Let me tell you the saga of my life.
I’ve been kept in a wrapper for past few weeks by a family. Allow me to share with you the discussions I’ve heard from folks in this house.
Ever since I’ve entered the house people are endlessly talking on one subject – ‘demonetization’.
It’s a family of three generations: grandparents, parents and two children.
Grandma praised recent demonetization and said – great job done by Modi. All the people with black-money will have to pay the price of looting the country for so long. She liked the emergency in 1975 – people were disciplined, trains came on time. Although she does not know Indira Gandhi did not want to ‘demonetize’ though she was advised in those days!
Grandpa had a mixed feeling – we will have to wait and see what happens. The big fish will not have that many problems. Only the small ones are in trouble. Though the PM took a bold step – the bureaucrats will derail his mission.
The wife of the house says – dad – you don’t know what is happening on the streets. Long lines. Too many people suffering. ATMs don’t have money. So many people died.
The husband joins – ‘there are some exaggeration about people dying. But long line? That’s OK. One great thing has happened – our expenses have significantly gone down. We used to buy so many unnecessary things. Now we are saving.’
Their son in college says – it is OK – for the sake of the country we need to tolerate these challenges. All of us doing our bit.
The youngest – the little girl innocently asked a strange question. ‘Has Modi-ji stood in the line?’ Everybody were taken aback! Surely, Modi-ji does not have to use notes at all. Everything is taken care for him!
Then the grandma pointed out that even his mother stood in the line to withdraw money from the bank!
These are the discussions they have. This family is a lower middle class job-dependent household.
But I’ve an unbelievable experience for last few weeks I wanted to share with you.
My journey started from the printing shop. I will reveal the name of the city shortly though top secret. Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL) does the job for the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
India was outsourcing the printing of money to other countries such as Denmark and Britain. But can you imagine the volume and the cost – both for printing and for securely bringing it to India?
In 2015 Modi announced ‘make in India,’ so why should not the money be also printed in India? You see, he has been planning the whole thing for a long time. He told RBI that all money had to be printed in India. The challenge however is that India had to import special paper and ink from other countries. Modi said ‘make in India’!
Shh! I was printed in Mysuru, Karnataka. Oh my god – what an emergency operation – 24X7… I’ve heard the paper of my body and the ink on me are all finally made in India.
The British folks used to print from UK-based Thomas De La Rue starting from 1862. Then they started to print in Nasik, Maharashtra in 1920. In 1975, a 2nd press was established in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh. But around 1997 the demand became so high that these two presses could not handle any more. India went to American, Canadian, and European companies. It was a huge security risk and also costly. Some people suspect that some insiders also ‘benefited’ from these ‘out of the view’ notes! Later, India established few more presses including the one I’m born at, Mysuru.
And the paper? Don’t ask me all the tough questions. When I was born before any ink-mark on me, I was in the neighboring Mysuru paper mill. My cousins, I’ve heard came from the Security Paper Mill in Hoshangabad, MP. Please stop now – don’t ask me about ink. If it is true, is embarrassing that some of my cousins bled once washed! The fact is we are now ‘Made in India’ only!
After the ink dried on me, we were bundled together with 50 of my siblings and put in heavy metal boxes. Our suffocation ended once we reached the secured RBI location. Next day we had the first taste of flying on a plane. Reached Kolkata. Remember, the British started here! I was finally in a local bank branch. They put some of us in an ATM – but we were little bigger – hence they took us out. Back to the vault. Next morning we were taken out. Oh my god – what a line of people! 200? Everyone has the old smelly notes. Do you know that within a short time what a note gathers on her? Well, also the picture of Gandhiji?
First, think what you have touched before giving out a note? Unwashed food on your fingers? Oh I like that. Some salt? I like that too. But I don’t like the saliva from your mouth every time you count me!
