Thursday, February 23, 2012

The saga of my ten rupee

If you have not tried this you definitely should. I had a torn ten rupee note in my pocket for quite sometime. I often end up getting a hundred rupee note changed into smaller denominations rather do something about the torn note. He ok let this ten rupee note be a ‘she’ ( I often called it a he because of 'Gandhi' being imprinted on it. And I wonder why can’t they have a woman on it for a change- “chauvinists”) was a loser, a turn down in my pocket. Frankly, I thought it to be my companion. Every time I opened my purse there it lay my tattered note. But it started irking me recently when I visited tiffanys. Tiffanys is the café for the moderately elitist on our campus. A tea there costs Rs 7 while the poorer sections went to Campus canteen. A tea there cost Rs 5. And the baddddd elitists went to Café Coffee Day also known as ‘CCD’ on campus with the tagline ‘ a lot can happen over coffee’ and all I can see happening there is emptying of my purse. An espresso there can cost Rs 24 and mind it its subsidized. I love campus café for the health of my finances, tiffanys for the proximity to my hostel, lab and library and CCD I go in my manic and depressive phases.

So if I stick to Tifanys and Campus café the ten rupee is my average budget and hence definitely a concern. So not wanting to part with my hundreds I finally decided to part with my tattered ten rupee.So on my way to the post office to post a love note to my hubby ( The cost a researcher pays to do research in peace) I visited the State Bank of India. It so happened that last night I had a vivid memory of my stingy old grouch of a uncle stocking tattered two rupee and one rupee notes that were torn and tattered in a small ponds cold cream carton ( yep we are Indians and mortals and we love hoarding so that we can amuse ourselves with such stuff). My uncle then told me his annual visit to the nearest banks where these currency notes were transformed to brand new ones.

I was a kid and mesmerized by his description then. But as i grew I had perhaps brushed this memory with so many others under a pink carpet when I grew up ( ok if you want it blue call it so but remember it happens inside my head). Yesterday night precisely at 11.58 it came back to me, this memory like a de javu. I began to wonder if my uncle was kidding or some cashier really liked transforming old tattered currency note into brand new one. And if they did what would they do to the old ones? Shred them?

So to test my hypothesos, as I finished posting the love note the next day, I entered SBI and went to the first counter and boldly asked with a broad grin- “Madam, where can I exchange this”? The lady being very polite, glanced at the tattered note and told me “ The cashier”. She showed no look of amazement so I realized my uncle’s practice was sane and legitimate but a couple of Btech jerks looked at me as if they would rather light their cigars with a tattered currency note rather beg for an exchange at a counter. This perturbed me but I decided to proceed to the next counter. The cashier a man with Leukoderma all patchy and for whom I had some sympathy immediately dismissed me on my request saying “ Go to the next counter”. Had it been my moody day I would have insisted on a note from him and him alone. But since it was a sunny day and I had three slices of butter toast which apparently brought positive vibes in me I left to the next counter. I took a deep breath and finally asked the lady “ Can I exchange this, I swear a conductor tipped this on to me”.

She smiled and finally took out a bundle a fresh one of new ten rupee currencies and gave me one in exchange of my old friend the tattered note. Hmmmm what do I say? It feels nice in my pocket and I have not decided where this one is going to be spend but it feel nice.

As I was folding it into my pocket the typical girl’s style of folding it into four I remembered by conversation with a baker who said we receive currency notes from women folded into 100 possilbe folds as if it were a bedsheet. Whats it that makes you want to fold it like this and not into two like the men?, he asked me. You end up tearing all the notes”.

I smiled to myself and folded the currency into two and strode wondering how long would I have waited with this tattered note had my grouchy uncle not appeared to me last night.

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