The sound of the armoured van backing into the vault brought to life the crowd gathered outside the entrance. They began to applaud. They had been waiting for this moment for days. This was their city’s last remaining bank. It was the only one that hadn’t gone bust during the economic collapse. Now their currency, their electronic money, and their ModiKoins, were all useless. As the sun rose on the dusty horizon, some of the gathered people began to be filled with hope. They would each be issued a Rs 5 trillion note, and that would at least buy them enough supplies to last a week. Things were finally looking up. After all, they still trusted their leader. He was the one who got them into this mess, and he would be the one to get them out.
The final countdown
As the sun shines on yet another crisp winter morning, my appreciation of the prime minister continues to grow. He is a man who continues to prove that he thinks big and isn’t afraid to take big risks. His demonetisation policy is just the latest proof of his genius. It’s his final Hail Mary pass against black money. If this works, then it is because of all the hard work Modiji put in. If it doesn’t, then the bureaucrats who assured him that they could make the currency ban work should take responsibility for the mess and resign in disgrace.
As India’s premier industrialist, I feel it is my duty to support the prime minister during these hard times. I know it seems that me embracing anti-black money measures is like Honey Singh embracing the feminist manifesto, but I’m not fibbing. I wholeheartedly support the government trying to suss out those unpatriotic black money hoarders who give the rest of us a bad name. Do you think I have large amounts of black money lying around my house in large VIP suitcases, like some small-time crook in a Hindi movie from the Eighties? Next, you’re going to accuse me of having gold biscuits in my “Swiss account”, like I’m some goddamn amateur.
Here’s the thing: black money is like an illegitimate offspring – it should be working harder than your legitimate children to impress you. To make sure no one finds out about them, send them to a tax shelter like the Cayman Islands. Then, let them kick around there for a few years before you call them back here to help fund your real estate or telecom ventures. When they come back, no one recognises them because they’re now an entirely different person with a new name and identity. Only you and your accountant know who they really are.
Look, my support for the government’s anti-black money initiative isn’t mere lip service. I’ve even got all my companies to contribute. For example, whenever an Opposition party calls for a bandh or a strike, I ask my employees to work for an extra couple of hours, just to make a point. And if they dare to ask for overtime pay, I summon my most moral indignant voice and ask them whether they are comfortable asking for overtime pay while our soldiers are dying at the border.
What I don’t get are so many critics of the government’s demonetisation policy. The same people were mocking Modiji for not being able to complete his election time vow of depositing Rs 15 lakh in every bank account from all the black money he was going to bring back home. Well, demonetisation is sort of like that. Except it’s two-and-a-half-lakh rupees of your own money! Still, it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it? Technically, there was money deposited in your account. And some of it might be black money, right? Therefore, instead of criticising the prime minister, we should all be appreciating him for keeping one of his campaign promises!
No money, no problems
Another thing people like to bring up is the trouble faced by poor people. Now, look, you don’t have to tell me about the suffering of the poor. I once had to travel on an Air India economy class flight because of an emergency. So yes, I am very well informed about how the poor live. And from what I saw, standing in line isn’t a problem for them. In fact, the poor are always standing in line! They perhaps even expect it. If they’re able to get something done without actually having to struggle for it, they even get suspicious. So why should we deny them their daily dose of suffering?
As for the rich, and those who’re actually rich but think they’re middle class, it’s a timely reminder for them that they still live in India. Your gated communities can’t keep reality at bay anymore. You’ve gotten really complacent over the past decade-and-a-half about the problems of this country because you thought your EMIs and Uber rides insulated you. But then on November 8 the Indian government finally showed you who’s the real boss. It can wreak havoc in your safely curated world just because it has the power to do so. Don’t you ever forget that! By the time this government is done, those old enough to have lived in Indira Gandhi’s license-raj era are going to recall it as a golden period of freedom.
As for the tourists getting stuck in our country after suddenly finding themselves bereft of any valid local currency, I say that it serves them right. How many times do they have to suffer to realise that they’re risking their lives whenever they come here? Don’t they get that we merely see them as walking dollar signs whom we can con out of all their cash? Our tourism slogan is Incredible India because it would be incredible if you go back in one piece without at least three horror stories. Being a foreign tourist in India is as adventurous as trying to climb Mount Everest during avalanche season.
Honey, I think I shrunk the economy
Another thing the government has going for itself is the support for its policy by the leading thinkers of the world. Sure, people like Larry Summers, Kaushik Basu, Amartya Sen and Paul Krugman are ruining our demonetisation buzz with their negative outlook, but what do these guys know about economics? They’re all theory. You know who knows better? Our spiritual gurus. And most of them have come out in support of the government. Our gurus have lived the economy so they know what works and what doesn’t. In fact, spiritual gurus in this country are proof that all that you need to succeed in life is a strong will, a little divine intervention and a large amount of investment provided by a generous Mauritius-based shell corporation.
Anyway, we don’t have to convince the majority of this country that already supports the government. They’ll take their suffering on the chin as long as someone makes vague promises about a glorious future. You shouldn’t be surprised at how wilfully people live in denial about the way the country is run even though they experience it everyday. People want to feel like they’re part of something big. They want to be told that they’re being active participants in changing the world. The people of this country will literally believe everything, as long you tell them that this will alleviate their pain sometime in the future. They have to hold on to that small ray of hope so that the darkness doesn’t engulf them. Because, if you don’t believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel, then why would you even bother walking through it?
Now please excuse me, I’m late for my local MLA’s daughter’s wedding. I heard they have a replica of an ATM that dispenses real cash.