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Rs 2,000: A spaced-out odyssey

Are we fighting the corruption that was created due to the fight against corruption in 2016, wonders comedian Vikram Poddar

Vikram Poddar | Published 21.05.23, 03:14 PM

My Kolkata

I imagine somewhere there is a meme machine going “2,000 things you can do with your Rs 2,000 notes instead of returning them”. The engagement on such a gigantic post alone would be more worth more than 2k. In the year 2000, we had the Y2K crisis, which never quite happened. A lot like the Mayans predicting the end of the world in 2012. But our government did call for the end of fake currency, terrorism, corruption, nepotism, hedonism and feminism when it attacked its own currency in 2016.

I remember I was haggling with a client who was baulking at paying 100% advance for a corporate comedy show. But, as soon as the announcement came, his peon came and dumped the whole amount in old notes at my house even before I could shout “demonetisation!”. I joked about this in the show as well and to their credit the client laughed heartily.

Having a laugh?


Perhaps our government is playing the same joke on us. By taking a leaf out of George Orwell’s 1984, where the enemy and the hero kept changing as per the government’s narrative, like a state-funded Instagram reel years ahead of time. We were told to get rid of 500, 100 and get notes of Rs 2,000 instead, because who the hell does not want to take a taxi from Park Street to Park Circus and then expect the cabbie to exchange your Rs 2,000 note and return you Rs 1,963. There are times when the cabbie looked at me like I had asked for his kidney, or worse, he was contemplating taking mine.

Now, we are being told the same notes must be returned to fight the corruption that was created due to the fight against corruption in 2016. I am happy to wait for the return of the fight against the fight against corruption, so I don’t have to withdraw my Rs 2,000 notes all over again. So, I don’t have to worry about the Sept 30 deadline for exchanging them and I can sing “Wake me up when September ends”.

Somebody that I used to know

The move has been initiated under the RBI’s ‘Clean note’ policy. The RBI figured that even if they are being exchanged under the table, at least the notes should be clean. The Rs 2,000 note has gone from being a necessary evil in our wallets to the lyrics by that Gotye song Now you’re just somebody that I used to know. Ironically, since the one-hit-wonder singer was never heard of again, he became a victim of his own lyrics. Just like our finance minister seems to be a victim of her own lyrical claims about the economy.

This move has come right on the heels of the 20% TCS, the increased angel tax and a presumed guilty until innocent regulation by securities market regulator SEBI (or is it Shabby?). If 2020 was a lockdown of humanity, 2023 seems to be a complete lockdown on sanity. But don’t worry, if there is one thing that will never get demonetised in this country, it is anonymous electoral bonds. Or as this government would call them, Performance Linked Incentives. On that note, please help me reach 2,000 likes, shares and comments on this article. So I can exchange them for two posts with 500 and 1,000 likes each.

The author, Vikram Poddar, is a Marwari investment banker turned corporate comedian. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website. 

Last updated on 21.05.23, 03:14 PM

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