The most spoken about topic in the current times is without doubt the recent demonetization surprise our beloved PM sprung on us one fine evening of November 2016. While the whole concept of demonetization can be termed as a ‘bold step’, whether it pans out to be good or bad only time will tell.
I had just returned back on the 7th of Nov from Bangalore after a happily spent extended Diwali vacations. Leaving back is always a very sad feeling and the only tiny happy streak around it is the extra cash you get from family as goodbye. 😉
So as always this time too when I was leaving dad gave me few notes of 500s for my daily kharcha-paani, which generally I shameless use for shopping rather than my day to day use. I had to pay my hostel fees for the month, and instead of using the cash I already had, I instead went to the ATM to withdraw cash. This was on the evening of 8th Nov around 7:45p.m. Little did I know the next 15 mins would completely change the world upside down (at least for the next few weeks).
I come out of the ATM happy with the cash I have and give me dad the regular cash-withdrawn-from-your-account call. After the call nothing was the same! 😦
I was very confident or rather over-confident that I would somehow be able to convert or make do with the cash I had with me. So in spite of dad (who’s been a banker all life) advising me to go early the next day to the bank to get the notes exchanged or deposited, I decided to go at my own convenience and that it wouldn’t be that ad after all. By the time I reached the bank, the crowd there felt like I’d mistakenly come to the local fair only the happy faces were replaced with angry and shouting customers. That was my first reality check! K Nevertheless, I still somehow steered my way to the counter issuing tokens and guess what… I was too late to be even given tokens! Luckily I still had a few notes of 100s, so here I was now, loaded with soooo much cash and yet my state was no less than a beggar. 😐
The next few days were nothing short of a night mare! My day began with running to the bank in the hope of at least being lucky to get a token. Took me 3 days to finally get one and my luck was such, till early evening my turn hadn’t come and by the time it came, I had class to attend and hence again missed my turn! L After a week I somehow manged to get one set of notes exchanged and that was such a relief, although temporary! And then I stopped trying.
I thought I’ll let the heat pass and once people stop panicking, the situation might cool down but shockingly, even till dare the situation does not seem to have gotten any better. It took me a month to just get my money deposited to my account. ATM machines seem to be shut down permanently. I have lost count of the number of ATMs I’ve checked with the hope of being able to withdraw cash and if I was lucky enough to find one, the number of hours I’ve had to wait in the queue! K And the first time I was able to withdraw cash, the feeling of happiness I had, I felt like I climbed the Makalu Mountain (one of the hardest mountains to climb due to its extremely unpredictable weather) and was back successfully!
I’ve never felt so helpless and money-less in my life ever! Although it seemed like a very strong idea and plan to curb corruption and black money, the execution has been very poorly done. The rich still seem to be rich but the poor have definitely gotten poorer. The local hawkers have been affected so badly. I never thought there’d be a day when I’d see Linking Road so deserted. There were barely any shoppers or hawkers.
Hope the New Year brings with it a better and positive outlook for the people. Hope the Prime Minister does not shower us with more life-changing surprises!