Guest column | Life, soon after demonetisation
I and my wife Neerja look forward to the intellectual hour every morning. This is the time when we browse through newspapers with a cuppa. Invariably, an issue becomes a matter for discussion and graduates to a debate.punjab Updated: Apr 23, 2017 12:14 IST
I and my wife Neerja look forward to the intellectual hour every morning. This is the time when we browse through newspapers with a cuppa. Invariably, an issue becomes a matter for discussion and graduates to a debate. At the end of it, she usually wins, ”Mian, who is more educated?” I don a resigned look after she reiterates by pointing towards the gold medal, strategically placed at eye level at my study, which she was awarded for her MPhil degree.
She had divergent views on DeMo and stands by them till today. Well, DeMo now is history. Things are surely and steadily falling into place, initial tough times notwithstanding. I do not blame her for the way she felt. Her mindset is like most ladies of her generation and prior, ”A bird in hand is worth two in the bush”. Barring mandatory fixed investments, there should be enough liquid cash at hand to provide instant relief and also spell a sense of security. 8pm on November 8 brought the world crashing down for Neerja. She had, over years, accumulated wealth of sorts. And suddenly, it seemed redundant. “Don’t worry sweetheart, it is safe”, I tried consoling her. After a sleepless night, she was at the local bank the next morning with her stri dhan, which was duly deposited. I thought that was the end of her worries and my tension. In fact, it was just a beginning.
“I have a gut feeling that there is more to it than meets the eye” is her unfading premonition. Well read, informed and an ardent viewer of prime time debates, she announced the other day, “Mark my words. Denomination of Rs 2,000 shall be discontinued soon”. As a result, obtaining the said currency is a taboo at home. Raghav, our son, missed his mom’s birthday and wanted to give her a belated gift. “Beta, use Rs 2,000 notes , if you don’t have them take them from me!” Reassurance to the contrary by the government has not allayed her fears. So much for the over educated!
My mother, all of 82, is bold and resolute. Promptly, on November 9, she gave a WhatsApp call to her daughter in the US. “Munna, ethe notebandi hogyi hai. Please send the shagun that we gave for Naina’s (her granddaughter) marriage in old currency for the needful here.” And she summoned me to ensure that the shagun money now lying in New York is taken care of. The packet containing the redundant currency is still to be received . Everyday query by my determined mother continues. And of course, I am praying that the packet, if actually dispatched by my sister is lost in transit and thus, spares me the agony of convincing the old lady that it is a gone case. I am quite sure, my sister and me are on common frequency, to keep our ageing mother in good heart. We now hope it doesn’t turn out to be heart damaging.
Shruti, our daughter-in-law was holding on to an erstwhile Rs 1,000 and a Rs 500 note. “Papa, as a history lesson to your grandchild” was her innocent plea, she being in the family way. She has got rid of them once the government termed possession of old currency a criminal offence. But not before she could capture the redundant wealth and save it in her photo gallery.
In a bid to determine the after effects of DeMo on the masses, I quizzed our maid, “Sharmila, is notebandi se kaafi mushqil hui hongi?” She, not given to a sense of humour, was frank, ”Kaun si notebandi, saab!”
(The writer is a Chandigarh-based freelance contributor. The views expressed are personal.)