Happy New Year. Yeah, I mean it. What else would explain the fact that I was able to withdraw money from an ATM in New Delhi in under five minutes. And that too Rs 4,000 in two pink, crisp Rs 2,000 notes.
It seems our 50-day prayers have been answered and the cash-rich gods of cashless land have loosened their purse strings a bit more. The handful of people in the queue in front of an HDFC Bank ATM in Connaught Place, which is still bustling with people ringing in the New Year by just loitering around looking for functional ATMs, were all surprised. No one in the queue had ever been in one since November 8 with so few people in front of them. So there were no frayed tempers or protests when someone decided to withdraw more money with an another card. This was a happy bunch, in true New Year Spirit.
Does that mean our cash woes are over? Well, no. Most of those who found this ATM had entered and exited at least a dozen other ATMs that looked as desolate as a cricket stadium in monsoon. Also, while the government has increased that cash withdrawal limit to Rs 4,500 that is an improbability as long as ATMs get their dose of Rs 500 notes. So people had to be content with just Rs 4,000. But no one complained as it was double what they have been seeing over the past many weeks.
Now, that the year has got to such a good start we can hope that we will be able to get back to spending some of our money in real life. That impulsive momo or mixed fruit juice, a weekly stash of fresh fish or just the luxury of giving some jumpers for dry clean might be back in our lives before the winter chill leaves the north. Here’s to a happy new year… a bit wishful than just a wish.
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