Skip to main content

Demonetisation and Me

Demonetisation touched the lives of millions of Indians  recently
Imagine if you suddenly learned that the money in your purse had lost its value?

I couldn’t believe it when the autowala (taxi driver) told me that 500 rupee and 1000 rupee notes were banned. With immediate effect! I had one of each in my purse and apart from a few tenners and a fifty, they were all I had. Okay, I exaggerate, but for the monthly salaried, payday was too far into the future. It was only the 8th of November, for heaven’s sake! I wondered for a moment if it was, in fact, April the first. Then I dismissed the autowala’s news as mere speculation.

I’d grabbed a three-wheeler taxi (which some quaintly call the ‘tuc tuc’) to collect my son from his friend’s house. But as our family sat down to dinner that evening, with one eye on the 24-hour news channel, the autowala’s information was confirmed. The Indian government had banned the 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

How did it affect me?

I didn't have enough cash in smaller denominations, like fifties and hundreds. So everyday tasks like buying vegetables and paying the dhobin (the lady who does my ironing) were difficult. We have an account in the local corner shop, so we got our bread and milk on credit. But jumping into a three-wheeler to get out and about wasn’t possible now. Going a reasonable distance meant shelling out between fifty and eighty rupees and well, who had change? It’s amazing how life slowed down. Hundreds, fifties and tenners, where were they? My daughter, a university student in Delhi, felt the crisis keenly. Living in a rented room, far from home, she had a store of useless banknotes and no cash to buy a samosa or a tube of toothpaste.

How did it affect others?

One morning, my cleaning lady didn’t turn up. I called her on her mobile to find out why. Where was she? Standing in a bank queue with her husband. The couple had taken their life savings (in demonetised 500 and 1000 notes) to the bank in the hope of redeeming their treasure, on which their future possibly depended.  The poor had to queue for days and some unfortunate people even died in the queue. Some people broke down crying. We read in the newspaper of a pregnant woman going into labour and producing a baby in the bank queue. The lines in front of ATM machines stretched down the street.

There's a reason behind this

The Government of India took this extreme measure which is harsh in the short term but which will hopefully, reap dividends in the future. Lots of people had been keeping undeclared income at home, to avoid paying their taxes. This was the way of calling them in. The long bank queues were full of people trying to redeem the value of their precious notes. Meanwhile, the cash shortage caused terrible problems.

Back to normal, but wary now

Gradually, the cash has returned and life seems normal again. But some things have changed. When I recently banked some new cash which my husband had kept in the house, he was extremely annoyed. I couldn’t understand why. Eventually, I understood that cash is still not easily available. As a stay at home wife,  I haven’t experienced the despair of waiting for hours in the queue to discover the ATM machine is empty, nor have I had to go out looking for cash to feed my family.

At least not yet. I'm luckier than many.

Image courtesy of


Popular posts from this blog

Good Intentions

I had great intentions for this week.  I'd write a thousand words every day, review six books, get my Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) post up well in advance.  And did I?  No, no, no.  I wrote about two hundred words per day and have been trying to read and review two books and still not finished reading.  My target of 19,000 words until today by now is around 15,000 on my 100kWords in 100 Days Challenge.  It seems I'm just not cutting the mustard.

I have the intentions.  I just don't seem to have the mojo to carry out the things I want to do. So many intentions, not enough time.  I've not been sleeping well lately.  Probably very tired.

So - my intention now is to try to get more sleep.  Then carry out the original intentions.That' what I intend to do.  As of now.  Meanwhile, my post is up one day late.

I had to go out to the bank this morning to get some pending work finished.  I clicked the above picture en route.  It seems that after a three week winter, we're…

The Curse of Poverty - Short Story

As the dawn light spread its fingers across the early morning, Rajji stirred uneasily.  She tended to sleep like a street dog - ever alert, with one ear open.  But she'd been tired the previous night and as a consequence had slept rather heavily. Her life was a constant struggle, filled with tasks and responsibilities. If she hadn't been careful, she might have been robbed!  She sprang into alert mode and clutched about her person.  No, everything was in place, the precious money was undisturbed.  Thanks to her employment with the bank, cleaning for one hour every morning, six days a week, she even had a bank account which one of the bank employees had helped her to set up.  What little money she had saved up was safe.....

She looked over her children.  Babu, her son lay sleeping still.  Muniya, her daughter, stirred, close to waking up.  But where was Gudiya, her youngest child?  Might have woken up early and gone to wander around.  Gudiya knew everyone around here and every…

Global Peace - Is It Possible? LBC Post

I can't believe it's Friday already and time for another LBC post.  The Loose Blogger's Consortium (LBC) is a blogging group consisting of about half a dozen of us who blog together every Friday on the same topic.  We are indebted to Ramana (aka blogger Rummuser) for this week's topic.  Instead of just giving a straightforward topic like anyone else would, he posed a question instead.  Is global peace possible? he asked.  I decided to answer his question in a Tweet sized sentence.

Is global peace possible?  Of course it is. If everyone gets in harmony with each other.   But will it happen?  How on earth would I know?

As we say in Ireland (well, as they used to say when I lived there two decades ago), that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks to All-Free-Download for the photo.  Thanks to Lettercount for their character counting facilities.  And thanks to my LBC group for being there every Friday in blogging solidarity.