Life after demonetisation

I was in the hospital along with my mother in law (mil) when PM Modi gave his speech on the notes ban on Rs.500 & Rs.1000 denominations. Although it was almost past the dinner time, I didn’t really feel anything at that point. But next day, the breakfast was late and so was the lunch, even for the patients who were meant to get food on a certain time. Interestingly, the coffee vendor the hospital floor was not accepting card, Paytm and or the old notes. Which means I didn’t get coffee that morning.

Ah! Yes I was very irritated and getting restless even. Following week after demonetisation; we ran out of cash to pay our cook and maid. We had to ask for their bank account details which they didn’t know. Sadly since these two ladies who do such a phenomenal job at my place actually depend on cash for all sorts of transactions and save money in nooks and corners of their homes.

My husband and I switched to Paytm and credit cards for transactions. However, our vegetable vendor took a little while to get online. He still doesn’t accept credit cards but has started Paytm service to maintain his loyal customers.

2 weeks after demonetisation, I find myself standing in never ending ques to get cash an also to deposit cash of old denomination. ATMs are running out of cash and suddenly no one seems to have cash at all.

I managed to give salaries to my maid and cook somehow, and was left with no cash at all. I had to consciously change my shopping style and decide to go to places that accept credit or debit cards. I enjoyed this phase a little as it meant no arguments for change and a proper bill  was given to me.

Eventually, cash has started to appear now. However, I’m now heavily dependent on Paytm and plastic money for transactions; even while commuting by taxis. Although all the political parties and the entire nation is in debate on whether this move by our PM has brought the black money and parallel economy to its knees; I feel the sectors which are heavily cash dependent have suffered the most.

The unorganized sector that employs a lot of people has suffered the most. This move of the present government talks about transparency and technology driven transactions. I’m wondering when and how will my maid and cook become tech savvy?

Wondering all the farmers  and people working in small and medium enterprises will change their business workings consciously to be able to survive the tsunami of demonetisation…

Despite the sudden changes in the economic transactions, life seems to be moving slowly and steadily and coming to normalcy. Nobody seems to be revolting, even if many have lots jobs and are struggling to maintain a steady cash flow and also to continue leading a good life.

The real impact of how much black money was coveted through this exercise is yet to be known. Whether this move will bring about any change in the way how black money is transacted in this country, is questionable. If demonetisation will stop funding of terrorist outfits, is another question to be asked?

The timing of demonetisation in this country while many political parties are prepping for elections in UP, Uttarakhand and several other states is also questionable. Since from now on; no party will be able to transact in cash to bring people to attend rallied and also to form any coalitions whatsoever.

This post is a commoner’s view and experience of demonetisation. I’m not an economist or a politician to project or polarise anyone. Do share your experiences and lets educate, enlighten and empower the masses.

Is it necessary to have love and respect in a relationship?

Is it necessary to have love and respect in a relationship? I’m beginning to think that maybe its not necessary. But I do think love and respect is required to sustain a relationship. Off lately I have been mulling over a lot of such things mainly because I survived a relationship in the recent past (about 7 years ago) that had no love & definitely no respect.

So what did I do? Well I walked out of it but with a lot of fear, self-esteem issues, feeling like a complete failure. I could muster the courage to walk out only when I realised that there was an imminent threat to my life. I mean when I look back, I feel that I must have been so low in self-esteem to even settle to be in a relationship that had no love, no respect and only walk out when there was a threat to my existence!!!

Ah! When I did walk out, there was support that I found in my family and friends. I owe a lot to my parents, who dealt with me with love, kindness and mercy. Which took me a while to show it all to myself and learn to forgive my self and slowly build my confidence bit by bit.

It has been a long journey since then; it has made me realize a lot of things in the process though. One of the things is that no one is obligated to love and give you respect just because you’re in a relationship.

But the biggest revelation has been this, that having love and mutual respect in a marriage is a true blessing indeed! For those who have it, please do not ask for anything more. And do all it takes to believe in your partner and make it work as long as you both find happiness in your relationship.

