After four hours of waiting in a queue on Friday when 38-year-old Imtiaz Alam’s got his turn at the cash counter, Jamia Cooperative Bank had exhausted all its paper currency.
The resident of south-east Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh pleaded with the bank officials to give him at least Rs 20,000. He had to buy his child’s winter uniform and visit Goa on an official assignment.
“It is a small bank in the neighbourhood. Most residents are familiar with the bank staff. When I told them that I urgently needed money, they said they only had Rs 10 coins left,” the public relations professional told HT.
The coins, 2,000 of them, were bundled in two polythene bags and handed over to Alam. “The bags weighed 15 kilos each. I had to take an autorickshaw to go back to my house, less half a kilometre away,” he said.
Seeing so many coins, the auto driver, who had not managed to get change for a Rs 2,000 note he had, requested Alam for change. Imtiaz happily obliged.
Alam’s wife, Sana Hashmi, said she was surprised to see him return, accompanied by the autorickshaw driver who carried the bags full of ten rupee coins on his head.
“It was beyond imagination. He later told me he withdrew the money from the bank,” she said.
These days, friends and relatives are lining up for loose change.
“Initially, I was worried how I would deal with so many coins. But as the news spread, neighbours have been coming to my house, asking for change,” Hashmi said.
Ahmed has also been getting several calls from relatives living outside Delhi. They joke that they will visit him just to take a few coins.
People joke with him on Facebook as well. “I have got hundreds of messages on Facebook where people have asked me, ‘Bhai, change milega? (Brother, can you gives us change)’” he said.
With the news going viral on the internet, his friends suggested in jest that he should get armed guards as thieves may try to steal his coins.
So far, he has used the coins to pay a restaurant bill of Rs 800, Rs 100 to a cab driver and Rs 1,000 to his office boy to buy stationary.
Alam will buy the winter uniform soon and will go on the Goa trip next week.