At this ATM, guard doesn’t mind the rushhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/demonetisation-rs-500-rs-100-note-at-this-atm-guard-doesnt-mind-the-rush-4375854/

At this ATM, guard doesn’t mind the rush

Gautam has made many friends since the demonetisation. He takes out a torn paper from his shirt's pocket, where he has scribbled a few names.

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Ramvir Gautam (50), outside the ATM in Vasant Kunj.

At this empty ATM in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, 11 pm feels like morning. There’s a long, impatient queue outside. But Ramvir Gautam, the 50-year-old ATM guard, isn’t complaining.

Used to sitting on his chair inside the ATM, Gautam is spending Saturday night outside, keeping an eye on the crowd that has gathered.

Despite several people sitting in anticipation of the cash van to arrive, many keep checking to see if there’s money inside the machine. Amused, Gautam, who has worked as a guard for 20 years, says, “Arey betaji, paisa hota to yeh log bahar kyun baithe hote? (If the ATM had cash, would these people be sitting outside?) The cash van will be here soon, wait for a bit.”

WATCH VIDEO: PM Modi Reveals How He Planned Demonetisation Gradually In 10 Months

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Gautam has made many friends since the demonetisation. He takes out a torn paper from his shirt’s pocket, where he has scribbled a few names.

“Chauhan saab, like many others, gave me his number. If you have trouble waiting, give me yours as well. I will call you when the cash van comes,” he says.

But many people don’t leave the line, unsure of whether he would actually call. Chatting with people in line, he tells them, “One of my sons is in the Uttar Pradesh police.” A resident of Khair village, 40 km from Aligarh, he adds, “It’s like a festival around here. People come and go the entire night.”

WATCH VIDEO: PM Modi Reveals How He Planned Demonetisation Gradually In 10 Months

Chatting with a “regular”, Gautam says, “I heard people are finding notes dumped in drains.” But a youth cuts him short: “These are all rumours — like salt running out.”

As people repeatedly ask him when the van will arrive, he calls up a guard posted at Masudpur village. He makes some small talk, asks “Van aayi kya?” and hangs up. “There was a party for the guards at Masudpur,” he says, adding, “The van hasn’t reached there yet. It will go there first and then come to us.”

And, at 11.30 pm, it finally does.