My Take On Demonetization

Demonetization – This is one word that has catapulted from being in the dark confines of the Oxford Dictionary & the jargon of economists to being in the light of household utterances of every Indian in the past 20 days. It’s been the buzzword in every conversation – be it tea-shop tête-à-têtes over Twitter hashtags.

True to the first five letters of the word, it struck everyone at the most unexpected moment. There aren’t many who were spared from experiencing the effects and the impact – in a gap of three hours, ATMs that had always been taken for granted, had become a luxury. Bank jobs that have been always perceived as relaxed, had become the most stressed profession. Petrol Pumps and Medical Shops saw a sudden surge in their business. People who had hoarded loads of money were now left with nothing more than stashes of pine-pulp paper. To put these in a zipped format, the Nation’s fate in the economic front had been mutated in a matter of hours.

A few citizens heralded it as one of the greatest-ever moves in the history of Indian (or maybe even, Global) Economy. It is true to a considerable extent – papers (We can no longer call them ‘money’) have been burnt, black money hoarders have been experiencing sleepless nights, and crorepatis were plummeted to the state of the middle class.

I am never gonna comment about the bad-effects of demonetization – people like Kejriwal have discussed it enough, and I don’t have the patience and the guts to face the fans who have an excuse and an explanation for everything the Prime Minister does. However, I’ve only had a few questions (Not Allegations or blames) that have been haunting my mind. I only ask these because of my curiosity on why these weren’t done, my ignorance on higher-level economics, and as a citizen who, in spite of all the ‘benefits’ of demonetization, would like to explore better possibilities & avenues:

  1. Why INR 2000 notes before the new INR 500 notes? When spending INR 100, isn’t it easier to get a change of 3 notes of 500 and 4 notes of 100 than looking out for 19 notes of 100?
  2. Why not make the new notes in the same dimensions as the old notes? Wouldn’t it be easier for the ATMs to dispense them as the sizes have been pre-calibrated? It would have been just a mass software update for ATMs and not an individual hardware update!
  3. If there can be new INR 500 notes, why not new INR 1000 notes? We’re moving towards a cashless economy, and notes of higher denomination are not an absolute necessity! In fact, there are chances that the black money, in the long run, might start getting hoarded up again, albeit in a more compact fashion!!
  4. Aren’t there ways to have the notes delivered to the banks and ATMs on a war-time basis by mobilizing special aircrafts & secure vehicles? Didn’t the Government know the ratio of the Number of Banks to the Number of Citizens, and consequently, the time it might take to get their own money to or from the banks, or the importance of cash in a country that ran almost fully on a cash-based economy until 8th of November?
  5. Jio was endorsed for no good reason!! Anticipating this cash-crunch, shouldn’t there have been an endorsement for a bank-agnostic cashless transaction app like PayTM, or maybe even promote an app or at least, have some system in place that would have helped the small-scale businesses and the unorganized sector? That would have put all the buyers and sellers…even the small scale ones at ease!

Before people jump into conclusions, I’d like to clearly and explicitly state that I’m surely not against demonetization – I’m proud and happy that the Prime Minister, the Reserve Bank, and a few other names that did not see the light of TRPs have been gutsy enough to execute this in a day that was more than perfect!

However, the problem in the execution was the way, the preparedness, and the lack of foresight. When Metropolitans like Chennai haven’t been able to fully recover from the impact, how will the Tier 2 and 3 Cities, and the villages even cope?

I think I’m intelligent enough to ask questions, but I’m sure I’m not intelligent enough to assume there might be assuring answers, leave alone finding one! I only hope that this chaos returns to order soon. Until then, let us be thankful to the Rule that reinstated the values of patience, perseverance, hope and frugality, in addition to making us realize the evils of black economy!

The Customary JAI HIND!!

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The Rusted Tricycle

As I walked around the house that I used to call ‘Home’ a few years ago, something familiar caught my eyes…yes, there’s no error here – just that the ‘familiar’ seemed so unfamiliar now.

I slowly walked towards that  red door…well, I remember it was red, but now, only a few patches of faded red were visible. In those few steps, my inner eye saw a time-warp of a few years of my past, when I had played around there, some little plastic-bat cricket, some hide-and-seek, and some small-level LARPs.

It was the area in front of the motor room – the constant baritone of the motor’s buzz, perfectly harmonized by the splashing water from the pipe outside kept echoing in my ears, only to be broken by the mild squeak of the rusty hinges of the door and I pushed it ajar.

Silently sleeping in the corner of the poorly lit room was a rust-pimpled blue tricycle. The metal seat would no longer provide the comfortable seating it used to. The pedals would not budge from their long-fixed positions without an extra force. The tricycle lay awkwardly perched between boxes of I-don’t-know-what-memories-they-contain.

I thought I will, with some carefully-strategised steps, reach out for the tricycle, carry it out and clean the rusts and probably sit on it for once at least. The stench of wet and untouched-for-ages rotting wood took over my olfactory senses. I missed my step a bit and landed my bare sole on cockroach-eggs strewn around the floor – not a very comfortable or pleasing feel.