How about some cocaine? Yes – I do endure it as I did only last week. A street seller gave me to a buyer. A young son of a rich businessman in the town got out of a Mercedes. He gave me to the seller. First time I tasted it – the seller gave the bag to this guy and dusts from his fingers covered me! Then I went to this whole-seller of drugs. He even rolled me as a straw and sniffed cocaine. Then same night he came to a hotel. We entered the room and there she was – a beauty-queen! I thought a girlfriend – but was not! At end, guess what I was soaked in? Know –I can’t talk about it – just filth, pure filth. But the worse was – the woman went to the bathroom and took me out hidden in her bosom to count after finishing the toilet. Guess what touched me again? Feces! Yes – pathogens like staphylococcus and may be some STD germs such as Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, syphilis etc.. are on me since then! Not sure if I have tuberculosis yet – she was constantly coughing!
I have some RDX and gun-powder on me as well. The lady from the hotel then went to meet the land lord of the dreaded gang of Kidderpore. And I’m sure one of them was a terrorist. He gave me to the arms dealer to buy an automatic weapon.. he was talking to someone in Bangladesh about their next plan. He also mentioned about cow smuggling. I was shocked when he mentioned that Pakistan had a serious set-back on their fake currency making ventures for financing terrorism.
Finally, I came to the house of a politician who sponsors the gangs! The politician talked to a bank manager to deposit all the money along with me to his account.
Next day a guy from the politician’s party came to get me. Early morning. He put me in his pocket and went to the market. I was now at a fish market. The lady selling fish had her hand soaked in fish water and took me and put me under her dirty mat! On her way back home she went to the butcher to buy some meat. This time I became literally blood-stained!
The next day – the guy went to the office of a government officer. The meat-seller’s mother was waiting for the pension of her husband for months. He gave me and some others to the officer so that mother gets the pension.
I don’t know if it worked out or not but I was taken out again to travel with a guy to a faraway island. I saw little girls are crying. Figured later – they were kidnapped and were to be sold for flesh traffic. It was a very sad scene. I was tucked into a bag along with some other bills, payment for the poor girls! I was deposited in his bank account and went straight to the dark and cold vault.
Next day I was picked up by the son of this home from the bank after two long hours standing in line.
It is well known that – among few dirtiest things in our civilized society are bathroom door knobs, bathroom faucets and shopping cart handles. And guess what is the dirtiest? Money!
Heard that a metal coin is dirtier than the toilet seat! A University of Oxford research found that the average European banknote contains 26,000 bacterial colonies and UK notes were among the dirtiest – along with Denmark’s krone, Russia’s ruble and the Austrian euro.
In any case, I say, keep some hand-sanitizer with you before you touch me again. And how about the bank ATM keyboard and screen? If you ever get slightly high after withdrawing some money from an ATM – don’t be surprised – the cocaine, other dirt and the germs on my body will gush into your nose!
And best bet is – leave us alone. Dirty your bank cards, and not us! That way country is also clean off dirty black money! But don’t’ call me ‘dirty’ – I was clean before you touched me.. clean your hearts please!
Do you wash your hands after touching me? I know you respect me as Devi Lakshmi – don’t step on me, I always get to touch people’s forehead! But what a hypocrite you humans are – no problem making me dirty when need arises! Perhaps the ancients in India did not envision this phenomenon of ‘dirty paper bills’ – else they would have suggested to keep it out of the house, especially away from the children. After all they recommended to worship money along with Lakshmi, but of course not the dirty incarnation of it today!
In ‘Bhaja Govindam’ Adi Sankaracharya said: ‘artham anartham’ – ‘money and wealth not necessarily bring welfare, there is no everlasting joy in it. .. A rich man fears even his own son. This is the way of wealth everywhere. Distribute your wealth in charity to the poor and the needy.’
Finally, one sobering moment came in my life – I ended up in a charity organizations hand – helping poor for literacy. My life became meaningful to know about the future of my use. But that is a rare feat for the dirty ones like me!
I’m happy to share this with you – please share it with Modi.
I’m a new 2000 rupee note! Though many of us like you will wait and see how his demonetization impacts the world, I don’t want to be in PM Modi’s pocket – because I want him to remain ‘clean’!