Thursday, November 24, 2016

How Demonetisation Gave Direction To My Life


Till a fortnight back my life was as directionless and meaningless as Rahul Gandhi’s speeches. I was appalled by the lack of purpose in my life and couldn’t stop berating myself for not doing enough to stop the Polar caps from melting, bombing ISIS camps and stopping Trump from getting elected. Not anymore. My life feels like a Jan Dhan account suddenly flush from someone else’s desperation. And I have Modi jee to thank for this sudden turn of events.

I am ashamed to admit, when he dropped the D-bomb on us, it took me an inordinately long time to acknowledge his genius in smoking out black-money. Alas, my heart was busy feeling wretched for the unfair treatment being meted out to black money that chose to stay in the country instead of flying off to Honduras, Cayman or Panama and become an NRBM (nor resident black money). I cried buckets when I read reports about wads of patriotic notes that had said no whitening being abandoned near dustbins and drowned in river. This is how we treat our girl child and not ghar ki Lakshmi, dammit!

With 500 and 1000 Re notes declared invalid, I was feeling like a penniless pauper for no fault of my own. With demonetisation, Modi Jee first rendered us cashless and then helpless with not enough new notes to replace the old lot. It felt like we were being dragged back to our bachhe dins when we had to last an entire month on a meagre sum because this was our parent’s fabulous idea of teaching us the value of money!

Just last week when I told the beggars at red-light ‘paise nahin hai, baba’, they nodded in sympathy. A few kind souls even offered to lend me a few notes from their booty!

I cried, yet again.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Forward This At Your Own Risk

Image courtesy - Google images

Dear kids (PS - anyone younger than me qualifies), did you know when we were growing up, the only forwards we got on Diwali were Milton jugs and casseroles? If we prayed hard enough, the set of 6 melamine cups in cream and pink that Mom had gifted Mrs Ahuja 4 years back would land at our doorstep, just like a long lost forward. But Mom far from weeping like Nirupa Roy while hugging the cups close to her chest would get an eye twitch like Lalita Pawar (if you are unfamiliar with these names, just ask Siri).

As a reciprocal gesture, Mrs Ahuja was gifted a box of kaju katli that was only a month old.

In case you did not know, casseroles, thermos, tea-sets of yesteryears were the Soan Papdi of gifting. Nobody wanted them yet everybody gifted them. But those were simpler times. We would start bursting crackers weeks before Diwali without feeling guilty for fouling up the air. If we were chased by a jhadoo wielding Pammi Aunty for disturbing her afternoon siesta, we extracted revenge by bursting our stash of bombs in front of her house till Christmas. Festivities were more about stuffing our faces with sweets more colourful than Govinda’s wardrobe, and less about ‘OMG, I have put on weight! Now I will punish myself and have only lauki soup for a month.’ Phones were actually used to make calls. And one had to visit friends and family to exchange festive greetings. On the eve of Diwali, I was religiously sent off to our neighbours with a thali full of mithais, covered with a cloth napkin. And the celebrations would conclude with coughing all night from all that smoke.

You kids are lucky. You’re growing up in an age where you get more forwards than gifts on Diwali, unless you’re the son of the baap who owns the road you drive on. Nothing warms the cockles of my heart more than a forwarded forward that goes round and round like unclaimed baggage on the luggage carousel. In the age of HBD and thnx, only a moron will bother typing festive wishes. Since the flavour of the season is animated gifs, by the end of Diwali week I had collected enough to fill the Milky Way with flickering Diyas and animated Lakshmi jees showering me with blessings and teen patti winnings.

And I don’t even play cards!

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