Over the years, I have had accounts in several banks. The first, the oldest and still existing is at the Grindlays Bank, variously known as Lloyds, National & Grindlays, and just Grindlays.
When I started, it was known as the Lloyds Bank. My father had an account there before me, and his father before him (though the second part is not quite accurate). The reason I started banking was because I got a cheque that I could not cash, it had to go in my account. And since I did not have an account, I opened one.
It was a good arrangement - after a few days, I cashed the cheque and forgot all about it. That was till I got a note from the bank debiting me for money I did not have, because the bank operated on a principle of its account-holders at all times accounts, or they would be penalised.
This was when I was told that in Indian banks they did not have the minimum account clause. So I opned a second account at the Bank of India, Electric House Branch. I close this bank because a girl I knew worked there and helped me with opening the account. In time she got shifted to the bank's Churchgate branch, so I opened a third account there.
Also, sleve I was finding if difficult not to withdraw money from the bank, I opened a joint account with a colleague at the Bank of Baroda, Bori Bunder branch. It was one of those accounts where both of us had to sign in order that I may withdraw my money. It never went beyond the intial Rs. 25.
Outside, in the wide world, things were happening. Mrs. Indira Gandhi had nationalised the banks, which was like Mr. V.P. Singh introducing the Mandal Commission report. Rickshawwallahs were daily going to Mrs. Gandhi's house and shouting slogans praising her. With so many of my own accounts in nationalised banks, I felt very much in the thick of things.
Meanwhile, I was opening new accounts: one at Dena Bank, Tardeo branch, since I hace shifted to the Mid-Day at Tardeo. I put my Times gratuity there. Another at the Bank of Baroda, Tardeo branch, where Mid-Day was putting my salary. I have also opened an account at the State Bank, head office, Horniman Circle, since this paper puts my salary there.
All this may make me sound affluent, but the money in all these accounts is small, and some may have been closed by the banks without my knowledge.
And if you me which bank I like the best, I would say the first and the oldest - now known as the Grindlays, Lloyds branch. They play music, they have an art gallery, carperts. Not that it makes much difference to me, since I never go there, my sepoy operators my account. But I am happy for my sepoy.