On the night of November 8 PM Modi dropped a bombshell on national television. WhatsApp jokes started nearly immediately. In the midst of all these jokes, I received a WhatsApp message on one of the groups that I am part of. This made me look beyond the jokes:
“Please educate yourself and help others to prevent a panic situation. Help your domestic help, maid, driver, aayah by educating them on how to exchange their money. Give them short term loans to help them tide over the situation. Talk to them about this situation and prevent them from getting sucked into any malicious scheme.”
Someone out there obviously had their heart and logic in the right place!
Set me also thinking about how this situation might impact my staff at home as well as at work, because all my staff members are youngsters from low income group.. They had to daily travel in autos, trains or buses, pay for their daily ration, or food at stalls, and get phone recharge etc. The situation could actually turn traumatic if they did not have enough lose change. Unlike us none of them are part of cashless society yet!
The first thing I did was go through all my bags and purses and take out all the change and small denomination I had there. I have this funny habit of leaving some money in each off my bag, and in the car. Once I had once been stupid enough to enter a parking lot of a mall and realise that I had forgotten my wallet at home. The habit came to my rescue now, as I collected about Rs. 1500 in small denomination and change.
Armed with this, the first thing I did next morning was ask every Helper at home, in my building as well as at work if they had heard about the change, and whether they had any questions or needed any help from me in terms of some lose change. Thankfully all of them have a bank account as I make it a point to pay their salary into their bank accounts only. So, there was no visible panic anywhere. Once they all understood the situation they accepted it calmly. Some also joked that they anyways did not have too much spare money, so had nothing to worry about. Only my husband’s driver had two 500 notes. I asked him to use to get fuel refill in our car. We reimbursed the amount into his Bank account.
So, life goes on as usual around me. Through all this I realised how apt the Prime Minister’s scheme was. Only those with unaccounted money, which they could not put in a bank, would really feel the pinch. The rest will glide through with little help from each other.