On the 8th of November at around 8 pm Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement stating that from midnight onwards on the same day currency notes of Rs 500/- and Rs 1000/- denominations would be rendered redundant. They would lose their value as currency per se, but could be exchanged for newer currency over the next few weeks.
Even as his address was being relayed live the nation went into panic mode, and messages on Twitter and Whatsapp started flowing furiously. The emotions ruling that night were largely confusion and anger. I panicked too, as we were supposed to be traveling to Jaipur the day after for a wedding and the cash I had withdrawn for the same, from the ATM the previous day, was in Rs 500/- and Rs 1000/- denominations. Instead of paying attention to the PM’s address I was busy reading updates on Twitter and messages on Whatsapp that did nothing except unnerve me.
A few days into the change and I realized that I’ve learnt some lessons while others have just been reinforced, due to this move of Demonetization. And what’s more, these lessons I share apply to life as well;
Don’t Panic: When you see, hear or experience a thought, idea or visual that comes as a surprise, your first instinct is usually panic, which stops you from absorbing what is actually happening and most probably mess up. What works is to calmly let the new idea or thought settle as you wrap your mind around it, after which you can try to understand it in your own way and at your own pace.
Don’t believe everything you hear or see: So I concentrated more on updates on the social media rather than listening to the PM’S address which lead to unrequired panic. The media kept flashing images of huge queues snaking towards ATM’s and banks, people fighting for change and the likes. We debated about going to the bank the next day, but since we were traveling we had to, and the orderly queues and bank officials working at a furious pace surprised us.
Help others: My maids were completely unaware of the truth about this move. They had people feeding them wrong information and offering them to change their money for them for ‘a cut’, with plans of fleecing them no doubt, so I sat them down and told them exactly how the process works and the paperwork they would need to change their money. I even offered to accompany them to the bank and/or give them a day off so they could change currency.
You have all you need, question your wants: I realized that we haven’t spent a single extra rupee since the 9th of Nov. We traveled to another city, wandered in the market and came back only having spent Rs 50/- on a huge glass of Jaipur’s famous Lassi. Even the bill at the end of a trip to the supermarket once we got back home surprised me, thanks to sticking to the list of requirements and no extra purchases. Time to identify and differentiate between Want and Need.
Change is good: This move shook the nation but then a sudden change almost always does. My limited knowledge about these things and what I read tells me that the timing though is just right to stop the circulation of black money. Yes, we will wait and watch but it is apparently a good change so far. It pays waiting for the big picture to appear rather than fretting over and coming to conclusions over small developments and details.
Don’t hoard: As much as we like keeping a little away for a rainy day, demonetization taught me that little should mean little as suddenly a bunch of currency saved for a rainy day is now redundant! This affects all walks of life, from land prices dropping, so on and so forth, showing that that what you think is precious may suddenly be rendered useless. See that you have enough, and just a little more than that. Enjoy what you have and use our trusted banks to save your money for you.
Be honest/No secrets: I had squirreled away a bit of money, from what I earn and from the monetary gifts I receive, to get myself new Tattoos and for The Husbands upcoming birthday and for a few other indulgences, without his knowledge. Even though I had done nothing wrong, when I had to tell him about the small amount of money I had stashed away I felt terribly guilty. Luckily, he laughed it off.
The most important lesson that was reinforced is Wait and Watch: Don’t jump to conclusions about a new idea or move . Give it time, test it out as almost always everything happens for the best and for a reason. So let us do our bit, to help our PM and our Nation, and work towards a brighter future.