Postcard #31: The Kormangala ATM tour

Modi’s demonetization is really putting a hitch in my giddy-up. Banks are shuttered closed, tattered inkjet signs marked “NO CASH” hang from the grills closing off the ATM vestibules. As soon as the shutters rise, people line up to withdraw their measly 2000 rupee bill. Limit one per person. People emerge from the vestibule, soberly folding the purple note into their wallets. They got their money, but who will be able to make change, as I have yet to see a new 500 rupee note. This occasion has helped me improve my Hindi: “cash nahin,” or “no cash.”

On the eve of our departure to the remote town of Gokarna, on the Karnataka coast, we were desperately in need of bills. I spent nearly the entire day walking 12km to try to find an open ATM with money in it. Seeing a crowd, I joined the queue. Axis Bank rejected my transaction several times. When it was time to process, the screen went completely black for an alarming amount of time. The security guard, with his rifle swinging loosely and recklessly from his shoulder told me it was impossible to get cash out with my foreign card. So, if you are ever interested in a walking tour of Koramangala’s ATMs, please contact me, (cash only please.)

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