‘Blue’tiful banknotes

‘Blue’tiful banknotes

There is something about the new 50-rupee banknote that stops me from spending it. Ever since its relatively recent release, I have been preserving those of its kind that come my way. Despite 50s being a regular requirement, I refuse to barter my ‘blues’ and only relinquish their older, violet counterparts. The first 50 that I acquired (a few months after its birth, last year) sits securely in my cupboard, along with its legitimate lookalikes.

My fondness for the 50 has much to do with the iconic image it bears. My husband and I had made a trip to Hampi shortly before the notes depicting its most symbolic structure were issued. Exploring that magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site, we were fascinated by the artistic and architectural marvels housed at the Vitthala temple complex. They include the 16th-century Garuda shrine, which was built by King Krishnadevaraya in the form of a stately carriage. Not long after our visit, that splendid sculpture was commemorated in our currency. Now, more than ever before, the Stone Chariot is ‘note’worthy!

The colour of the 50-rupee note is an added attraction, as that shade of blue is my favourite. I am also drawn to the 2000s, but there is no question of hoarding those purplish-pink pieces of paper. Not being a paragon of pecuniary prudence, I cannot even hold on to the bright 200s, let alone the sombre-hued 500s. In fact, notes of all denominations flit through my fingers with alarming alacrity.

Recalling my childhood, I find it hard to believe that substantial amounts seem so inadequate today. Five rupees was such a sizeable sum in the 1960s that an occasion when I received it unexpectedly stands out in my memory. After a piano exam, my parents and I called on my music teacher for the results. An affluent uncle of mine, who happened to be staying with us, was pleased that I had done reasonably well and generously announced a reward. Overruling adult objections, he handed me a crisp green note. At that magical moment, I knew how Midas must have felt when he was granted the gift of the golden touch!

‘Put it away for a rainy day,’ advised my father. He and my mother had a stockpile of sayings on saving, which failed to impress my brother and me. ‘Money does not grow on trees,’ they frequently declared. Of course, it didn’t! We knew that it emerged from the pockets of rich relations. ‘Money can’t buy happiness,’ they would state solemnly. It certainly could! Money made possible the delightful toys and treats that gladdened our hearts.

Over five decades later, I have finally realised that a fool and her money are soon parted. Therefore, committed to cash conservation, I shall continue to collect my blue and beautiful banknotes!