‘I don’t invest or save’ – socialite Dolly Thakore writes about her experiments with money

8 August 2016 | Dolly Thakore | Mumbai

This column was first published in 2010 when our e-magazine was focused on financial independence of women. It was published in the section ‘My Experiments With Money’ through which we were trying to bring to our readers those special stories where human emotions tell the account of the necessary beast that money is.


And in this particular issue we had published a very touching story of a socialite, whose ‘money’ life is filled with restrain on spending on cab trips in college and immense challenge of putting her life and apartment together after separation. Our e-magazine was then called MoneyQuin.com. We are pleased to publish it here for the readers of The Petticoat Journal.


Age is a thin veil for Dolly Thakore’s beauty. Sitting in her apartment plastered all over with paintings, she can be really charming for her age. She’s 67.

Dolly Thakore

Dolly Thakore sits royal in her apartment.                           photo by: shruti kohli


Thakore takes pride in saying ‘every single pin in this house is mine’ and ‘I don’t owe a penny to anybody’. And she doesn’t invest or save: “I am just hopeful that I don’t need money for emergency. I hope that never happens. I want to die. I really want to die.” Sounds like many of us have a bit of her in our life. Read on…
By Dolly Thakore
I don’t come from a family that gave us pocket money. My parents spent on whatever we needed. In those days one didn’t have the concept of giving pocket money. We would buy one pair of shoes for Christmas and that would also be your school shoes for the following year. But the crowd of friends that I had were the people who used to go and buy 4 pairs of shoes 6 pairs of shoes in different colours and we were all 11 and 12 years old and so that is when one perhaps became first time conscious of disparities between having money to spend and between just living.


We were members of the club. I did want to eat sausages and bacon and cheese all the time. In those days these things were not everyday meal like they are today. In those days these things were a luxury. Chicken also. Everybody loved my mother’s food. But I craved for having what was being cooked at their homes.


Without having capitalistic parents or inheritance because my father was an orphan who didn’t have a single relative or money to his name. He was brought up by the English missionary. My father wore his first pair of shoes when he went for his interview to the Air Force. Till then he had not eaten a whole mango. It is this kind of background which makes you strong, not ashamed of anything and value everything.


David Rawson. He retired a Wing Commander. He was very good with his hands. He got promoted. Got recognition. But he made small wooden toy planes for us and friends. Every birthday all of us got an aeroplane. And they were replicas of the planes that the Air Force had when he joined the forces till the last plane that the IAF had when he left. So my perspective hasn’t changed at all. I learnt to value money very early in life and I have stuck to that. I never had bulk money. I started working when I was 19 years old.


This was way back in 1963. I worked with British Information Services while I was studying at Miranda House. A luxury I actually craved for at that time was having a car to drive…a chauffeur-driven car. Or I wanted to be able to afford taxis. But I travelled in buses. The fare was a rupee. And that one rupee was a hell of a lot in those days.


1965 I went to London and I worked with the BBC. That was the time I became conscious of dealing with money. Because I was now to pay for my own living, my food, I became aware of the equality among people. Everybody (in London) travelled by tube and bus. People had cars but I don’t remember anybody going to work in a car. I got my first car, a Maruti Alto, five years back. But then I’ve had jobs which gave me a car. When Alyque was with me for 13 years, he had a car which I also used. (Dolly was married to Indian theatre personality and ad film maker Alyque Padamsee for 13 years). At the moment I had a Tata Indica.
Certainly when Alyque and I got together everything was split down half including the rent and bills we paid. But there were certain luxuries like Alyque had a car and his company (he was with Lintas) would pay for newspapers, telephone bills, and a lot of entertainment.


Suddenly when Alyque left in 1982, I had to restart everything. And I had to take the bus or train. I used to take Quasar (my son) along. We used to take a bus. We used to take a train. Then a funny incident happened when we were going to watch a play at Chhabildas and we were taking a train from Dadar to Versova. This was in 1984. Quasar and I were standing at the platform. Quasar was all of 4 at that time. The train arrived and before we could take a step ahead, we were flat on the floor with the crowd rushing out to alight. That was the last time we sat in the train. I started moving around in buses after that.


I’ve lived a good life. Never deprived. Every single pin in this house is mine. It’s all post Alyque. It’s not that it’s inherited. I
bought everything.


I don’t save or invest at all. I get an assignment I pay for my phone bills. I get another assignment I pay for some other services. Other people are worried that I don’t save. But I am happy and content the way I am living. I don’t owe a penny to anybody. I’ve never borrowed from anyone. I don’t live on credit.


I am just hopeful that I don’t need money for emergency. I hope that never happens. I want to die. I really want to die. Perhaps the thing that frightens us is that we may get a stroke. I have given instructions to everybody that I don’t want to be resuscitated…I don’t want artificial tubes going through me and being kept alive.


I’ve lived my life and I’ve lived a very good life and I wish this life for everybody.

- as told to shruti kohli





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