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LOVE IN THE TIMES OF DEMONETISATION

 

Krish had the unique talent of remembering and keeping track of days and dates. So he knew he would never forget November 8th, 2016- the day he finally confessed his love to Nalini. He had secretly admired her for a long time, but since he was in his final year of college, he knew it was high time to give words to his feelings. She smilingly accepted his devotion and made him the happiest man in the world. But his dreamy happiness was disrupted when he reached his hostel. The entire hostel was in an uproar!

Apparently the Prime Minister said that the Five- Hundred and Thousand Rupee notes were no longer legal tender. Some friends excitedly screamed that this move would end all the corruption and misery of this world.

His bubbly happiness burst in an instant. Just that day he had withdrawn five thousand rupees from the ATM. He consolingly stroked the bundle of ten five- hundred rupee notes in his pocket reflecting nostalgically of how, just an hour ago, he’d fixed a date with his girlfriend with the confidence of a rich man. They had grand plans- a movie, a romantic meal in McDonalds, ice- cream in the footpath… Maybe in a flurry of love, he would even have presented her with a bouquet of red- roses and a bunch of heart- shaped balloons, and a teddy- bear; because that’s how Bollywood had trained him.

The next weekend, in which all this was supposed to have taken place, Krish stood in the queue. When he should have been gazing deeply into the world’s most beautiful eyes, he was forced to vigilantly look out for the sly creatures that silently slithered into the line by taking advantage of the narrowest gap. If confronted, they would boldly declare that they were there all along.

“Don’t think of her now! Concentrate! Focus!”

He asked his father to send some more money. The only response he got was the beeping of a disconnected phone- line.

They didn’t spend much time in college because Nalini desired that it be kept a secret. They couldn’t meet after class hours because she had stopped coming to college in her Scooty Pep+. There were all kinds of rumours floating around, and everyone thought it best to preserve petrol. She shared a rickshaw with a bunch of other girls and they left the minute the classes ended.

But Krish and Nalini knew of another way to keep the flame of their romance alive. Phone conversations. And these went on until the wee hours of morning. Krish was once again the happiest man in the world. Once, when he was professing his love for her for the hundredth time that night, her shy giggles suddenly could be heard no more.

Oh, horror! His balance was over! He realized that scaling the Everest would be easier than getting his phone recharged. His friends consoled him by reminding him of the existence of PayTM but that only made things worse. He had no money in the bank. He stood in the serpentine queues several times already, but after some hours, they told him and the others to return the next day.

He begged his friends for money. They all declared that they were broke. The only person with liquid cash was the miserly Hari, who would hound people for every five rupees they owed him. He was rich. But he would never help.

Mr. Modi, please come to the aid of these two young lovers! Do something before they die of broken hearts just like Romeo and Juliet and Laila and Majnu and many others.

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