Stories of Delight and Distress From an ATM Queue
Demonetisation: What started as a pulsating movement has quickly turned into a twitchy cat-and-mouse game.
(Image courtesy: Rajkamal Aich, Network18)
1,2,3,4,5,6,7…..24 women in the queue at the bank!
And the line of men? 1,2,3,4,5….okay I'll pass.
The FB statuses of my friends are now getting eerily familiar.
Switch to WhatsApp. Haha, these memes are a riot.
Keep scrolling. It’s going to be a loooooong day.
A boy of five stomps about, as his mother gazes ahead inattentively.
"Why are we here? Are we leaving soon? Is dad around? Where is he?"
He has a barrage of questions. The woman clutches his arm and pulls him forward.
The little one has no business at the bank, but his restlessness resonates with many.
"Do you have a xerox of any ID proof?" asks one bank official.
But I have 'PRIVILEGED BANKING' embossed on my cheque book right here!
"Sorry ma'am, but rules are…(daft chuckle)"
Yes! Finally located the boyfriend in the queue for males.
Send him off to xerox our PANs
He returns super prompt.
There's another queue at the photocopier!
Plus, he will not shell out Rs 10 for a photocopy which otherwise costs Rs 2.
Debate with boyfriend brought to peaceful end by a 50-something pro-demonetisation uncle who assures me that I just need to flash the proof.
No photocopy needed.
There are papers that are far more important — they come in pink and brown.
Have made some headway. A painstaking 5 mm.
Stray (but potential ice-breaker) comment from Lacoste polo-clad woman behind me.
"I’ve never been to a bank alone. And now I am in the middle of madness."
Comment met with non-interest from the majority section.
But dolled-up girl weighs in. "I have to enter office by 11:00 am. Have been standing since 7:30 am."
I keep calm and put on headphones.
Forward! 6 paces.
Collect cash, do not pass Go.
Man, this feels so MONOPOLY.
Will anyone GO TO JAIL?
Bank officials further dissect the queues, based on business.
Deposits or exchange—separate queue.
Journos seeking soundbytes—separate queue
Jobless onlookers—separate queue.
Should have had the extra paratha mom insisted on.
What if the bank announces they've run out of cash?
The whole exercise is futile?
Keep calm and watch sadda Dilli munda click selfies with friends and a new 2000 note
50 days seem too little a time to cater to the needs of 1.252 billion people
And too long a time to maintain resilience and equilibrium.
Let senior editor at work do the data crunching.
Just let grandma in yellow salwar through to the head of the queue.
Morally feels good.
Reality dawns. I'm back to 12th position. That sucks.
Call from boss. "Why aren't you in?" he thunders.
"You should have told me. I could have sent some notes over with you!!"
Funny sight in parking lot. BMW unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a host of bicycles parked behind it.
What a leveller this demonetisation is!
Do you remember when you learnt how to cycle?
You tumbled, fell, flayed yourself, before you started pedalling with élan.
Well, demonetisation is somewhat similar; only it's been more than a week and the country has not learnt to cycle yet.
A notice? Bank official pastes a piece of paper on a makeshift notice board.
That's it. They aren’t issuing any more legal tender for the day. They've exhausted their supplies.
WAAAARRRR! All hell breaks loose.
The serpentine queue hisses and envelops bank official.
Tempers rise with official’s nonchalant explanation that it was a given, and that the bank regrets it profoundly.
Six new insults/cuss words learnt.
Bank official announces refilling of newer notes at 4.30 pm again
Burly 40-something man mutters predictable 'What a waste of time'.
Did Gandhi’s grin on my sole Rs 100 note just get a little wider?
Nah, it’s the hunger effect.
"McD?" asks boyfriend.
Surely they'll never be a burger crunch. Or will there be?