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Day 18: Killer Chillar

Location : The Supermarket

I buy some grocery items and cosmetics. I stand in queue at the billing counter and when my turn arrives, the person at the counter scans the items and tells me the amount. It is 439 INR. I give him a 500 INR note and he hands me back 60 INR and one eclairs toffee instead of Re 1.

WTH!! Many of you must have faced a similar situation. Why am I unhappy with one of the most popular chocolates? Because

# It is not a fair exchange

# In reality I am being forced to buy something instead of getting money due.

# You know how a pot of water fills by drops of water. Similarly losing change at grocery stores and other such places regularly is actually creating a big difference.

# Chocolates and candies are bad for teeth so there can be an increase in dental bills

# Chocolates and candies are high in saturated fat, and a large part of the calories in this food come from sugars. This food also has Trans Fat.

# Most importantly I want my change and I DO NOT want an eclairs!

A survey conducted in 2012 by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in response to complaints from the public, found that 44% of people in 12 Indian cities had the same experience; candies instead of coins for change.

According to The Hindu dated 4 April 2013, 18 bank branches have been identified to distribute coins daily and tide over the shortage

1. There is a dearth of Rs. 2, Rs. 5 coins in many cities across India

2. Banks say they distribute 10-30 bags, each containing 2,500 coins, every month

3. RBI has pumped in coins worth nearly Rs. 16 crore over the past year

After RBI’s decision, coin counters in banks have closed down and the shortage of small-denomination notes and coins has hit the roof. Small-time traders and merchants depend heavily upon these coin counters at banks. There is a huge bottleneck in the circulation of coins in the market. For my research for this post, I came to know that shopkeepers and retailers are forced to pay 8% premium to get 100 Re1 coins in the black market. This means they pay Rs8 to Rs10 extra to get 100 coins in Re1, Rs2 and Rs5 denominations. But why do they do that? Because of customers who want their change back and they are not wrong in doing that. But due to insufficient coin circulation, customers are not able to give change but want their due change. Moreover, customers are choosy about which coins they want; the 50-paise coin being the least popular. Though RBI has not discontinued 50 paise coins, people refuse to accept them including beggars. But there are some places where they are still in use.

Some shopkeepers blame the ATMs that churn out only notes of large denominations, some shopkeepers allege that the coins are all taken to Tamil Nadu, melted and made into razor blades.  Confused? ’The one rupee coin after melting can yield six to seven blades, making its total worth over Rs 50. The shopkeepers are turning to beggars and eunuchs for help! But even the beggars are refusing to part with the precious change and if they do, they charge extra for it. Shopkeepers also procure coins from temples and churches, who also don’t give it for free.

Some of the coin counters still functioning are predated by agents who are actually into this very business..they have an understanding with bank officials at the counters and get coins easily instead of shopkeepers standing in queue. Later they sell these coins at a profit to desperate retailers.

A possible solution to this problem, the note to coin change machine made by UK-based Thomas Automatics has been acquired by the government and 150 of those have been installed in banks, railway stations and temples across India since 2003 as of 2007. But it has its own set of issues like equipment failure, low public acceptance etc.

That day is not far when we, the consumers, have to start giving eclairs toffee to toll booths, shopkeepers etc. Toll booths have not started giving eclairs toffee yet but I think they are the ones who should. Maybe the toffee will have some calming effect on drivers and help prevent accidents. :)

or maybe RBI can just declare the eclairs toffee as the new Re 1 coin.

P.S. Chillar means change in Hindi. Candies as change can kill us with diabetes hence the name “Killer Chillar” :D

Appeal to the Public from RBI Website

The Bank, with active co-operation from various agencies, has endeavoured to distribute the coins in an equitable manner to all parts of the country. The mission cannot be successful without unstinting support from the people at large and the various voluntary agencies. Members of public are requested to avoid holding on to coins and instead, use them freely for transactions to make sure that there is a smooth circulation of coins. Voluntary agencies are requested to educate the public about the various facilities available in their areas for distribution of coins, exchange of soiled notes and proper handling of notes.

P.P.S I missed again on Day 17. I was physically and exhausted due to a tiring day at work.

Betrayal

Payal loved her Suresh Uncle. He used to give her chocolates and dolls! Yet, somehow she felt scared walking down that dark alley with him to meet some other Uncles.

Suddenly Payal woke up. Its been 5 years. She still dreamed about that alley everyday.

Meera yelled again “Get ready! Your new customer is waiting”

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Hot As Hell

AAACHHOOOOO!!!!

That morning sneeze…

That morning chill in the air….

That extra laziness to get out of bed…. [extra because I feel lazy to get out of bed daily! :D]

That reluctance to wash one’s face with that cold water….

Even more reluctance to have a bath….Thank god for geyser!

Applying lots of moisturizer on dry skin and lip balm on dry lips….

Eating peas stuffed kachori, vegetable cutlets, carrots, spring onion (pyaj koli to be precise) sabzi ….

Smaller days and longer nights….

That bump in the elbow hurting real bad….

Sipping that warm coffee….

When I got up this morning, I found that winter is here already! In October!

But will it stay?

