I was a revelation, a beauty, a sensation! Yes, I was one-of-a-kind; I had no doubt about that! I must correct, WE were one-of-a-kind! We the new coins on the block, the classy Ten rupee coins - dual toned, beautifully inscribed, heavier, bigger and better than every coin the Indian mint had churned out post-independence.
I gazed around me at the adjoining mounds of coins, mere pips they were, these onesies and twosies; I could hardly tell them apart. The current heavy-weights, the Fivers who reigned the roost, looked at us speculatively. They shrugged us off, whoever’s heard of a Tenner coin? And why would anyone want us when our counterpart notes were very much in circulation? That didn’t bother us the slightest bit, did it sisters?
We were excited to be released into the wide world. And what a welcome we received! People gazed at us in awe, kids and adults alike. Everyone wanted us and no one wanted to part with us. I puffed and preened inside the wallet jingling along with lesser beings. My counterpart, the note - Mr. Tenner, surprisingly didn’t seem to be very affected by my presence. I looked at him, disheveled, grimy, dowdy and oh so mundane! I was addressed as Madam Tenner by the way!
I pitied him, actually I pitied them all. The Onesies, Twosies, Fivers and Mr Tenner, they were all on the verge of extinction much like the older generation of annas, 10paise, 20paise, 25paise and wait a minute…what happened to the 50 paise? I know that at one point, the new Fivers, Onesies and the 50p’s were at logger-heads over their similar avatars! With the rising inflation, I could surmise that all these chaps would be goners before long.
I didn’t bother myself much with them; afterall I was having a ball being passed around, oh-ed and ah-ed at by all who came across me. The conductor of the bus I was with didn’t want to part with me. He shelled out the two fat Fiver sisters instead. I was glad then. The next time around, Mr. Tenner had to leave instead of me. I was gladder. Pretty soon, people started hoarding and coveting me and my sisters. Yes, I believed we were made for true connoisseurs. Many of us made our way into piggy banks and secret pouches while some of us went so far as being ensconced in the elite company of foreign coins, imagine the glory! Oh what a high, being addressed as Madame Tenner by the charming Monsieur Franc!
My hey-days as I think of them, came to a crushing halt when absurd rumors (I am sure were spread by the jealous losers club) started circulating that we, the amazing Madam Tenners were no longer considered valid since there were too many fakes in circulation!
When the polite and highly crumpled Mr. Tenner’s offered his sympathies, I rebuffed him with, ‘It’s just vile rumor, atleast we are good enough to be counterfeited!’
Though I was incredulous, I saw with regret that indeed we were reducing in circulation. Those were bleak times spent contemplating the ephemeral nature of popularity.
‘This is absurd,’ I thought to myself. ‘I am too beautiful and too valuable to go out without so much as a murmur!’ But I could do little besides waiting and praying for redemption.
About two weeks back, pandemonium broke loose. Something about a ‘demonetization’? Well, whatever it was, I had a new lease of life. Okay I accede, a new lease of life for the entire coin clan. My ostracization from circulation has made me a trifle less vain and a lot more accepting of the fact that WE are a team. WE the coin clan and the lesser denomination notes are the ones that are rescuing you folks at this critical hour! And heartfelt sympathies to you biggies 500 and 1K, quivering in vaults, dumps and who knows where, pondering your fates, I imagine… I know how you’re feeling!
As you folks are going about ransacking money-boxes, prayer-money, piggy banks, begging bowls even, I am just happy to get out of Mrs. D’Souza’s quaint little hoard of coins….out in circulation and loving it!
P.S: Dear old-timers, I was nostalgic while writing this piece, didn't this post remind you of the good old Autobiographies we wrote at school? ;)
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