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Wish I could get my Hair Cut a day before the New Currency Launch!

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The Modi government’s decision on Tuesday, November 9, made public at 8pm, created a panic of sorts. Two currency notes of 500 and 1000 were scrapped from midnight. While some appreciated the move, others were sceptic about its efficacy. Ekta tells us, how as a housewife, this currency change affected her. She opined that those who are old, retired, or are staying alone would feel the pinch. There are some who have weddings and other functions at home, while few others are unwell. The elders can’t go to the ATM all the time so they had kept a good amount of cash with them. There are many who are not physically strong enough to run around to the bank or ATMs and might not have any credit cards will surely have a tough task ahead. How will they manage their urgencies and mundane chores? “Can they get any kind of subsidy or grace period to exchange their old currency or some external help?  After all, their next generation is not staying with them and their bones are feeble to stand in a long queue,” she asks, in an humane appeal, exclusively in Different Truths.

November 8, night by 9o’clock, the beeps of WhatsApp messages were frequently buzzing. I couldn’t believe the first instance that from November 9, 2016, onwards the government has banned all old 500 and 1000 rupee currency notes. A good move by the government to tackle all the black money, in and around the country.


Also, an initiative to make our country little free from corruption and I just hope it will one day. I am settled in Bangalore, an IT city and my husband too is a person, who works for the IT sector. I don’t know how many really know about Bangalore but it’s been 11 years here and I can proudly call myself as Bangalorean.

The best part of Bangalore is that you just don’t need much of cash to roam around. To shop, to buy, and to travel, everything can be bought with your plastic money. Credit card, debit card, food card and a myriad of online money transfer app, which will give your wallet or purse a relaxed feel. You just do not need to fix as many notes and coins for every corner you go or stop. And if you are working with corporate then everything is black and white. You know how much you spend, save and pay as income tax.

But the struggle for every common person doesn’t go easy with every rule. I am also a common woman and can’t escape from it. The first thing I checked after this announcement as how much cash I am having. To be very honest, I generally don’t keep much of cash, as I really don’t need it. Most of my work or purchases are through credit card or online transaction. Seldom I use cash for LPG or local vendors. That also I can always take out cash anytime, as the ATM is just next to our building.

For the last few days, I was planning to get my hair trimmed with a nearby salon. So today I picked my younger one from school and headed towards it. The first question I asked the lady, “Are you accepting 500 or 1000 notes?” Promptly she said, “No.” Even her credit card machine was out of order. Anyways, I frantically moved to another adjacent shop to get change. If possible? He was the vegetable vendor, though air-conditioned one. Again my first question, “Will you accept 500 or 1000 notes?” He said, yes but you have to shop minimum for 200 rupees. I agreed, picked up a basket and started shopping for unwanted things. Oh! I never did this in my life. Just for the sake of few hundreds and a good hairdo.

I shopped for Rs. 250 and he (not so happily) gave me the change. In fact, I was happier than him by spending more for unwanted things.

Then again I rushed to the salon for the pending work. She was indeed happy that the lost customer is back with the same zeal and with change too. Or I was the only one customer at that moment.

After my hair cut, I gave all the change to her, all hundreds, tens, coins and indeed that time she was happier than me. Wow! So much of change!

The effect  was still on,  when my elder kid’s dance teacher, who is always joyous to collect money from us for fees, straightaway  sent the message to the whole group ,” Please transfer the money online”. Actually, no one wants to take calculated risk for 500 and 1000 currency notes and who has some time to stand in a long queue in the bank while all ATM s are temporarily shut.

I think this is the first time in life when people are happy with smaller currency notes, rather than the big ones.

I know the change is for good but didn’t know the side effects of immediate effect policy. I know many people around who are old, retired, staying alone too. There are some who have weddings or other functions at home, while some are unwell. The older group can’t go to the ATM all the time so they had kept a good amount of cash with them. I am still in thirty’s and certainly can manage things by hook or crook or by running around. Though hair cut was not indeed a priority but I got it. I think of all those who are not physically strong enough to run around bank or ATMs and not having any credit cards too will surely have a tough task ahead. How will the manage their urgencies and mundane chores? I can see the struggle on each day they do themselves and this is just an add-on.

Can they get any kind of subsidy or grace period to exchange their old currency or some external help?  After all, their next generation is not staying with them and their bones are feeble to stand in a long queue.

I am still in a little better situation as I don’t keep much cash, neither do I have any urgency or any occasion where I need to worry about liquid money but for a while, I can surely feel the pain of many caused by this big money change.

©Ekta Shah

Pix from the Net.


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