TONGUE IN CHEEK
Madhusudhana Rao S
Dear Narendra Modiji
Thank you very much for making Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes worthless. We are very happy because this is the first time after descending to Earth from the Heaven and settling down in a large geographical area called Bharat Varsha thousands of years ago, we are becoming wealthier by the day.
You know the reason, we guess. Two weeks ago, to be precise, on November 8 at 8pm, you shook your country with an announcement that turned the rich and powerful people into paupers. You described the move as a necessary step to weed out black money, end corruption and foreign funding of terrorist operations with counterfeit notes which can also be used to destabilize and sabotage the economy. Indeed, your aims are noble and we, a million strong community of gods, goddesses, some powerful and some others are not so powerful, appreciate your intrepid step.
We are, of course, mute witnesses; watch what’s going on outside our temples. Our statues – standing, sitting, reclining — in poses that are impossible for you, humans, to practice belie the worries and problems we have been facing since you decided to turn a villain of piece on that fateful night.
You may be wondering why we should fret about your wise decision. We will explain. Our devotees throng our abodes in the name of seeking our blessings. But, in fact, in their heart of hearts, they want favours from us. Not one, but many. Their wish-list is endless. First they want children. After children were born, they want high-paying jobs, followed by demands for tall, good-looking, educated, fair-skinned rich girls or vice versa in the case of nubile girls; later they wish for big houses, big cars and so on. Their wishes change according to their standing in society, profession, ambition, etc. Their wishes are also need-based and if, by chance, a wish is fulfilled, they shower us with gifts. If not, they will approach another in our hierarchy. And, in the process, they offer us something in cash or kind.
We don’t know really whether it is ‘bribe’ in your parlance. But we get a lot of cash, gold in the form of jewellery, ornaments, precious stones besides varieties of foods known as prasadams. Devotees know we don’t eat but it’s a sweet symbolic gesture, done out of respect and regard for us. Earlier, the food offered to us was either fruits or traditional, home-made, food with utmost devotion. But now, our devotees have lots of money and they offer us foods from all the corners of the globe. If we had the power of eating whatever was being offered to us in temples and outside, we would have been suffering from all the health problems you people have. However, our latest problem is money. It’s raining.
Since you made 500 and 1000 rupee notes illegal, all those who don’t know what to do with bundles of currency notes stacked under beds, in secret alcoves, bath rooms and attics are dumping them in our temple hundis. Among the rich deities, Lord Balaji in Tirumala is becoming richer by a few crores by the day. Similar is the case with other popular temples in states where money earned through dishonest means is overflowing. Our godly presence anywhere in the country is attracting such unwanted cash from all and sundry. Since we can’t take it anywhere, temple managers deposit the cash and valuables in several banks. In the process, allegations of swindling by the so-called temple trusts are also galore. Since you are determined to clean-sweep ill-gotten wealth, please keep an eye on how our swelling bank deposits are being utilized.
When devotees put their easy-earned money in hundis, they do it with a prayer on their lips. We can hear their murmur: Oh, God! I am giving you whatever I have; Bless me to make more money next year!!
Now, we will leave you to tackle dirty money and those who are protecting it. With all our divine blessings.