Demonetisation: My first brush with the Rs 2,000 note

The excitement of getting hold of the Rs 2,000 note was short lived as I soon wanted to get rid of it at any 'cost'
Demonetisation: My first brush with the Rs 2,000 note
Demonetisation: My first brush with the Rs 2,000 note

Like many others, I was curious to lay my hands on the pink note - The new emperor among the currency notes in India. But the joy of holding a crisp Rs 2,000 note was short lived as I realised the rejection that I faced each time I tried spending the note. On the first day, the cab driver was clear upfront that he would not accept the new note, as he did not have enough notes of lower denomination to exchange. Back went the note into my wallet, even as I fished for Rs 100 note for the ride.

The next two weeks were harrowing, as every possible place – chemist, metro station, stationary shop, grocery shops or small eateries flatly refused to accept the note. The reasons were simple – either they did not have change or they wanted me to use up the entire sum on purchase. Imagine, buying stationary for Rs 2,000! I then thought of going to the chemist shop, who promptly suggested that I go for a cashless payment or buy medicines for the full some or near about. Imagine my plight of staring at buying medicines for Rs 2,000 when all I could think of was the need for some lozenges and medicines for the cold.

The excitement of spending the Rs 2,000 dried as I tried going to the grocer, who was more willing to offer me credit and note my purchase for a later settlement than take the note. I thought I was jinxed, but it was the note that was jinxed as I figured from friends who had similar tales to narrate. I was told by a friend that even the traffic cops did not accept the note when he was challaned for jumping traffic lights. Apparently, the cop let him go than issue him a challan to be paid later. The trips with my scooty for refuelling bore similar results – they were accepting the old notes, but were unwilling to tender change to this crisp new note.

Finally, out of sheer frustration, I decided to see a way out to spend my first Rs 2,000 note – I decided to go out for a meal with two of my friends to a diner where the average bill for three would be closer to Rs 2,000. So, after our usual chat over this and that, besides the discussion over demonetisation, for a change we stopped staring at the pricelist on the menu in the way we did earlier. This time, it was to order food that cost more to add up the bill closer to Rs 2,000. We ate, and ate and realised that we were still short by a mark which could have left us with no choice but to pay by card or cough up the Rs 100 notes we had.

I finally relented and called on the waiter to order for a dish based on its expense than what it was. Those eating at a table across us reacted as if I was weird, but then extreme situations demand for extreme actions. So, we got an exotic dessert, which was more filling than the meal itself. Yet, it was a shock when the bill arrived and was still about Rs 1,800. I was almost in tears anticipating the restaurant manager refusing to accept the pink note. But, thankfully, the note was finally out of my safe clutches.

The lessons learnt – for many days in the past month, I have not spent money and now find a spike in my savings. At the same time, I learnt on how an otherwise rational person like me can make an irrational move to spend money, just to get rid of Rs 2000 note. My problems are small, but I wonder what those with presumed stacks of old high denomination notes must be doing to lay hands to the pink note that I was just not willing to keep for the troubles I was facing with it than convenience that was being promised with it.

I am now a lot wiser using digital wallets, which I find are convenient, widely accepted, safe and help me check on my expenses making my financial life a lot more smoother than I had imagined it could.

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