Happy Anniversary

Demonetisation completes its one year.

It is a bit of bitter-sweet memories.

I remember there was very little cash I had with me. I had not foreseen how awful the ATM and Bank situations will be. I witnessed long queues in front of all the bank branches and ATM, that were located on my way to work. I saw people getting tired, getting hurt, getting hospitalized. And they still had no cash.

My experience was limited though. I stood in queue for the ATM, with my brother, with 4 ATM cards to try. I had to anxiously wait for 40 minutes; which is nothing, given most of the ATMs were either out of cash or had miles long queues. I tried 2 cards, my brother tried 2. Due to all the anxiety, we both messed up the PIN. Before we could retry, people in the queue started to get restless. That was when I got my first 2000 rs note.

Those 2 notes of 2000 amount to nothing if your household has 4 members. The cash situations in banks and ATMs were still dubious. I had already started ordering from online grocery stores. I paid using card at the local general stores. That did not always work. For some reason, they were reluctant to accept card payments. It got very tiring.

Almost 4 weeks into the cashless world, I finally thought of trying to visit a branch. I started early and reached 15 minutes before branch’s operating hours. There was already a queue, about people in the queue, outside the branch building. I assumed equal number inside the premise. The wait started. One or two people would come out, smiling triumphantly. The security would allow only 2-3 people from the “outside queue” to enter the office. After about 75 minutes I stepped in, and joined the “inside queue”. I had kept the cheque ready, to instantly hand over to the cashier. All this while, I am praying that they don’t run out of funds. That was how it was happening on all other banks’ branches. After what felt like eternity, my turn came. The transaction felt like a blur. Cashier asked me for choice of notes, signed the back of cheque, counted the money and handed over to me.  I slipped everything in my backpack and walked out. I ran to the nearest auto rickshaw. After the rickshaw was on the road, I finally started to believe that it has happened. I had successfully withdrawn money.

It was triumph, indeed.

My treasure

Interestingly, depositing old currency was relatively easier. Two weeks into the process, I went to the nearest branch where I held one saving account. 15-20 minutes in the queue and I had gotten rid of all old, invalid currency.

via Daily Prompt