Home 2017 Demonisation of Demonetisation

Demonisation of Demonetisation

written by Bunkumbee June 23, 2017
Demonisation of Demonetisation

I am Bankim Biswas and what I write is a lot of bunkum and wishwash. For instance, it’s bumkum that I’m an old 500 Rupee note. Old, yes I am for sure. But let’s make believe that I’m an old 500 rupee note numbered 5BP 6350JJ signed by someone called Governor YV Reddy.

Today, I lie in my final resting place in some obscure vault of the RBI, awaiting my imminent demise in some shredder that will be purchased by deploying my successors i.e. new notes signed by the new Governor Urjit Patel. While I enjoy my last moments of static bliss, I recollect moments of my younger days when I was virtually in a state of perpetual motion. Right from the time of my birth as a scrap of paper and being coloured green and imprinted with Gandhi photos in a minting press, I’ve been in constant motion.

Remember that Railgaadi song by Ashok Kumar from Ashirvad where Ashok Kumar belts out a rap number and talks about Brahmpur dharampur Dharampur brahmpur Mangalore Bangalore Bangalore mangalore Mandwaa khandwaa Khandwaa mandwaa Raipur Jaipur Jaipur Raipur Taalegaon maalegaon Maalegaon taalegaon Nellore vellore Vellore Nellore Sholapur Kolhapur Kolhapur Sholapur Kukkal dindigul Dindigul kukkal Machhlipatnam bimblipatnam Bimblipatnam machhlipatnam Oongol nandigol Nandigol oongol Koregaon goregaon Goregoan koregaon Namdabad Ahmedabad Ahmedabad namdabad Shautpur jodhpur Jodhpur shautpur. Dada Moni could well have been talking about my travails to all these places and some more, including Mumbai, Jorhat, Paris, Trichy, New York and Islamabad. If there was a frequent flyer award for my ilk, I would have won it hands down!

Right from the time of my birth as a scrap of paper and being coloured green and imprinted with Gandhi photos in a minting press, I’ve been in constant motion.

Nobody really called me by any specific name. Most often, I was referred to as a Paanch Sau ka note. I was often rubber-banded and stapled with my clones where we were collectively labelled as ekpeti and sometimes, even ekkhokha.  Occasionally, I would land into a vault called tijori be longing to Seth Karodimal, where I would be lovingly caressed, fondled and worshipped while Karodimal whispered “Laxm”i in my ears. These were my best times. There was an acre of space in tijoris where I could lie and rest with my legs outstretched. From the tijori, my onward journey was generally in cleavages of all hues-from the ample one of the sethani to the dusky one of Munnibai (Sethji’s favourite kothewaali). The rest of my sojourn was not always as bright and rosy. I would get folded and crumpled in dingy wallets and purses, oiled and greased at gas stations, katha-fied and chuuna-fied at paan shops, cemented and plastered at construction sites, ravished and thrown in gambling dens and circulated around the face of a coy bride and then hurled at the band bajaawalaa who would trumpet out “aaj mere yaar ki shaadi hai”.

In-between my parleys between politicians’ mithai boxes and wrapped in newspapers, and the bank, I was called black, I was called white and I swear that I’ve stayed green all along. My colour was decided and proclaimed by the taxman and the hawala operator and my colour was often “converted” depending on which side of the tax filing date I was in!

In short, my life was full of ups and downs, highs and lows, trials and tribulations, but eventful to the hilt. I was respected, worshipped, sought, coveted, longed for and loved. There were a few other homo-papiers that were respected more than me. Like my big brother-that orange fella called ek hajaarka note or the cheque leaf or the tender document. But I was more commonplace and won more hearts than these other paper tigers.

In-between my parleys between politicians’ mithai boxes and wrapped in newspapers, and the bank, I was called black, I was called white and I swear that I’ve stayed green all along.

On 8th November, 2 cataclysmic events shook the world. 2 great nations went from black to white. USA got Trumped and India got Modified. It was hilarious, not Hillary-ous. I was told that my fun and games were over. I was soon not-to-be. To be or not to be was not an option anymore. I was to become a kaagaz ka tukda all over again. Khaali haath aaya hai aur khaali haath jayeg aaccording to pearls of wisdom in Aziz Nazaqawaalis. Exactly 40 years ago, during the infamous emergency, there was an equally infamous nasbandi program that cut off an important part of your anatomy to control the population’s urges. Now, there was this notebandi program that would cut off all urges of the population. All of it.

