Note Ban – Ground Reality

Yesterday, I dared. I dared to go to my nearby bank to exchange a couple of our redundant 500 and 1000 rupee notes. It was the tenth day of note ban in India and our government had again come up with a new twist. Each Indian could exchange upto 2000 rupees old notes.

As I approached our market which had two renowned private banks, I saw alarming long queues. I went to one of the banks where there were 3 queues – one for withdrawal, one for depositing and the last one for exchange. So all in all there were about 100 people already ahead of me in different queues. I was daunted yet I was adamant, I would get my dear old notes changed. Because I had come after quite a time and all those who needed to interact with the banks or ATMs more than me had perhaps already done it by so far.

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In the exchange line, there were almost 15-18 people ahead of me. Soon I learnt some tokens had been distributed for the day’s operations. There were policemen and bank’s guards who soon dismantled my line. Except 2-3 in the beginning of that line, nobody had token and we were told to go away. A constable dismissed almost 12 guys in front and they went without any protest or trying for their right or effort. One particular guy looked like a drug addict who had just wandered into the line. (Now we know what kind of people are standing in those long queues and how is India converting its black-money).

When my turn came, I refused to budge and put up my journalistic arguments. Some officers from the bank came outside and tried to argue with me turn by turn. But soon they learnt (no I had not disclosed them my profession) that I was a tough nut to crack. Soon some other dissenting women were put behind me and a woman’s line was formed.

I went inside the bank, things were yet tough for me. I saw few officers attending calls of people they knew and talks were going on to help out them. A few other ladies who were behind me were also allowed inside and finally they told us notes worth of 1000 would be only exchanged as there was a shortage of cash. We agreed. And I got my two old currency 500 rupee notes exchanged. By the way, like most Indians, I was also attached to the magnificent and much better designed 500 & 1000 rupee old notes!

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