My web of lies and deceit

My web of lies and deceit
31 July 2011

IT’S been two weeks since my last article and I’m still standing, but not entirely sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Let’s put it this way: I’m not in jail yet and I think that I might just be able to reach a settlement with one of the banks I owe money to. However, two of my security cheques have been banked, the threats continue, I’ve been slapped with a travel ban and still have no firm monthly income.

I haven’t been able to find a job and it looks like this won’t happen until after Ramadan and Eid, at the earliest. At this point, the mountain I have to climb seems insurmountable.

Saving the day

How I wish I hadn’t been tempted with that first loan nearly 11 years ago. My mother was in trouble and needed financial help quickly. My partner didn’t want to lend her the money she needed and my sister wasn’t in a position to help.

As the eldest, I did what I thought was best and approached the bank, without my partner’s knowledge. The bank was so helpful! It offered me a loan of AED 250,000 ($68,061) even though I was only earning AED 10,000 ($2,722) a month at the time. No need for guarantees, collateral or a surety. All I had to do was sign on the dotted line and hand over a blank security cheque. It all seemed so simple back then and I didn’t even hesitate.

My mother only needed AED 100,000 ($27,225), but I decided to borrow the full amount and take the bank up on its offer of a gold credit card, too. I remember with great clarity how fantastic it felt when that money hit my account. How wonderful I felt when I called my mother and told her that I could give her the money she needed.

Finally, I was able to help her, give her something back, after all the sacrifices she had made for me while I was growing up. I felt like the hero swooping in to save the day.

Downward spiral

The additional AED 150, 000 ($40,837) was going to be my ‘just in case’ money. It ended up being my ‘just in case I see something nice I can buy it’ money! For the first time in my life I had the money to buy what I wanted. I didn’t splurge on designer clothes, shoes or handbags. I didn’t buy expensive furniture or a beautiful piece of art.

I bought books, kitchen utensils and homewares for myself, clothes for my children and gifts for my friends and family. I also used the money to pay the monthly installment on the loan and to pay the credit card. But before I knew it, all the money was gone and the credit card was maxed out.

The steady downward spiral – and the web of lies and deceit – had started. If I’d had an inkling of what was to come or how the feeling of euphoria would be replaced by feelings of fear and desperation I would have never signed on the dotted line. I’d give anything to simply be treading water at this point rather than drowning in debt.

Pic credit: digitalart/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you been in a similar situation? How did you cope?

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