Six hours of wait, anger - to get our own money

Six hours of wait, anger - to get our own money

Submitted by alvin on Thu, 2016-11-17 18:44 New Delhi: After spending six long hours to withdraw just 10,000 rupees from my bank account, I realized what demonetisation has done to the mass of India.My landlady's insistence that I pay the house rent in cash compelled my flatmate and I to reach the Jangpura branch of HDFC Bank here at 7.30 a.m. on Thursday.People had been forming a queue there from 6 in the morning. We were relieved there were only 10 to 12 people ahead of us. I was confident I would get my money by 10.30 a.m. - half hour after the bank opens.This was our second attempt at the bank. On Saturday, we returned home disappointed after being in the queue for three hours when the bank ran out of money.Every five minutes in the queue on Thursday seemed like an hour. As we were busy chatting with one another, the man who collects garbage from the bank appeared from nowhere. He was fuming.He refused to collect the waste from the bank because, he said, the HDFC failed to provide him money the previous day. Despite the bank guard's repeated requests, the garbage man refused to yield. As he pedalled away, he chuckled as if he was deriving a sadistic pleasure from his act of revenge. It was very symbolic.The clock struck 9.30 a.m. but there was no sign of a cash van. The bank did open half an hour later. By then the queue had become winding, stretched up to 100 metres, spilling on to the busy road outside.Patience was running thin. People were getting agitated and impatient. Some had come to exchange the now worthless 500 and 1,000 rupee notes for new currency. Others wanted to withdraw money from their accounts.The cash van finally came at 11 a.m. -- almost two hours late.People were by now questioning the bank officials about the whole affair. A few complained that they had been coming daily to withdraw cash or exchange the spiked currency but their efforts were in vain.On Thursday, the bank suddenly ruled that it would only cater to the account holders when it came to exchanging money. This was a rude shock to many. It led to loud protests.Though there were two queues, for depositing cash and exchanging them, people expressed anger after coming to know that those who had gone inside the bank to deposit old money, the shorter queue, had withdrawn cash.This made the crowd more agitated. Many again started shouting and screaming at the bank officials."This is not true. No one who has gone inside to deposit money will be allowed to withdraw. Please bear with us," said an exasperated official at the bank.This pacified the crowd to some extent. But there was ruckus when someone demanded to know angrily why no notice was hung up to indicate which queue was for depositing money and which one was for cash withdrawal. The queue moved at a snail's pace.Finally, we entered the bank around 12.30 p.m. -- five hours after we had first landed outside the HDFC.As I stood in front of the teller waiting for my turn, the customer ahead of me took out five or six bundles of old currency, turned towards me and said with a smirk: "This is what you call black money."Is this yours, I asked. "Yes," said the man, smiling.By the time I withdrew my money (around 1.30 p.m), the man ahead of me was still struggling to get his cash deposited. The teller asked him to get the deposit approved by the bank manager.When I stepped out, I felt as if I had scaled the Himalayas!