including the slivers and the diluted Pepsi)

names are cute no..i was hoping someone would notice. actually wanted them to be Kashmira and Maniben and mrs. Karan C. ah well

naren -*blush. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family, my neighbours ( for being the inadvertent guinea pigs in this study), my strays - mutt and moron who ensured that i stayed up all night ( by their unremitting barking) and thought of posts in the middle of the night...

btw, i should have guessed ur a fellow wodehousian HAD to be one. oofy the richest man in drones..ah yes.

Ekta said...

Lockfist disease!
God..i actually know someone like that and they can be soo irritiating..!

Anonymous said... true!i have a school friend who when we invite, we have to tell her to carry some money along as a rule! She has eventually stopped goin out with us coz she has to pay! Now she only hangs out with rich old lonely aunties who have a trade-off with her as they need company..n foot all her whiskey n pizza bills!

loved your "diagnosis"

Visiting ur blog for the first time n it rocks!

vEENs said...

Lotta Ms.Scrooges around us!

seriously.. there is an adverse effect when yu travel or do things with them... your own wallet becomes lighter :) did yu notice that?!

Cynic in Wonderland said...

ekta - ah suffered as well eh? after the nth time it can be VERY annoying.

anon - where are all the rich old lonely aunties? i dont have lockfist disease ( or at least i hpe to God i dont) but its always good to know of old rich aunties.
and er..thankee

veens - sigh. my own wallet is always very light to begin with veens.

ank said...

Finally changed my job this year and moved to fi :)

Roop Rai said...

five minutes since i read, and i still can't resist grinning! :D

Mo said...

You seem to have studied this one well. You missed to describe how friends and family of the patient(?) should deal with this?

Cynic in Wonderland said...

ank ji- hows biwi and hows life treating u in general? long long time!

heheh roop

mo - ah i can do that in another post i think!

Pinku said...

hey! am still wiping tears after the hearty laugh so cant comment. :)

and yeah please do tell me how to handle the patients since i seem to know quite a few.