The definition of development and its interpretation has different meanings

By Celin Thomas

Interesting post title isn’t it? Well I was just thinking about the sector I’m working with and the world that I just visited recently which is far different from where I come from, culturally & even economically. All of this made me ponder over the definition of development and the interpretations of the meaning of the word development.

My search for the meaning of the word development showed me this…

the process of developing or being developed.
synonyms: evolution, growth, maturing, expansion, enlargement, spread, build out, progress, success, blossoming, blooming, burgeoning, headway
a specified state of growth or advancement
a new and advanced product or idea

an event constituting a new stage in a changing situation.
synonyms: event, turn of events, occurrence, happening, circumstance, incident, phenomenon, situation, issue, outcome, upshot

I guess pretty much is the same meaning and definition of the word development that we associate with all the time. Working in the development sector, I have started questioning development itself. I mean the interpretation that I have as opposed to the interpretation of development by the people I’m working with and working for.

The bigger debate here is not just restricted to the meaning of development & its interpretation but it extends to a more sensitive and spiritual zone- where we question, is the idea of development shared by all is same? How do we gauge development? Does development complicate your life? Does development ease your life? Can we be happy without the development being proposed? Why are some people happy despite lack of facilities such as infrastructure, electricity & internet?

There may be more questions, which will be coming to your mind as you read further. But my mind has been constantly wondering as how is Bhutan the happiest nation in the world? Yes I visited Bhutan, I think its a beautiful, scenic nation and everyone must explore it. Its a safe place to visit, culturally and religiously rich country indeed. The people there, they seem to be very relaxed and at peace.

Tourists like us visit such places to find peace and solace. Looking at the staff at the hotel and resort where I lived, I wondered what makes or restricts these people from not pursuing higher education or looking to achieve higher goals, career-wise and otherwise also.

My tour guide informed me that its only the last 10 years with the help of India that infrastructure and telecom have found way here. Most youths travel to India for higher education and return as they prefer the life Bhutan.

Living there I felt there is every reason for them to return- climate, peace and a laid back lifestyle. It may also have a lot to do with the heavy influence of Buddhism in Bhutanese people. I mean not having ambition may seem a little odd for someone like me who comes from a culture and upbringing that has always made me think that your worth & significance is determined by your occupation, marriage & kids. But to come to think of it, the Bhutanese also have the similar expectations as my culture does, the only difference is this- that there is no aggression or pressure involved. They believe in the Buddhist way of life and follow the natural course that life takes and refuse to go against the tide. There is never been a need to prove anything to anybody nor the pressure to do so.

Does this mean that they resist change because they cannot handle it? I don’t think so as there are many Bhutanese who have migrated elsewhere and are involved in different professions elsewhere, is what my tour guide mentioned. I think the gross national happiness of a country has a lot to do with the mindset of the people living there. They don’t seem to be irritated or agitated, certainly not frustrated or unsatisfied.

I think the Bhutanese know the secret that desire causes all suffering and that to live a full life, one doesn’t need to struggle too much after all. As what one needs to survive and live happily is all around us. Maybe we don’t need to struggle after all. I mean there is no point miffing your peers/colleagues, straining personal ties and chasing a goal that will not have any meaning after you realize there is no one you can share the happiness associated with it.

But then again, I maybe wrong! Some people do find happiness in a Jacuzzi then soaking in the natural spring waters/ rivers; some find happiness in a high flying life than in the simplicity of agriculture and living with the nature. I guess the choice is purely individualistic and the decision and action also needs to be driven & initiated from within.

I’m not sure whether Bhutan will continue to remain the same as it is when I visited in September 2014. It will change and I could see glimpses of it during my brief 5 day visit. The youth is heavily influenced by Indian media and Korean films, though they will continue with their faith in their religion- they will eventually adopt a different life style.

Thimpu the national capital is completely urbanized and doesn’t offer much to a tourist. Paro is beautiful and the areas on the outskirts of the city have the rural ethnic vibe which is very original Bhutan culture.

I think Bhutan is also adopting the interpretation of development as is understood globally and this fact will change the gross happiness quotient also. And I hope, it only improves it…