The November Nightmare

Two major screw ups, this time, last year.

Don’t mind my language. I find screw-up the most appropriate for what happened. I am usually not so coarse in my language.

One was scheduled. The US elections.

The other was not.

I was working past mid night when I got a sms saying the cash in my wallet is as good as nothing. I should start counting my small change. I did not believe it. Somebody is just joking. Within an hour on my way back, the ATMs had serpentine queues. This became the usual sight for a very long time.

Some initially took it as a fun detour in the night, like a paan or ice cream or a late night snack or a night picnik.

But soon it was not so fun anymore.

Majority in the social media were ecstatic and thought it was a master stroke to bring back hordes of black money stacked outside the country.

Anyone uttering a slight word of doubt was thrashed. Was told to bear with the “slight inconvenience”. Openly told that you are the born cynic, the pessimist, the anti-national, the loud mouth, the misplaced socialist, and the unnecessary secular.

And I wondered how they could be so oblivious. All those good people, my family and my friends. People I have known all my life, have shared the same childhood, education, landscape and realities.

So disconnected….

To the plights of people who do not have credit cards.

To those three daily wage labourers who were paid Rupees five hundred for the day and they were still looking for a shop that will take the money and give them one meal. It was almost early morning of the next day. What percentage of our country depends on daily wage?

To that queue of senior citizens who stood for hours, some crying, some sat down, their eyes full of desperation, helplessness.

The mother at the hospital who had money but could not pay the bills for her child’s treatment.

To the plight of a retired man with a heart ailment who kept his pension at home.

And some died (what is some in the land of billions, they said.)

For the greater good, they said.

And lastly, even if you could not see the plight of others, our own, your own hard earned money in the bank, and am assuming you and I are honest and tax paying, and you could not get your own money and give it to your parents, or your driver, or your dhobi, or your house help. You gave them their salary in instalments. You asked them a surface level question and they gave you a surface level answer. And you concluded all was good. Ram rajya is here, finally. end of corruption.

And a five crore wedding happened at the same time, a politician’s child. What was that money? All those who went to buy gold and the gold stores that did roaring business? What was that money? Touts caught offering to exchange money for the hoarders. What was that money?

And what was their inconvenience? Oh yes, I forget, they had to load those bundles into cars and pack them in suitcases. Too much work, sure.

Are we seriously so easily hoodwinked?

Over 30% of the population of India, nearly 230 million people live with less than 150 rupees a day.

“Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man (woman) you have seen, and ask yourself if this step you contemplate is going to be any use to him/her.” (MK Gandhi)

Still a good yardstick.

I now live with a nightmare which will never cease.

What if I cannot access my meagre savings in the bank? Internet doesn’t work, credit card does not work, bio-metrics does not work and all is frozen.

The November Nightmare.

The never to die, recurring, November Nightmare.

And the other screw up? Need I go on? I don’t even know where to begin on that one.


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