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Plastic Money

Plastic Money

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Published by CHETSUN
This humourous article is published in OUTLOOK by Mr.Gopalakrishna Gandhi, Former Governor of West Bengal, India and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and C.Rajagopalachari. (Rajaji)
This humourous article is published in OUTLOOK by Mr.Gopalakrishna Gandhi, Former Governor of West Bengal, India and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and C.Rajagopalachari. (Rajaji)

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Published by: CHETSUN on Nov 21, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Outlookindia.com: The Outlook Group
Magazine | Nov 28, 2011
humourPaanch Rupaiya...Plastic money, that huge help, can be the most horribleembarrassment...Gopalkrishna GandhiPlastic money, that huge help, can be the most horribleembarrassment. Whenever I give my debit card to a shopkeeper orcounter to be swiped, I do so in trepidation. If the frog-like machinestays cold and refuses to savour the slide, I am in distress. Themoment of reckoning, of course, comes when the disgorged card isreturned to me with “Sorry sir, the machine is not accepting yourcard”. My reactions of “But how?” and “I cannot understand” are of nointerest to the person at the counter, who has turned by then to thenext customer.Having been told at the airport check-in counter that I had overshot myfree baggage allowance and needed to pay Rs 700 for the excess, Iwent to ‘Excess Baggage’ to pay up.“Can I pay by card?”“Of course, sir. May I have it?”“Here it is.” The card is inserted into the frog’s smile. It is removed, reinserted. Acolleague is called to cajole it. No luck.“Sir, I am sorry, the machine is not supporting your card. Can you payby cash?”“Cash? Let me see. Oh no, I am sorry, I have only Rs 570.”“We will accept that, sir.”“Let me see if I can get the card to work on an ATM, draw the full Rs700. Is there an ATM around?”“Oh yes, sir, right there.”
 The process is repeated. Only, the ATM is not half as polite.‘Transaction invalid.’ I am glad to get my card back from its sullen jaws.What is wrong? Two rejections on my account, which I know is notempty even if not replete. I empty my wallet of its entire contents andget my boarding card.It is a low-cost flight. And it is lunch time. I know the feeling is whollypsychological, but am I hungry! If I had a wallet full of currency, I mighthave bought something to nibble, but the knowledge that my doublefold of old leather has only a cold and twice-spurned card and picturesof my loved ones looking most anxiously at my sobered face, I try tocamouflage the pangs of appetite with the pretence of sleep. But whenthe odds are against you, they are remorseless. The in-flight announcements spell out the delicious fare that is to besold and you are invited to look at the menu in front of your seat withpictures of the scrumptious victuals as well. By the time thestewardesses come round with the food-trolley selling the “delicioussnacks and beverages”, I have given up trying to sleep, and attempt abrave gambit. Perhaps my travel agent has pre-booked a meal for me? The stewardess checks my boarding pass.“No, sir, but may we sell you something from the trolley?”“Thank you, not really. Could I have some plain water?”“Of course, sir.”My next-seat neighbour is then turned to. He orders a handsome meal.When asked “Sandwiches, corn chips?”, he is able to ask, “Do youhave an option of flavours?”“Yes, sir. Jalapenos, tomato.”“Okay, any one of them.”By this time, I have closed my eyes and am trying to sink into thedeepest imaginable slumber. But I succeed only in closed-eyerumination. Easy, man, easy. You are not hungry, you are onlydistressed. This is what is called mental hunger. It is situated in yourmind, not in your tum. And as to your purse, it is not empty. Wait tillyou land and your local ATMs will refill it. Your card, poor thing, can’treally be blamed. After all, it was in a new city.

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