November 8, 2016: Time 8:30 pm
It was a normal day for me up till that moment, I came back from the office at around 7 Pm had nice cup of green tea and relaxed myself in our cosy couch. Usually we eat our dinner at around 8 every evening but that day we were little unsure on what to eat. My husband was watching some movie on television while I was playing with our 14 month old boy.
It all nice and peaceful up till my husband received a phone call from his friend. I was in other room and all I could hear him say was: ‘Accha’, ‘What’, ‘No way’…I got little curious on his reaction. Generally, he not the guy who gets surprised so quickly, so I knew something BIG has happened. I immediately rushed to the other room where he was talking to his friend. He glanced and winked at me and put on a news channel. The channel was mute as he was still talking to his friend and all I could read on that channel was
BREAKING NEWS: Tenders in Rs.500 and Rs.1000 will stand invalid after midnight today and government will be issuing new currency notes of Rs.2000 and Rs.500
It was indeed BIG news. I was still little unsure of what was happening and when my husband finally put his receiver down, we raised the volume of our TV sets to understand what it was all about. A day which up till that moment was going at a leisurely pace, empathetically paced up. In matter of few minutes, the whole country turned upside down.
My Social media walls were quickly filling up with all kinds of messages. Well that is how quick digital marketing is these day. Some of the PDF’s were so creative that made me wonder how quickly they came up with such messages and images in just 10-15 minutes.
However, as the night progressed we knew that things are not going to be the same for the next few days. Everyone was confused as to what will happen and how things will unfold. 11th November brought Indians out of their homes and into the banks. For us first few days went well, we had few 100Rs notes with us and we usually do most of our transactions online, so managed the tide for first few days calmly. Though, I hadn’t used PAYTM till that time, I went ahead and installed it on my phone. However the real need for cash came up after 7 days.
I had my tickets booked for Delhi and I was travelling with my 14 month old son. We needed cash so I and my husband decided to search ATM all across city to withdraw some money out of it. We searched and searched hard but found nothing. We waited in some long queues as well but had to return without cash. That was for the time when I realised that the situation outside was actually bad.
Next morning we went to our bank but were unable to withdraw even 1000Rs as bank didn’t have cash. Though I had an online wallet but still the prospect to travel with a small child in a train without any concrete cash was daunting. Somehow, I arranged for Rs 800 and went ahead with my planned scheduled, but it was very tough indeed.
Another instance where I really feel cash struck was on 1st of December. I had to pay to my maid at home, maid at office, Security guards Dhobi and other people in cash as they don’t have bank accounts. This process again got me standing in long queues of bank and ATMS. I had to go in bank for 3 consecutive days to withdraw Rs 8000 to pay these bills.
Since then like every person, we made some changes to our shopping behaviors and tried to buy whatever we could online. Here are few things that changed from us after November 8, 2016.
- Paytm and other E wallets are good they need a lot of improvements, there were moments when even with good internet connection the process of payment became slow. Also in areas where Internet connection is not that good, it is affectless.
- Paying through card actually get you to pay more, well it happened with me at least.
- Not everyone accepts payments from card even though they claim it. So, please check in advance before making a purchase.
- People are warming up to the cashless transactions but still it is far away from comfort.
- E wallets and online payment portals need to speed up their servers and beef up its security, as it is a big responsibility that is coming their way, in coming few days.
- In Metro cities, you can strive on cashless transactions but still you need cash.