Tie rakhi to dollar

Economists and policy advisors to the Indian government must be burning the midnight oil, racking their brains on how to stem the rupee’s free fall.  Those below the poverty line are perhaps tearing their hair trying to balance their daily budgets with the declining rupee value.  The aspiring middle class is presumably restless, unable to finalise their foreign travel plans until such time the rupee appreciates. Members of the billionaire club must be agonising over their diminishing net worth.

While the floundering rupee may spell doom and gloom for many, there are some who are rejoicing. The Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) who should be aptly called ‘Now Rejoicing Indians’ are literally laughing all the way to the bank each time the rupee hits a new low.  Especially fortunate in this scenario are the Indians working in the Persian Gulf where most currencies are pegged to the dollar.

Banks in some of the gulf countries are bending over backwards to entice NRIs with loans at low interest rates and many are biting the bait.  Who can resist the huge gains from currency conversion arising from rupee remittances to India? Make hay while the sun shines, seems to be the mantra for some. Borrow or beg and remit as much as you can during this once-in-a-blue moon occurrence is the rationale of others.

The weak rupee has not only been hitting headlines in newspapers and television channels but is the topic of conversation nearly every day and almost everywhere – in taxis, buses, offices, social gatherings, elevators and even rest rooms. Not surprisingly, the sinking rupee is also the butt of jokes and witticisms that have appreciated faster especially on social media. Indeed, the Indian currency has become a metaphor for anything that is going down. Last week a friend’s post on Facebook said the rupee can now be used as a verb. To illustrate his point, he gave an example: “I tripped and rupeed down the hill.”

Another wondered which would sprint to the 100-mark first: the rupee, onion or petrol? Talking of hitting a century, the same person posted that the only time the currency goes up these days is when the rupee coin is flipped during a cricket toss. 

There were amusing posts on Twitter as well. While one said the dollar is on an escalator and the rupee is on a ventilator, another quipped that Disneyland is introducing a new ride called the 'Indian Rupee', in which you free fall from a great height in a matter of a few seconds.

Recently on Raksha Bandhan day, someone noted the only way to save the rupee is to have it tie a ‘rakhi’ to the dollar and say, meri raksha karna  (please protect me). Brownie points should go to a post in Hindi which asked what should be the surname of the Indian Rupee? The answer was Girpade (fallen). Finally, this simple one summed it all up matter-of-factly: Mr Rupee, what do you have to say about all these jokes being made about you?  Said Mr Rupee: “I don’t appreciate!”

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