Fie! Fie! Cried the detractors. You’ll all stand in long queues till you drop dead. You will not have anything to eat because nobody will give you anything to eat. Business will drop dead. You’ll lose your jobs. You will not be able to marry off your daughters because the caterers will not accept cheques. Something called the GDP and something else called the growth rate will drop some multi-zillion percent into nothingness. Shunya. Void. Aryabhat’s ZERO. More nihilist than the Buddha. Things will be so bad that you will not know how to pelt stones at Modi because you cannot find any stone pelters, they’re all standing in ATM queues with you. And how will you buy stones to throw? With sticks? And how will you buy sticks? With Paytm?

This was disruptive technology at its vicious best. Grab a bull by its horns and turn it into a rodeo-come-lately called Jallikattu. Some cried Hitler and some cried Tughlak. And while I was taken out on the streets, what I saw was not what I was told. For starters, it was not my last journey. I was traded in kirana shops who swore to accept my clan members till the last day. We were declared legit at gas stations, at electricity offices and at hideouts of “converters” who bought 100 of us for 71 new offsprings. Orange bhai was replaced by a pansy pink half in size and twice in denomination. My own green successor was a puny, yet green and Gandhi-ed version of me. We were down, but not out. The nation that knew how to survive a shock survived with a dogged resolve to cleanse itself.

We were declared legit at gas stations, at electricity offices and at hideouts of “converters” who bought 100 of us for 71 new offsprings.

Yes, some people did die standing in queues, just as they would have died sitting in their armchairs had notebandi not happened. Is this the first time anyone died due to a weak heart? Yes, people had to stand in queues in the “bitter cold” of the winter.Have you not seen them standing in queues in the scorching sun or the pouring rain? Why is winter bad? Would you rather punish them in April after UP elections are over?

People went through so much hardship to draw money from banks to eat and survive.

 Wait a minute! First, you say that people don’t have money to eat. Now, you say that they have lakhs that are rendered useless. You say that India’s PPP per capita income is INR 7579 per week. And you ask how an Indian can survive on 24 thousand a week? Roll it back! Demonetization is hardship. It causes anguish and pain. Ok wise guy! Roll back the cars from the roads. Some of them cause accidents and death. Off with the cars, is it?

What is this digital-shitigal economy? I do not know how to press #9919# on my smartphone? How will a poor farmer know how to?

Arey baba! Don’t underestimate these guys. Does not your driver Bajireddy Vithal Reddy send you a friend request on FB? Does not your maid Kankamma send you a GIF image on WhatsApp applying virtual colours to your face during holi? These guys Paytm at paan shops and houses of ill repute. Get real. Grow up like the rest of India and the so-called down trodden. Dish your arrogance and intellectual conceit and shove it where it belongs. Kill it with the rest of us in RBI vaults. We are changing. Change with us or perish.

I often look back and marvel at how ideas have changed. I am matter, green matter earned by guys with grey matter.

I often look back and marvel at how ideas have changed. I am matter, green matter earned by guys with grey matter. I have 3 dimensions. Length, breadth and height. I also have weight and have had a timeline ever since the timeline word was invented. Above all, I’ve always been a piece of paper. But according to the wisdom of some environmentalists, I’m a tree that has been criminally cut. I have to now yield to new concepts called bandwidth, kilobytes, smartphone apps, wi-fi, digital economy, cashless economy, legit economy… You can savour Kalkatta meetha paan, pick it out with a toothpick, and gargle it off with red wine while you drive an Uber back home while ordering petunias for Charu and chaat masala for your wife with a few simple mouse clicks and smart phone taps. Before papyrus aka paper was invented, we were copper, brass, bronze tokens that would buy safety pins and diapers long before they were invented. And also a free return trip to Cook Islands and back if you knew how to buy a canoe. Paper changed the world. But it knew that it would not last beyond its shelf life. High time we all learn this.

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