The ban of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 note makes the country on fiscal vacation….writes Bikram Vohra

indian-rupeeThis should have been a military operation, planned on a computer programme by geeks of whom we have a veritable tribe. It should have been incremental and timebound.

The financial makeover should have been placed at the same level as an epidemic and the paramilitary and police should have been pressed into federal service to ensure delivery of notes to the farthest corners of India.

The new currency notes should have been seen like a vaccine being delivered against the pox just like bullets to a frontline army in battle.

Soldiers should have been stationed at every ATM, every bank branch to ensure the safety of money transfers so that ATMs were not damaged. The government should have pressed in private accountants and their staffs to augment the bank strength so that dispensation would have been immediate. The CRPF alone has 235 battalions. Then we have the BSF (2,50,000) ITBP, CISF, SSB, Assam Rifles and Railway Police, to name a few.

There should have been a national emergency for three days.

When euphoria was sky high on Day One after the midnight blow to black money hoarders and other nasties, any warning given that it must be backed by instant infrastructural hyperactivity or else rage would replace the hurrahs was assaulted for being too unreasonable and demanding.

We should all be glad to suffer for the greater good. Fine. Point taken.

Dozens of trolls dished out advice to columnists replete with what they thought of our lineage and the grotesque threats to sundry members of our families.

Since I do not live in India some of the trolls who know this fact screamed vituperative at such a shrill level that it actually worried me.

They told me that I had no right to comment, and to stay out because this was the best thing to happen to India since sliced bread.

Yes, I do have a right to comment. It is Day Four and I don’t have any money in my house in Delhi and a sister who is a patient confined to her bed. I have been fortunate to borrow Rs 400 from the young man who comes to clean the house. He has told me that he has a collection of Rs 10 notes, and that, I should not worry in case a catheter has to be replaced. The dhobi whose son I have helped a couple of times has sent me an SMS saying he is arranging money on a day-to-day basis.

That is my India, these guys are my family, so don’t you tell me what rights I have.

The man who looks after my sister is from Bihar. He stood for six hours on Friday at the bank and failed. He cannot read or write but he is savvy and he is my brother because he has taken out all the Rs 5 coins from a jam jar he keeps in his jhuggi to keep things going, so don’t you be telling me I have no right to comment.

These are the salt of the earth and every one of them has called me to say we will manage.

Even if they have to buy Rs 100 notes for an arguably Rs 140 the surcharge being in Rs 10 notes or coins.

The thing is, I have two thousand rupee notes with me. But I cannot fly to Delhi because I don’t have the money to reach home from the airport. A friend of mine tells me he landed in Delhi and was unable to get a cab and then a scuffle broke out between the cab rank and freelance drivers “misusing” their employer’s cars to make a buck in foreign exchange.

If you have dollars you can make it, I guess, otherwise just go back to the old days of trading. Another traveller got home by giving half a carton of cigarettes to the cabbie. A full bottle of Black Label would probably take you to Noida.

Talk about pharmacies. Show me one that’s taking the old notes.

There was no agreement between the citizen and the government that the limit being doled out would be Rs 2,000 or Rs 4,000 per day. You know what that gets you, meds included? It was supposed to the normal Rs 25,000.

We were told clearly that within 48 hours the Rs 2,000 notes would flow and the new Rs 500 note would be in abundance.

Where are they and when will these limitations end. No one is speaking up.

People say that it takes time for things to work out. Why should it? Either the operation is a success or it has complications.

All I hear are the bells. They ‘troll’ for thee.



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