It feels like the good old days are back. I am talking of the time whilst still at school and college when minimalistic living was a done thing for most, my aged. There would be just enough money, to buy a samosa, tea or a masala dosa once in a while, besides the bus pass in the pocket. Thanks to the demonetization that I am reliving my childhood. For essential things, there is just about enough money in the pocket and for any luxuries like eating at restaurants, movies, and other indulgences there is just none.
On the next day of the momentous announcement, the search for old notes did not yield anything substantial but an old piggy bank that belonged to our daughter was spotted lying in a lonely corner in the cupboard. A search for the key proved futile as the box had not seen the day of the light for many years. It felt heavy so I took the box to a locksmith to get the duplicate keys made for opening the rusted cover on the rear. After 15 minutes of effort, the ‘Open Sesame ‘ moment turned into a damp squib. There were old coins and some crumpled notes. There were no Rupee Five hundred or Rupee One thousand notes that I could proudly present to the bank to exchange. The locks smith demanded Rs Sixty for the effort and shamelessly collected from the box as he too was keen to keep some old notes and coins from the treasure.
Like most others, I too have done rounds at the banks and ATM machines to be greeted by long queues. Most crib, about the long wait but not beyond a point. I tell the bank manager that I have traveled a long distance and unmoved he tells that there is no cash to disburse. For him, it is yet another sob story, which he hears every day now but shrugs his shoulders in his helplessness. The amusing and sad stories keep appearing in the media without fail. The squabble in the parliament and the debates on prime time television has become routine and weary.
The Rupee One hundred and smaller denomination notes and coins are now being bestowed the respect that they never earned in all these years. Also, a reluctant credit card and plastic money user like me are now driven to use them more often. I have started cycling much more at least to the short distances which help in physical fitness besides keeping the expenditure low. Since last year for the first time, I felt that adding years has yielded the benefit of standing in a short queue at ATM machines where people are kind to let me draw the princely Rs 2000/-
One thing that is heartening is the innovative spirit that is visible everywhere. The friendly chaiwalla’s , have gone digital and proudly demonstrate the logo display for cashless transaction with a mobile or digital e wallet option. Everyone has become tech-savvy in just a month’s time. The dust seems to be settling down as the country marches to a new digital era.
PS- Image kind courtesy Google