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Past two days, a different kind of bank has served the families. A bank that no government recognizes but it came to aid on the proverbial 'rainy day'. It paid the urgent bills, bought groceries, pitched in for the shortage of change. Helped us pay to the auto rickshaw to travel. It is the humble children’s piggy bank or Gullak.
During the sudden currency ban, children’s piggy banks have been raided like never before. The bigger avatars of Goddess Luxmi, 500 and 1000 notes suddenly lost their sheen. Mothers have been holding the fort by the humble, hundred and ten rupee notes from their kids’ savings and gift money. Aate daal ka hisaab has been paid off by bachchon ki chillar.
Accept it ladies- all mommies pinch change from piggy banks. Admit it, you have broken into those innocent unprotected vaults and borrowed before. Newspapers like Guardian and Mirror in UK have printed elaborate studies about parents doing so. That ‘presswalla’ waiting for his urgent hisaab or the online delivery asking to tender exact change, make us borrow from that tempting source of ready chhutta. Only we are not so prompt to return it.
Some of us are just not guilty and say, "Hamara paisa hi to hai.” Some of us return much later and some return a random amount. About me, at times I keep a much bigger note back, just to get rid of my guilt. At times I buy them that one more thing at the mall because I know I owe them money.
This time when I opened their gullak, I realized what joy children feel to have several small notes and not one big denomination for their savings. I was happy that relatives were still stingy and paid hundred or two-fifty rupees and not five hundred notes to kids. Even if you don't have to dig into that measly sum of money, it’s still a good idea to keep it.
TOI today printed the story of Jeevan Bhatia, owner of a glass manufacturing compny in Thane. He borrowed eight hundred rupees from his daughter’s bank to pay at the BMc’s Octroi naka at LBS Marg. The officials refused to take rupee five hundred notes. His truck had been held up because of lack of change. His daughter’s ten rupee notes and coins saved the day for him.
In another story, Meenakshi Shinde had to pay off an electricity bill for Rs. 476 and she had only three hundred rupee notes. The man at the counter refused to accept a five hundred-rupee note. She borrowed from her daughter and suitably punished the counter guy with two and one rupee coins to count for the balance hundred and seventy-six rupees. My friends have been pouring stories in the Whatsapp groups about shamelessly digging in the children’s savings to buy things.
Times like these teach us the value of ‘Lakshmi in all her avatars’. The big notes have ditched us like rich friends and short change has come to rescue like childhood pals who pooled money for the ‘canteen samosa’. Spending thousands has not given me the satisfaction, as being able to complete amounts for paying off these small sums. Best part is when my daughter proudly stands there with eyes shinning brightly, “See my savings matter!”
Thank you PM Modi, your surgical strike has beaten ATM cards, checkbooks and big notes and has taught us families the value of small savings and piggy banks like never before. We pledge to replenish the borrowed sums, and encourage our kids to maintain them. After all we parents need them to bail us out everyday.