Once upon a time there was a Poor Little Indian. She was poor but hardworking. She worked hard month after month to earn her poor little salary. On the last week of the month she got her salary because she worked in a Great Foreign Company. The poor little Indian was very happy. She withdrew cash from her salary account and went to the Great Indian Bank to deposit the Cash. When she went and gave her money to the Great Indian Bank she was told there would be Cash Handling Charge. The Poor Little Indian was shocked. She asked the manager, “What is the role of a Bank if not to handle cash?” But the Manager replied, these are bank rules approved by The Great Indian Banking Authority. The Poor Little Indian had no option, so she paid the Cash Handling Charges and deposited the money, but with a promise not to deal in cash so she went out armed with her Debit Card.
On the way she stopped at the petrol station to refuel her vehicle. Wiser after her experience with the Banker, the Poor Little Indian took out her Debit Card and gave it to the attendant. The attendant looked at the card with disgust and said, “There will be 2% surcharge on Card Payment.” The Poor Little Indian was shocked again and meekly replied, “But the bank manager told me to use more of card and less cash and he assured me there were not extra charges on the card.” The attendant was not moved and replied this 2% is charged by your bank not me; and insisted either pay cash or pay 2% surcharge. The Poor Little Indian had no option but to pay the 2% surcharge as she was not carrying cash.
Feeling helpless by The Great New Indian Financial System, the Poor Little Indian decided to go to the mall. Trying to find some respite and desperate to feel important and needed to save her existential value. The Poor Little Indian went to the multi-level shopping store. This was a world in itself, a different planet. Here, The Poor Little Indian was The Queen; she was The First Customer (like The President is First Citizen of a country) at least that’s what the card said. The card that store people gave her, the very first time she had come here for shopping and had spent her entire month’s salary on buying clothes she never needed and later never wanted to wear. The good people of the shopping world were nice, cheerful and helpful people. They are always happy to see the Poor Little Indian. The people of the shopping world pampered their First Customer with ladies flanking her on both sides and a personal attendant to take out the clothes that she pointed at. The two angels flanking the Poor Little Indian helped her in spending her money. The angel on the right even let her in, on a company secret, if you shop for more than ten thousand you will get double points today. Overwhelmed by special treatment of the shop angels, The First Customer went on a shopping spree. A small voice inside tried to remind her of the current date and her salary, but the soothing voice of the shop angels was louder than the inner voice. Finally the First Customer finished her shopping and gave her card for payment processing. Since, the Poor Little Indian was the First Customer in the shopping world the payment went through easily with the card. Then she swiped her Privilege Card and Voila! The angel was right she got double point for shopping.
Let me help you understand the points. For every two hundred rupee you spend you are given one point. But on that special day the First Customer was given one point for every hundred rupee she spent. So for every ten thousand rupee that she was spending earlier she was getting fifty point but today the First Customer, The Queen of the Shopping World was showered with one full hundred point for the ten thousand she had spent. Oh! By the way, in the shopping world, one point equals one rupee, could be less. Now you calculate how much you spend for the points.
When the First Customer of the shopping world was leaving the store with bags full of shopping material, the security guard stopped her to check her bill and the contents of the bags just to ensure she was not Stealing anything from the shopping world. The Great First Customer of the shopping world was brought back to reality by the security guard. She was the Poor Little Indian again. She went to the food court to eat out which incidentally she could afford only once a month on her salary day. She walked around the food court trying to decide which part of the country her food should come from or may be it could come from Italy. These days Mexico is also serving food to the patrons of the food court at The Great Indian Mall. Walking around the food court The Poor Little Indian stood more confused than ever before.
So how do they make this Chhole Bhature that it costs ten times more than the one in market outside? What kind of Aaloo do they put in Aaloo Parantha that it costs as much as the Pizza. What is the secret “out of Hyderabad” way of cooking Hyderabadi Biryani that it looks and tastes like Pulao with Mutton in it? But it is still cheaper to eat Burger than Biryani. Is the Poor Little Indian Customer being bombarded with cheaper Burger, Pizza and Pasta OR is the Indian Food Court getting out of reach of the Poor Little Indian?
After overcoming all the confusion, the Poor Little Indian ordered some food for which she had to pay first, lest she returns the food. The first bite of the food tells you why they take the money before giving the food. After pushing the over-priced and severely-under-tasted food down her throat, the Poor Little Indian wanted to have a Great Indian Taste. Beside the food court was the Great Indian Kufliwala. The Poor Little Indian wanted to refresh her school-time memories and ordered the biggest kufli. But the Great Indian Kulfiwala in the Great Indian Mall does not take the card of The Great Indian Bank. He wants cash. So the Poor Little Indian went in search of cash. “Koi card swipe karke cash de do baba.” But Thank God for the Great Indian Bankers at the Great Indian Bank who thought of putting the Great Indian Teller (ATM) at the Great Indian Mall. Now the Poor Little Indian can draw some cash and eat her Kulfi.
So the Poor Little Indian went to the Great Indian Teller to draw cash. Now, since the Great Indian Teller was in The Great Indian Mall the currency notes available were only 500 and 1000. So the Poor Little Indian punched many keys and answered many unwanted questions to the machine to withdraw Rs. 500 and waited for the money. The Machine made a lot of different noises and a slip came out instead of money. “Transaction declined. Insufficient Balance.” The Poor Little Indian was confused. She checked her balance and the receipt said “Balance: Rs. 499.74”. The Poor Little Indian was heartbroken. She came out of the Great Indian Mall and messaged her friend to transfer 10-20 rupees in her account so that she can take out Rs. 500 otherwise Rs. 99 would be wasted. The Poor Little Indian headed home armed with Bags full of NEW clothes she may not wear, foul after-taste of the over-priced food, a debit card with money to debit and of course no cash. On the way she received a message that Rs. 20 had been credited in her account. She stopped her vehicle at a Great Other Bank. She went inside to withdraw cash from the Great Other ATM. She again punched in many keys to withdraw her last Rs. 500. She again waited while the machine made many different sounds. Then finally the slip came out “Transaction Declined. Insufficient Funds” The Poor Little Indian was now thoroughly confused. She checked the account balance which said “Available Balance: Rs.519.74” She could not understand why she was not able to get cash in spite of having enough balance. What the Poor Little Indian did not know was that she had already made her four transactions from other Banks. Now The Poor Little Indian had to pay Rs. 20 extra for the transaction which, the Great Other Bank wanted before giving Rs. 500. So the Poor Little Indian was not able to withdraw her last Five Hundred because her account was short by 26 Paisa. The low balance was because of some deduction for some service which the Poor Little Indian did not know that she had to pay the bank for.
So this Great New System of the Great Indian Economy has left THIS Poor Little Indian dazed and confused about what to do. Should I focus on my work to earn money or manage money or save money? How do I keep my money safe from the Cash-Hounds? How do I become part of this Great-New-Electronic-Money-Charge-Customer-For-Every-Service-Financial-System?
May be I can keep my CASH in a Safe in my house, just like my Grandmother did. At least, she OWNED and POSSESSED her money not the Great New Financial System.