When the two were going through a cash crunch
This is the third ATM visit in one day for this man, let’s call him Mr X. No, he does not need lots of cash to gamble or to bribe the traffic police or something like that. It’s actually not his problem; it is the ATM’s problem. There was not sufficient cash in the machines.
The “Insufficient cash” message on the machine brought back memories from past (more specifically from November 2016) and Mr X could feel cold sweat on his brow.
In the fourth ATM, he managed to get 2000 rupees. Not much, but enough for the chowk ka chaiwala (tea vendor at the square). Every evening Mr X goes on an evening walk with his group of friends and they take tea and hot samosas from the chowk ka chaiwala. They pay in turn. The next day it was Mr X’s turn to pay. The petty tea vendor, of course, takes only cash.
Related reading: Money, marriage and managing differences
He knew he couldn’t trust her
Since demonetisation 2016, Mr X has come a long way. He knew the moment he reached home Mrs X would take away everything. So he hid the cash in his laptop bag.
The moment he opened the door of his home, Mrs X jumped on him and yelled, “Oh darling, I have been waiting for you!” It felt like Mrs X was waiting near the door.
Mr X was shocked, because she never waits near the door for him and most importantly, never welcomes him so enthusiastically. Till now she had always greeted her husband without any enthusiasm by saying one of these lines:
“Oh, it’s only you.”
“Why are you so late?”
“Why have you come so early?”
Mr X got worried, thinking she might have damaged her brain or was he in the wrong house or ….
But he did not have to speculate for a long time. Mrs X began, “It is the maid’s pay day. Please give me some cash.”
“What? What happened to the cash you had?”
“I spent it all in my last visit to the neighbourhood parlour.”
“Then withdraw some.”
“Did you not hear? There is a cash crunch and ATMs are out of cash.”
The ghost of demonetisation
Mr X realised the ghost from 2016 is back to haunt them. Loudly he said, “Oh, that’s why I did not get any cash on my ATM visits! Sorry, wife, no cash on me. But does not the maid have a Paytm account? Pay her digitally.”
“No! That’s the temple beggar, he has a Paytm account. Sunita does not have one.”
“Why do you go to these small parlours? Can’t you go to that big salon in the mall? There you can pay by card.”
“But the beauticians in the big salon are really mean. To push their products they tell me or rather emotionally abuse me by saying nasty things about my skin and hair. It is not good for my mental health to visit that salon, darling.”
“So tell your maid the country is going through a cash crunch. She should be understanding about things which are not in our control.”
You steal the cash, I steal it back
Actually, Mrs X needed cash desperately for her kitty the next day. Obviously, she was not going to tell her husband that. The moment her husband went to take a bath she searched his things, including the laptop bag, and got the money. After claiming he had no money, obviously the husband was not going to shout about stolen cash.
She hid the money in her ST packet inside her underwear drawer. She was so happy with her perfect crime that she started humming.
Through the shower Mr X could hear the humming and became tense. After coming out, as he had feared, he found his money to be stolen.
He remembered from demonetisation all the hiding places of the wife. The moment Mrs X got busy in watching the soap operas on TV, he ransacked her hiding places and got the cash. Then he hid it inside one of his files. He joined his wife in humming. Now it was time for the wife to be afraid of the humming.
So now who has the money?
Like this the stealthy game went on till next evening. It was time for Mr X’s walk and Mrs X’s kitty. But both did not have cash. They were giving silent treatment to each other, suspecting the other person had the cash. Suddenly they heard their daughter, Miss X, humming while on her way out. They forgot all about the silent treatment and asked her about the humming. She did not reply.
Mrs X told her calmly, “I will post your potty training picture on your Facebook wall.”
Immediately she replied, “Mama, have I told you how pretty you look! Your purse accidentally fell on my head and the cash from it fell out of it on my hand. Really, I did not do anything. I have planned to treat my friends to pani puri. You know the pani puri wala in front of our college gate who makes the yummiest pani puri but takes only cash.”
The father interjected, ”No young lady, no one is treating no one, return the money.”
Stay tuned for further reports
Miss X giggled nervously and said, “Oh, a tiny problem, I said I am going to treat but actually I have already treated them. You know I need to work on my grammar, especially the difference between past and present.”
Mrs and Mr X were speechless in frustration and anger.
According to the experts in the media, the cash crunch is happening because of the upcoming election in a few states. Next year is going to be the national election year, so it is logical to expect a bigger cash crunch.
Will Mrs and Mr X start hoarding cash on a big scale from now?
Or will they not hoard, fearing another demonetisation?
Or will they force their kaamwali bai, neighbourhood parlour didi, the pani puri wala near college and chowk ka chaiwala to go digital like the temple’s beggar?
Watch this space for updates.