When the old 500 and 1000 rupee notes were declared to go out of circulation on the night of 8th November, 2016, I did not know how to react. Personally I have nothing at stake. I have been a salaried employee till 2015 and I became a freelance blogger after that. If anything my income went down after quitting my job as a professor. My immediate and biggest concern was to pay for the taxi to the airport, as I had a 6.00 am flight to catch on 9th November. My husband and I managed all that somehow. We found a friendly Uber driver who accepted a 500 rupee note.
Then I lived in bliss at the Pepper Trail (in a tree house too) at Wayanad. As I was hosted I had nothing to worry about till Sunday, the 13th November. I paid the OLA guy on my return from the airport with OLA money. I happily stayed at home till Tuesday.
Yesterday for the first time I went to the friendly neighborhood Indusind Bank to withdraw money against cheque. I went after 4.00 pm and it took me about ten minutes to get 24K which is what is the weekly limit, I was told.
That raised my hopes and I went in today at 11.00 am to deposit the old notes in my account. Now the mornings at the same bank are a different case altogether. A large number of people were there to exchange currency. The Indusind Bank has opened separate lines for currency exchange and for withdrawal and deposits to the bank account. The crowd management for the currency exchange is an issue. The crowd for withdrawal and deposit to the bank account is not big.
As the bank is at a walking distance from my home, and I have been one of their early customers from the days they opened, I know the staff at the branch. They have always been courteous. They always offer me tea and they managed to get me tea even today.
I could see the pressure they are under, it is just insane. I told the manager to drink water and tea. He replied, “Ma’am I appreciate your concern but if the cash doesn’t tally in the end, I will be behind the bars and no one will come in my support.” He was pointing out to an educated guy who wanted to make a transaction on an ID other than his! It was a women’s ID too. The bank would not accept it. And there was an altercation about it. Now can’t we spare the banking guys all this unnecessary drama?
Outside a bunch of people were agitated that we were allowed to go in. What they don’t realize is that people are going to banks other transactions too. The bank has separate lines for currency exchange and deposit/withdrawal from the account. The deposit and withdrawal lines are OK. The currency exchange lines are long. That is where the trouble is.
I now have cash in the new currency notes and I have deposited all the old notes I had. I will not go near a bank for at least a week, if possible more. I have that choice.
But spare a thought for the banking employees. They are working day and night. I could see the pressure on their faces. I am not sure if they will get anything extra for this work. When I said something to a staff at the bank, she replied, “ma’am you should have seen it last week. This is still better.”
Whatever your private thoughts are on this, the bank staff needs our support. They are the ones who have been hit the hardest. From my side a big thank you to the Indusind Bank staff for still being courteous even though their faces tell a different story. Be nice to the bank staff people. What is a one day transaction for you, it is their daily working life till the end of December. Bank staff need our support. Be nice to them.