Quite often when I see leaders, both political and corporate, moving around haughtily, looking at the common man with disdain, I think of the thousand rupee note: The thousand-rupee note stared at me from the gutter, its eyes bleak and bleary, “How could this have happened to me?” it cried, “Yesterday I was the most powerful note in the country, today I am garbage! Kachra!”
I looked at it and realized how proud it had been the day I had got it from the bank, “Are you a rich man?” the Thousand- rupee note had asked me disdainfully, “Because I only belong to the rich! For people like you, my poorer cousins, the five hundred rupees and hundred-rupee notes are good enough! I’m asking you again, are you rich?”
“No, I’m not!” I’d whispered.
“I am used to belonging to rich people who have crores of rupees, all in bundles, generally hidden inside a slit mattress, maybe stored in an air-conditioned loft, or kept in a club locker, whereas your wallet is a bit lonely!” said the thousand rupees sarcastically, “And smelly! And I am not used to being treated so shabbily!” it scowled, “What have I done to deserve this treatment?”
“I’m sorry!” I said, “I would have asked the cashier for hundred and fifty rupee notes instead!”
“You can still do that!” It said, and seeing it’s proud face and knowing I was uncomfortable carrying a snob around with me, I walked back to the bank and exchanged it for two notes of its lowly cousin, who seemed more happy and comfortable in my pocket.
Now, many years after the demonetization, I looked down at the thousand rupee note somebody had thrown away. “How could this have happened to me?” it cried from the gutter where it lay, “I am a piece of rubbish today!”
I looked at it and remembered how it had treated me that day, “Maybe you should have learnt to be less proud!” I said quietly, as the hundred rupee and fifty rupee notes in my wallet giggled.
“I thought I was the greatest! That there was nothing more desired by anyone but me!”
“Many people think that way!” I whispered sadly, “and then their pride makes them fall!”
“Please pick me up!” it cried.
“You are useless!” I said, “Whereas these hundred rupee and other notes are the kings of my wallet now! Maybe it’s a lesson to all the proud people in our world: Up today, down tomorrow!”
The other notes in my pocket were quiet, suddenly realizing they also could fall tomorrow, as they heard the piece of paper that was once a valuable thousand rupees moan in the gutter!
Was it my imagination that made me hear it say, “I hope those who did this to me, know it can happen to them too..!”
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