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Noisy Faith

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There are several ways and mediums of expressing the faith in the Almighty. Temples are also one of these mediums. Several events are organized at temples for mass expression of faith. Such a religious event – Satsang – was held at the temple near my home for ten days. The organizers of this satsang were utilizing the power of loudspeaker to the maximum. The session timings were 8 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm. Though the timings were within the norms, the decibel level of the loudspeaker was not. The norms say :-

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Machismo and Crying

Recently, I had a discussion on crying with Prateek and he declared that guys who cry are not sensitive but sissy. And he even wrote a blog post “Guys don’t cry” to explain his stand. In his post he has cited 5 reasons why guys should not cry in the form of 5 situations. Like a guy should not cry for love or when someone dies etc etc. Anyway, as I strongly disagree to this conservative/orthodox belief, I decided to express my views and ask readers & visitors their opinions. There is an opinion poll at the end of the post. Do participate!

Three types of tears are generated by the human eye. Basal tears protect the eye and keep it moist. Reflex tears flush out the eye when it becomes irritated. And emotional tears flow in response to sadness, distress, or physical pain.

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The Water Day Quiz

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International World Water Day is held annually on 22nd March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.

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Remarriage and Indian Society

A professor in my college had been in a terrible car accident last year and his wife had died on the spot. He has a 10 year old son and a 14 year old daughter. Few days back I came to know that he had remarried after six months. I exclaimed “In just six months??” My colleague who gave the news justified that sir by saying “He has two small kids,madam”. I thought to myself “then he should have got a nanny, not a wife!!”

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Alpenliebe and Cruelty To Zoo Animals

Kids imbibe a lot from the media and their young impressionable minds are easily influenced by advertisements. I am sure there must be many parents who face the daily challenge of denying their kids’ demands and making them understand that why are they not buying the super cool thing shown on tv. I think nowadays around 90% of ads have kids in them and when a kid watches such a commercial, he/she wants the same thing as the kid on tv. Now what if an advertisement is about a small thing such as an Alpenliebe toffee but knowingly or unknowingly shows an act; which if the kids don’t understand to be wrong, they might imitate even when they are adults. I am talking about the act of feeding animals in zoo by visitors.

In the commercial, Kajol feeds the toffee to a crocodile in zoo and the croc finds it so tasty that it keeps following her around. Here is the commercial -

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Cosmetics,Jeans and Indian Culture

So I had taken a break from blogging and was busy studying. But the Vice President of BJP Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi made me come back to express my opinion. He said “kuch hamari behne..mahilayen..lipstick aur powder laga karke aur mombatti le karke aur paschimi sabhyata ke saath waha par aa karke politicians ko gaali de rahi thi. Ye theek waise hi kar rahi hai jo Jammu Kashmir me algaavadi jo hai wo bhi yehi kaam karte hai…blah blah blah”.  Translation – “Some women wearing lipstick and powder have taken to streets in Mumbai and are abusing politicians, spreading dissatisfaction against the democracy. This is what terrorists are doing in Jammu and Kashmir”. You can see him commenting at this link. Sigh! One would expect politicians to be refined, educated, progressive and most importantly to have good PR skills or at least a PR officer. Though BJP has distanced itself saying “These are Naqvi’s personal views and the party had nothing to do with it”; he has found support in RSS now. On NDTV, Sharmila Tagore requested to women that they should ignore Naqvi’s comment and that he is a nobody. By making this an issue we would be giving him way too much importance. I beg to differ because there are some things which I just have to express. And by keeping quiet we let these politicians get away with such so called gaffes.

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Food Superstitions and Myths

You are having a cold. But you had bought a bunch of bananas yesterday. As you reach out to have one, your bananaroom mate or mother or grandmother says “You shouldn’t eat banana when you are having cold.” Why? Because banana is supposed to be a “cold” food and so it might increase the severity of the illness. This is just another example of a food superstition. I have had similar advice from hostel mates to not eat rice, another “cold” food, when one is having fever. I love rice and I hardly eat rotis. Needless to say I didn’t heed my friends’ advice but I never suffered more because of it. There are many such examples of “hot” and “cold” food and similar restrictions. My room mates didn’t use to eat eggs in dinner if there was an exam next day!! You know egg = zero = 0 . Another classic example of food superstition. Here are some more examples from all over the world :-

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Guardian of Hope

The United Nations Children’s FundUNICEF – is well known to all of us. UNICEF focuses on five major areas. They are :-

  1. Child Survival and Development
  2. Basic Education and Gender Equality
  3. HIV/AIDS and Children
  4. Child Protection from violence, exploitation, and abuse
  5. Policy advocacy and partnerships for children’s rights

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not. The leaders also wanted to make sure that the world recognized that children have human rights too. The children’s corner in the UNICEF website for India helps in knowing the rights of a child and learning about various issues like the girl child, water, sanitation etc with the aid of quizzes.

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Religion and Respect

Before expressing my personal opinion, I want to share a news item. I don’t know how many national dailies featured this news. But it is this news that inspired me to write this post.

Mon, Sep 8 2008 :- Christian organizations have demanded action against activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal who misbehaved with two nuns at the Durg station on Friday. The two nuns, carrying three babies with them, were on their way to Bhopal on the Chhattisgarh Express when the activists forced them to get off the train at the station. The nuns, of the Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity, were handed over to the railway police when they refused to answer questions on the babies. Later, the nuns told the railway police that they are carrying the babies after taking consent from their parents. The parents were very poor and could not take care of the infants properly, the nuns told the police. The babies were being taken to an ashram for children in Bhopal. Christian organisations have conveyed their dissent to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and have demanded action against the VHP, Bajrang Dal activists.

Please read the more detailed news here. Somehow there is no update available in local newspapers since that day.

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