Yesterday I was out of cash and had to go to a bank for withdrawal. After India demonetized the higher currency notes on Nov 8th I’ve been able to avoid having to go and join these serpentine queues, but today I had to draw the money myself because of the Christmas Weekend Holidays. It took 1 hour 15 mins to withdraw Rs 10,000/- from my account.This bank had reduced the withdrawal limit from Rs 20,000/- a day due to lack of currency notes. It is now 45 days from the date of announcement of the war against black money and terrorism and the effect is still telling hard on the population and businesses. Millions or probably billions of man days are being wasted standing in queues to withdraw your own money. This is one more instance of fantastic intention but poor planning and execution. I don’t even want to guess the loss in productivity and to the economy.
Well, that’s not the topic of today’s gratitude. I went to the bank hoping I will get some of this money in change rather than Rs 2000 notes. I had just used up my last 10 rupee note for the car parking and I had no notes or change in my wallet. I wanted to pick up some cutlets and samosas for myself from a popular local outlet since I was peckish. But all I got after this long wait was Rs 2000/- notes only. I went into a bakery close by to pick up some items that I really did not need so I can get some change. I stretched out a 2k note and waited hopefully for change. He refused to accept and showed me how his cash box had only 2k notes and no change. He asked me to pay by card and I had to.
I was still hungry, the smell of the cutlets and samosas were killing me. I had skipped lunch and was heading home for an early dinner and I had to have that snack now and I was not going to give up yet. So I went to another store and bought a few more things I did not need and again hopefully proffered this 2k note to him. I received the same reply and the same show of the cash box. My face fell and I looked visibly dejected and broken and something clicked within the store keeper. He looked around to see if his manager was about and then pulled up whatever Rs 100 notes were there and some more assorted change and gave me the change for my 2k note. My heart sang and I thanked him from the bottom of my heart, grabbed the change and rushed out to get those delicious samosas and cutlets.
I felt like I had waited close to t2 hours, overcome so many obstacles, and won a huge challenge. The same feat of buying cutlets and samosas was an ordinary event till now. I did not have to write 500 words to crow about the victory. The same event was now being experienced very differently. Why?
I also noticed that I was happier to receive hundreds, fifties, and tens rather than receive 2000 rupee notes though their value was higher. Why?
The currency notes have value only when it can get us what we need at that moment. If I was pushed even further it was possible that I might have paid a 2000 rupee note for just 50 rupees worth of samosas.
Think about it. The value of what we have is only proportional to the value of what we can get at that moment. All the money in the world is not worth it when my health or the health of my loved one is at stake. You may buy the best treatment but can you make up for the years of neglect that you gave it?
Or for a man in the desert who has not had water for days, he will sell his house and all his properties for one bottle of water.
Let us cherish what we have. Let us cherish all the people and things that we are currently taking for granted. If it can give you pain when you lose it, why can’t you give gratitude to it when you have it.
I am grateful to this storekeeper for showing compassion and for teaching me this life lesson.
Go live life with gratitude. I am.