Acha was glued to our TV, the first and the only time he listened to Arnab Goswami in a loud voice. Acting like being immersed in the Chemistry textbook and trying to understand organic structures was disturbed. That day, my vocabulary had a new addition ‘Demonetisation’ and then I went on to read about the subject. It seemed more intoxicating than the structures of alcohol. I was interrupted when acha said ‘de mone paisa endhingili ondo!‘. Do you have any money with you! I am going to deposit whatever we have now.
Few months down the line, opinions on Demonitisation started to change. It almost became a routine on people arguing about it being a success or failure and how it was received by people from different sections of the society. The features, and timing of this process was widely discussed and the colours in the new notes led to a lot of questions. Only my nephew was fascinated by the different shades. Strongly believe that he confused the notes with Monopoly money.
The concern on how our wallets are going to look like a poorly arranged colour pencil packet after you fill in with the new currency notes arised . Yes, the idea of having all the currency notes from that Mangalyaan satellite drowned in a sorry pink colour to the new lavender 100 rupee coloured note that reminds me of some Yardley advertisement is an illusion. Because either my money isn’t there or stuck in a Paytm account or bank account which I can’t use due to Aadhar card formalities.
Anyway, these notes were the source of entertainment for a long time. The country was blessed with abundance of memes. And we could only afford these memes because no one could afford other stuffs due to GST. Sometimes, I end up wondering whether memes have replaced the actual news. The memory on how news channels carried the news of demonetisation, the timing and the benefits of it is still fresh in my mind. And as any innocent guy, I believed that this would change India, bring an economic revolution and propel the country to superpower. Basically the end credits in Sivaji the Boss.
Of course, like everyone else I stood in lines. Didn’t bother listening on ‘Jawan Siachen me kada hai’narrative, it was just exploiting topics of patriotism or nationalism but as a citizen you would get a feeling that you are helping the country somehow. I read the news and there were raids here and there. I saw banks being shut while people were standing in queues, few walked out with trunks. Those who clicked photos were bullied into deleting it. Pass mein Bank Jawan aur police bhi kada tha. But no use.
You only realise the value of things when they are taken away. I am still intimidated by the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, the only time I get to hold them in my childhood was during Vishu. They commanded respect and fear. The new notes were dreaded but only because they weren’t available everywhere and it was important to have them at all costs. I almost gave a 500 note instead of 50 once, but the shopkeeper gave me an advice. Paytm karo.
The new currency notes also led to lots of WhatsApp forwards, you will be monitored through chips in the money. This continued for a really long time! I was just hoping that the government wouldn’t find out that I bought a Kit-Kat with a 500 note just for the change. Stares I received from the cashier(s) were scary enough.
Out of all the notes, I like the new 500 notes, The Red Fort looks a little majestic with its tint of green reminding me of greener pastures ahead, even though it is imaginary in the situation we live in. But I hate the new Rs 10 note. It reminds of the second biscuit which goes on a rescue mission to save the first biscuit while you are having chai in a charcha.
I heard that the govt spent more money in printing the new currency notes. People were unnecessarily freaking out and protesting over the costs. And I have a theory to say that there was a good intention behind all this. It was just the plan of the government to promote Swacch Bharat. The focus was to spread the message on cleaning our surroundings and well it wiped our wallets in the process.
I was stuck with 2000 rupees note once, the cashier wasn’t staring in anger but laughing at me. The note turned out to be fake. On the bright side, the note was Made in India which this means it has longevity. The only guy laughing through this would be one man, the father of the nation. He had the ability to seen in different filters and update on his backgrounds. It was nice to see on how politicians became more secretive about him. They were also most appreciative about the rebooted versions and took extreme measures to hide from plain sight. How nice isn’t it.
At times, I can’t help but feel bad for the Rs 1000 note. Used to be such a star with spotlight shining on its crimson colour blinding those people without these notes with jealousy. And now it is illegal to even hold it. We couldn’t get our hands on the new notes; no laws aren’t restricting in me holding it. But, these notes aren’t seen in ATM’s. They vanish the moment it is put in and they are never seen in circulation again. So, if any of you come across these notes. Be kind in giving some to me. I shall keep your details anonymous, just like other politicians, businessman and hoarders too.