The once-pleasant buzz of the motor now was growing uneasy on me. Battling all the disturbances in my head, and discomforts for my body, I reached out for the tricycle’s bar with the tip of my index, and the rust gave me a sharp scratch on my finger, not enough to draw blood, but enough to hurt enough to withdraw my hand.

Not very pleased with the outcome of my attempt, I retreated to the threshold. The stench began to fade, the tricycle was not that visible and my feet were safe on cement floors, and the door-hinges still emitted that squeak.

I took a breath of some fresh air, latched that red door and moved a good distance from there. The motor sound was heavily muffled, overpowered by the sound of the splashing waters. Everything was in stark contrast to what things were moments before – bright, fresh and comfortable.

But again, somwhere deep in the only-accessible-to-me corner of my heart, there lay a tinge of regret that I could not get what I wanted.

This is exactly what happens when I try to recollect my childhood. The memories are evergreen-yet-rusted, so near, yet so far from reach. The path I tread to access them is not so pleasant. I find myself deafened by the disturbances around, and sometimes it hurts…seriously hurts!

However, all that I can do is, as practical people call it, ‘snap back to reality’ and bask in the pleasure that I have such memories to treasure, knowing that trying to regret over not being able to live them again will only increase the hurt and inconveniences.

So what!?!? I might never get to ride on those three wheels again, but I can drive on a snazzy 4 wheels and ride on a macho 2 wheels! But I will continue to miss that old rusted tricycle!!

 

The Closed Door

I’ve always talked about my days in Hyderabad. Little have I talked about a home that I can always look forward for the doors to be open whenever I come there. However, it isn’t long before that ‘era’ closed down to not only my access, but for everyone who ever had even a small bit of memory associated with that beautiful flat. Here’s my tribute in words to that amazing place I consider(ed) as my second home in Hyderabad – Flat Number 204, Skill Skylight Apartments, Anand Nagar, Hyderabad!!

Scaling up the flights o’ stairs,
I reached the second floor.
Drenching me in nostalgic airs
Was this famous closed door.

Seven years of sweet memories,
Before my eyes, they flashed.
My thoughts swayed in that pleasant breeze
Awed at all that I’d cached.

Through the silences in my head
Cries of laughter echoed
Enough of it can never be said
‘Bout the joys that it bestowed

Those walls, I think, would never have known
The meaning of being alone
But now, all what in that void, shone –
The galores of the times agone!

I stepped out of the apartment
A heavy heart, I bore
Very few will get what it meant!
Thank you Two-Zero-Four!!

What’s there in an Inked Finger??!?!

Just a day after the General Elections in my state, and I feel content, having that tiny blot of ink on my finger…and the ink outlasts Governments these days!

On the day I left Bangalore, I saw the Tamil Nadu-bound buses had people spilling out of the doors…almost akin to the festive seasons of Diwali or Pongal. I was immensely happy to see the crowds – there’s actually some awareness and an uprising – or maybe it should be called a revolution, considering how complacent we always were.

What bothers me more about this Election is being ‘marketed’…literally! With hoards of amounts spent on advertising, any Government that comes to power will look to get a good ‘Return’ on their Investments. What is even more surprising is that Politicians have realized that star-power is nothing in front of social power. Political propaganda has become elite – the TV debates gain high TRP ratings, stray wall-graffiti has been transformed to high-rise billboards and hoardings, roadside rants have been partly-yet-effectively replaced by Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

There has also been a drive – a drive of considerably high magnitude – that encouraged people to vote. Though the results were not proportional, it was at least acceptable! Me being closely associated to someone who was a part of this drive gives me immense happiness!

In all this, there’s something that made me sad – it’s about how effective the ‘marketing’ was. Voting was promoted to much that people thought it was an awesome thing to vote…it pretty much is! But people posting pics of their inked fingers on Facebook was something much more than expected…something on the lines of ‘My BBM Pin is….’

Citizens of my country have come to realize that voting is their right… and that’s how it’s defined in our archaic, heavily-red-taped Constitution. Only when people realize that it’s not just their right but also a duty to vote, will India see a good population of Citizens (A good Government still remains uncertain though!)

How inclined are we to perform our duties? As Kamal Haasan/Shankar have said in ‘Indian,’ India is a place where people have to be bribed to do their duty, as opposed to other countries where you have to bribe only when you need to get something done beyond duty!

So long 2014! You were an eye-opener. Waiting for you 2016 and 2019….but a little less drama please!!

The Self-Proclaimed Righteous!

I just happened to see something weird on my Facebook Newsfeed – a pic taken on a Delhi Metro coach, of two men (‘gentlemen’ as stated in the post) seated on the Ladies’ seat, not letting a woman with a child sit down! Not very typical in Delhi Metro – I don’t see women being repellent to men at socially acceptable levels, and men are ready to offer their seats to ladies in need, even the general seats. Hence, I surely will not take the issue in the face-value.

