The front of the line at the bank
Having been a city dweller all my life I, possibly like a lot of other city dwellers, share a love and hate relationship with it. But, I guess, it would be safe to say that I am really glad to be living in Delhi at this point in (troubled) time in the history of our country.
Even though internet connectivity in our cities may not be the best, it still works out for me to be able to use our debit/credit cards or internet banking to buy most things I need without having to stand in front of the banks or ATM machines to withdraw cash. I am also, fortunately or not, really bad at keeping a tab at my regular expenses so I don’t compare my expenditure, now that I am buying things online versus buying things from the local neighbourhood shops or the roadside vendors.
Personally for me, I have almost forgotten how our currency notes look like, now that I have had nearly no cash for the past month. I really believed for some time that the phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’ didn’t apply to me any more.
But I’m happiest for not having to wriggle through my pockets and to worry about how I would manage to give the auto guy the change or wondering if the delivery guy would have any change because I forgot to tell while ordering, that I only have a 1000 rupees note with me. So this is great! For the longest time I wished I could just swipe my card and pay for things instead of having to go to an ATM or to figure out how to find change for bigger currency notes. But I still love all the street food and It seems quite unlikely that they will keep a debit/credit swipe machine or use PayTM kind of services to transact even in the distant future.
What should I do now that I have to pay my house help and the cook their monthly salary? One doesn’t have a bank account and the other wants cash. Even if I could give them their salaries electronically they would need cash to then go and buy their vegetables and things with cash from stores that sell things that are cheaper than the ones available at supermarkets that could take payments online. Both these ladies don’t have smartphones and surely they will find it difficult understanding the sometimes complicated payment and returns processes because they are not literate.
So thus, began ‘the dance of the cashless‘!
- Two and half hour wait in a line outside my bank without any success
- Almost 19 km covered on the cycle trying to find a working ATM
- Approximately 44 ATMs visited
I’m still a novice at this dance form. There are people who are masters in this art of lining up and standing for an entire day, everyday. But this is one art form I’m more than willing to be a total crap in and so wish that this dance gets over really soon.
There is a crazy rush of
thoughts running from
the beginning of a memory to
Running from one end to another
Criss-crossing each other
Rubbing each other
Generating so much friction
Elbowing each other
Hurting me with their entangled inelastic mess
About to tear apart the highways of my brain
They have picked up so much dust
The heat from their friction is picking up a storm
It’s so foggy
The pain is slowing me down
The heaviness is pulling me down
I am going down.
Through this fog all I could see
Are these fast moving lights
Blinding white and bloody red
My brain inside is so heavy
It is now dragging to a halt
It is caving in
It is stretching its hands out
To hold on to one of those
white fairies that seem ever so light
that they just fly past me
I am tilting to one side
There is so much weight and
it’s so foggy
I can’t see anymore
I can’t stand anymore
I just want to hold on
to one of those white fairies
Only they seem to be like something
That can drag me out of this pit
My hands are so heavy
It is so close to them, yet so far
My vision is slowly fading away
as it just about manages to hold on
to one of the white fairies flying by
And everything just suddenly
becomes so bright for a moment
and then finally silence.
No rush, no criss-crossing
They told us
that it was the golden peacock
They told this to possibly everyone
before and after me.
as naive as the kids we were,
we believed a lie.
But then they like
to talk in metaphors
in a land still largely uneducated
Giving people hope to strive for
Something that is, in literal terms, impossible.
it seems like an amazing plot
for making a country full of people
believe in a fairytale-like history
and a hope for the future
that is non-existent.
Just like religions
that have made epics out of stories
and mindless zombies
out of human beings
who are supposed to have evolved thinking.
Reading the newspaper everyday
shows me no signs of any peacock made of gold
Rather a nation
decaying due to neglect,
political and social corruption and
widespread apathy among it’s own people
towards making it a better place
for their own self.
A peacock diseased
in every part of it’s body
Kept alive by sheer chance
and a few good deeds
A peacock, they should have said, made of sand
that has no skeleton
no strong bond that can
keep it together
when the waves roll in
or the wind howls
Blowing away particle by particle
like the hopes of it’s masses
A good metaphor, instead of the golden lie, for the generation today.