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Modi’s Surgical Strike against Black Money!

Srinivasan Balakrishnan

The 8th of November 2017 is the victorious (?!) 1st anniversary day of the so-called Modi’s surgical strike against black money that was launched on the black night of 8th Nov 2016. Though nights are always black, this particular night was sinisterly black and dark. Oops! I forgot to take off my sun goggles!  So, no wonder the opposition parties are observing the day as Black Day.

Well, my main grouse is that I got my very own 500 rupee note only on the 100th day after its launch. Should I celebrate it or lament over it! The ATM was at last kind enough to vomit a crisp 500 rupee note, just only one; the rest were the pinkish 2000 notes and five dirty 100 rupee notes.  I am scared of the 2000 notes though they resemble the kids’ fake currency notes of Trade game. Because the ATMs always throw up this high value currency notes, I am scared of the ATMs as well.

Meanwhile, there were rumours that Modiji had one more trump card hid up in his designer kurta sleeves – that of demonitising even the newly-released 2000 rupee note! Oh, my Gosh! I can’t stand it; I better sit in the ATM queue! Whereas people waited in serpentine queues to get the pittance of Rs. 2,000, bundles & bundles of crisp currency notes were seized. Visibly some bank people were in connivance with the bigwigs.

I vividly remember the Black Tuesday night of 8 November 2016.  I was in the office and there was the pre-Breaking News that the PM was to make an important announcement. Some thought it could be cabinet reshuffle, replacing incompetent ministers with more incompetent ones. Another warmonger felt it could be surgical war (after surgical operation on the border) against Pakistan. He even said he had built a bunker in his house with much forethought. At that moment how I wished I had had that pre sense!

As I reached my home, my wife was immersed in never-ending serials; not only Tamil serials but also English (with Priyanka Chopra in) and the dubbed ones from Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam and what all you have. Wish Tamil puritans would object to dubbing serials.  Due to the continuous blaring, some bits & pieces had drilled into my thick skull and entered my dull brain. So I asked her what happened to the suffering daughter-in-law in this serial and to the suffering mother-in-law in that other serial, to keep her in good mood. “Oh, I think I forgot to add salt to the uppuma (kichdi); eat it that way, it’s good for your BP”, she barked at me for disturbing her.

During the commercial break I had the nerve to ask her to shift to a news channel and lo! The Big and Bad announcement of Black Money Operation was being announced by the PM.  My wife screeched as if a cockroach had landed on her head and I scurried with an insecticide to spray on her face; alas, it was not a cockroach!  I immediately realized that she had secretly stacked and slashed some money. It was all pious and religious hoardings, meant as offering to both Saivaite and Vaishnavaite pantheons and her countless spiritual gurus. Never mind the secret hoarding, I solaced her and she, in return, promised never to forget to add salt in the uppuma; in fact, she would be liberal, she pointed out, so that I, the dumb husband, would react to her arguments and acquisitions to make them more lively.  So sweet (salt) of you!

As is the wont with the TV channels, they made hay as the black money shone with non-stop discussions of unbearable shouting about the pros and cons of Modi’s money mantra. Waiting for an issue, the opposition parties, some with heavy money bags, joined the fray. They cried foul that it was Modi’s election strategy to literally squeeze the ‘Elephant’ and puncture the ‘Cycle’ in the UP Assembly elections.

Almost when the deadline for depositing the demonitised notes was nearing, we realized that we had very safely tucked away Rs. 50,000/- during the Dec. 2015 floods, but where? That was a 50,000 rupee question! A frantic search left the house as if cyclone-hit. This was followed by a more dangerous mutual blaming game. At the end we were unanimous in blaming Modiji for all the chaos, and made peace. Lucky we escaped the tortuous post-deadline formalities and questionings, enquiries, et al.

The pinkish 2000 note led to many heated exchanges. The shop people insisted on purchasing for a minimum amount to hand over the balance. This is okay in shops, but what happens in hotels? Just to get back the balance can you stuff your stomach with all the goodies? Maybe you can take away for the days to come as well and stuff it in the fridge, instead.

However mighty & lofty the idea was, planning was amiss. But there are claims and counter claims about pre-planning.  All said and (little) done, the ‘little pain and suffering’ prolonged and prolonged and, at the end, as usual, the people got accustomed to it. Life went on smoothly!   So, people were inclined to call him Maddy Modi and Moody Modi. 

 As if to remind this Surgical Strike to the coming generations, I had stashed some currency notes of the demonitised 500 and 1000 value. They are very well within the limits one could hold back, as permitted by Modiji. So don’t dare alerting Modiji !  He must be planning to celebrate the victorious anniversary day!  Or maybe he is cooking up another magic to be used on the gullible and hapless citizens.   

By the by, I am yet to get hold of the 200 rupee note and the new 50 rupee note as well. They say the ATMs are yet to be recalibrated. It is for the pundits to analyse the success or failure of Modi’s surgical strike; what I am concerned as an aam aadmhi is that I should be able to use my money without any hardship.


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