However, what bothers me is the photograph in itself – was that clicker thinking of himelf as someome with a halo over their head? What was the expected outcome in making that pic socially viral? – the post says ‘Let’s make these assholes famous. Shall we? Share away!’ – What kinda stupidity is this? What is gonna happen by making them ‘famous’…or infamous? What hurts me even more is the fact that there are over a thousand shares for this pic!!

I think there’s something wrong – about the posted pic, and the extent of social shares. I get it – those men have done something unacceptable, though not necessarily wrong. A simple way out would have been to just ask them to get up and leave the seat for the ladies; either the ladies could have asked it, or the saviour who clicked the pic. It is something more effective – that would have gotten those ladies their comfort, leave aside their right. What has this pic done? Made two people famous – and it hasn’t gotten a seat for those ladies who were still standing. There isn’t much chance that the pic will reach everyone. Even if it does, it won’t be long before these faces are forgotten, and it will be just a matter of a li’l more time before the next time the same thing happens – maybe even the same men might do it.

I believe the impact on the men would have been better if only they’d been asked to get up – even if they aren’t prompt or chivalrous, the sheer shame of being seated there would have gotten them off their seats! But why wasn’t that done??

We’re (Yes, that includes me) bent on defaming the causers of the the issue, than actually curbing the issue, even if a solution exists right there, and can be implemented with utter ease! But we refuse to do that – even on larger scales and larger arenas. As long as we keep playing the blame-game and this social defaming, nothing is gonna change. To that noble soul who was intelligent and awesome enough to click that pic and make it reach at least 1000 people (who might not even read this), why don’t you try something more useful and effective? I’d like to quote Guy Fawkes here, “An Activist is not the man who says the river is dirty! The Activist is the man who cleans the river!!”

…and btw, what you’ve done is a crime too! FYI, it’s against the rules to photograph in Delhi Metro!

Rajinikanth and Physics

It’s quite known that Rajinikanth defies Physics in every level, but here’s how our thalaivar defies core Physics. From a fan of Physics and Rajini sir:

1) Rajinikanth knows ‘precisely’ the momentum and position of anything.
2) Rajinikanth knows if Schroedinger’s Cat is alive or not. (If the cat was a villain, it’s surely dead by now!)
3) Rajinikanth makes like poles attract each other.
4) Rajinikanth went on a space tour…went into a Black Hole, AND CAME OUT OF IT!
5) Rajinikanth knows the last digit of Pi.
6) Rajinikanth is a source of perpetual energy.
7) “Instantaneous” is defined as the time interval between the moment Rajinikanth decides to kill you, and Rajinikanth kills you.
8) What’s the reason for very minimal number of UFO sightings in India?? You know the answer!
9) The stare of Rajinikanth can make you freeze….down to -273.16 degree-celsius.
10) The power of Rajinikanth’s punches is measured in Megatons.
11) Higgs Boson will be named as Rajinion.
12) The Universe is expanding…still in the process of moving as far every other thing can, from Rajinikanth.

20 Things to Do in Chengalpattu

Things to do in Chengalpattu

1) Enjoy a morning sunrise at Kolavai Lake, preferably from the railway overbridge.

2) Stand in the so-called queue and get breakfast from Mani’s cafe.

3) Play cricket in the scorching sun at the Medical College grounds.

4) Take a bike ride around Chengalpattu, covering the bye-pass. (Trust me…it’s as scenic as Ooty!)

5) Enjoy an early morning/late night coffee or tea at the tea shops near the new bus stand.

6) Take a dip in the palar river (If you’re lucky, you might find running water)

7) Put some kadalai with your crush/love at Ramar Koil premises and around.

8) Take a morning walk at the Medical College grounds. Feel young like the uncles and aunties around.

9) Relish on the local version of the Pani Puris that you’ll find at a stone-throw distance from anywhere in Chengalpattu.

10) Park your bike in the railway station between 8 AM and 10 AM, (or try taking your bike out between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM)

11) Have badam fruit mix at TST (Nobody cares about the new name!)

12) Get lost in the Dussehra crowds, and treat yourself to appalam and other dussehra-exclusive stuff.

13) Attend a meeting in KRC Grounds, be it a Christian meet or an arasiyal meet; just for the fun of it.

14) Take an occasional visit to the Mahindra World City, and marvel at the fact that such a sophisticated place exists so close to Chengai.

15) Take a super-crowded town bus to go from the bus stand to Hospital. Get drenched in the rural scent of the people in the bus.

16) Watch the sunset from the Bye pass road.

17) Visit the fish market, bargain for the best rate and buy it all battling the stinks.

18) Have lime soda/sarbath/ginger in the nair shop near mani goondu.

19) Take a share auto from anywhere to anywhere, and pay only INR 5x (x<4).

20) Have dinner at the Vaigai/Nellai motels and experience authentic local Tamil Nadu tastes in the parotta varieties and egg-preparations.