About Dr. Amrita Basu

Amrita Basu is a doctor, teacher in a medical college, mom to a 4 year old and a blogger. She writes about health - wellness, financial freedom, and her journey as a mompreneur. She loves reading, travelling and is an enthusiastic balcony gardener. Amrita loves biophilic designs and products. You can read her blogs at http://

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8th November 2016.

The Tuesday it happened I was on emergency duty. I got to know about it through a twitter DM.

Otherwise I had no clue about what was happening .

Living in a small town in West Bengal, the news got me in total panic.

How the hell would I pay the neighbourhood vegetable-seller? The fish-seller? The grocery-man, Partha da? I had to compulsorily keep some cash for daily needs, most of which were declared useless.

There are no Ola or similar services here. What works as transport in the town are cycle rickshaws. Those which are running from prehistoric times, inhumanly pulled by hands. They are but a source of income for the poverty stricken, illiterate, unskilled millions in the suburbs. How was I supposed to pay these people with a debit card?

In the suburbs there are few ATMs and no apps for transportation, food or grocery.

I wondered whether our honourable Prime Minister remembered this about his grassroots! India’s grassroots.

Next day, both I and my hubby had our duty at the hospital. After all, it was the middle of the week.

When would we go to the bank and get some extra cash? When would we change the few banned notes? These thoughts worried me with each passing moment.
By the evening I was making frantic phone calls to my husband, who was still at the hospital for his rounds.

As usual he refused to panic. But I was on no mood to calm down. However, the explanation he offered for all the possible reasons behind this sounded very real.

We decided to visit the bank a few days later. Till then no shopping for fresh food.

Rice and pulses had to be the staple.

Or you enter the buying on credit trap.

That’s something I hate. My father had a family-destroying, losing-the-roof-over-your-head kind of debt. And so I hate credit cards. Using debit cards feel much safer.

But then, what about the debit card fiasco that had struck the banks only few days before? How come everyone is being asked to use the very services which were shockingly compromised?

Well, do we have any option other than to wait and watch?

Big changes are always difficult. Birthing pains are also painful. So birth of a new idea and way of functioning will perhaps have its share of troubles. I am willing to have rice and pulses till the cash flow normalises. That’s the least I can do.

But then, did anyone ever try to buy stuff with plastic money in a village or small town India? What was the experience? Is that a feasible option? Does that at all happen? What’s the alternative there? Wish I could know. Maybe someone would tell me after reading my story!


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10 Response Comments

  • Deepa26/11/2016 at 11:27 AM

    Yes..Though its been done for a good reason by out PM…Its not easy at all..atleast for now. Especially for people in small cities where they use only cash to fulfil their basic needs and have no idea about credit cards or debit cards. People are struggling to get some cash by standing in long lines all day long. So, I am sure your story resonates with many others in our country.

    • Amrita08/01/2017 at 6:18 PM

      Thanks Deepa

  • Manisha26/11/2016 at 12:03 PM

    I understand your dilemma. Incase you have doubts abt credit card, debit card is a good option.
    To answer your question about alternatives to plastic money, I know not a great one but in small towns shopkeepers know you. Instead of paying on a daily basis you can opt for monthly payments considering bigger denominations of currency at the beginning of month or end.
    I know plastic money and banking as a concept may or may not be easy for others. I guess we could spread awareness and make payments on a monthly basis through NEFT or cheques. This is not plastic money. One time effort of creating different names. You would be quite sorted from next month. Plus payment through IMPS mode goes immediately so no tension for the shopkeepers.
    Change is essential yet tough. Its the time to help each other and sail through it. We are in it together. When pain is same understanding improves.

    • Amrita Basu08/01/2017 at 6:19 PM

      True Manisha .Giving monthly payment is a good idea.It’s just that I dislike buying in credit.Trying to work something out

  • Tina Basu26/11/2016 at 1:07 PM

    I have been surviving with plastic money ever since the ban on the currency notes and managing that well, but i never gave a thought about the people who don’t have access to a credit card or app based purchase system – be it for transportation, or groceries or other important staples in life! May be wait for a few more days so that it normalizes. Withdraw money from the bank with a cheque instead of ATM. Yes the route is longer and tedious.

    • Amrita Basu08/01/2017 at 6:20 PM

      Yes we all pray for that. Thanks Tina

  • Richa26/11/2016 at 3:06 PM

    Well!! This seems to be the actual place where people face the problems otherwise in metro you can paytm, plastic money and hoards of atms or banks. But let’s see what this initiatives takes us to.

    • Amrita08/01/2017 at 6:21 PM

      We all have to try.

  • Mayuri Nidigallu26/11/2016 at 5:11 PM

    Everyone was affected by Demonetization, in one way or the other, all thanks to the short notice.
    The panic you felt has come through perfectly in this well written post. We went through the same thing here, in Bangalore, as well. Luckily, I had purchased fresh vegetables a day earlier so I was ok for the next few days.

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