In loving memory of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency. We’d forever regret your murder.
‘Demonetisation is the best thing that ever happened to us!’ declared Papa, squinting to adjust his eyes to climbing sun.
‘Absolutely.’ I shrugged ‘Papa, do you know where my red pants are? I couldn’t find…’
‘This is an operation! A bloody war to cure corruption.’ Boomed Uncle Johnny over my head ‘A test of a true Indian. This line for ATM is a small sacrifice for the sake of a prosperous India.’ Someone coughed severely behind us.
I grimaced. Definitely, something bad had happened with my pants. Mama always hated the holes in it. She had been in quiet a mood lately. I shrunk submissively, between Papa and Uncle as they rhapsodied about boldness of our leaders.
‘It is a war!’ Papa growled ‘But some traitors, some Godless blemishes who work against citizens…’
‘Sir’ a weak voice stopped him ‘Can I stand in your place? I have a sick mother at home.’ The man was pale. Papa stared at him, paler.
‘So do I, Sir.!’ he hissed. ‘A wife, who’ll sick my nerves if am not home with vegetables today. We haven’t tasted milk for a week!’
‘And all because we couldn’t get money.’ Uncle mumbled ‘Please, do not make it worse for us.’
The man continued asking others. Someone collapsed behind me. An old woman, shrivelled up and fragile. Few gasped, few muttered, nobody moved. Watchman removed her from the long queue, an umbilical cord nourishing the bank.
‘To hell with this!’ somebody shouted, without moving.
‘Traitor!’ Papa shook his head ‘How can we help our nation without little sacrifices?’
A child had started wailing as the sun rose. The pale man, who was still at his task, received a call, then broke down. Behind him, the line broke too.
‘ATM dried up again!’ Papa exclaimed ‘I am dead!’
‘Papa, Mama threw away my red pants, didn’t she?’
It’s hard to get new pants with your pockets tight!
Citizens have to be sacrificed for their greater good.
All know that!