prpri Midnight knock of Demonetisation Midnight knock of Demonetisation

CA Avinash Rajopadhye

It was just a week after the announcement of “Notebandi” [ it’s aftershocks still  lingering in Indian Economy] I met Herambha Shastri . All of us may have good, bad or worst experience of Notebandi depending upon your stock of 500 and 1000 notes [out of 86% of total volume in the economy] on or after  the fateful night  12.00 am of 8th November 2016. Remember how this Notebandi was hailed, death nail to black money in the economy, masterstroke, most deterrent measure to curb black money in the economy, nightmare for black money holder etc.etc.. Let us not go into the nitty gritty  of Notebandi . What Herambha told me is more important.

Herambha Shastri a practicing  chartered accountant one of the partners in nation building who is not having roaring practice but certainly honest to the core. Herambha Shastri had something to tell you what had happened. On that fateful  night  Herambha and his wife were busy in searching 500 and 1000 notes . As if they themselves  were conducting search and seizure action in the home . Old bags, suitcases  cupboards, boxes kept on loft and elsewhere  were opened and reopened  to search banned notes. Schoolgoing Pinky in the 5th standard  and Pappu in 7th standard  the  siblings of Herabha were also helping their parents.  Some notes found in envelops given on birthdays of Pappu and Pinky with choicest blessings written on them. But this discovery led to spat between Pappu and Pinky over the ownership of banned notes. Somehow dispute was resolved  by Herambha that  respective  cash gifts in banned notes would be deposited into respective PPF account obviously after conversion. And Pinky’s contribution would be claimed by Herambha’s wife in her return of income obviously Pappu’s contribution would go to Herambha.  After all Herambha is a Chartered Accountant.He did instant “tax planning”.  But children were bit hesitant to this tax planning. They were nervous. As they wanted to fulfill their long pending demands like “Notebook”, Multigeared Cycle etc.etc. .Herambha tried to convince them how this amount deposited into PPF account grows like money grows on tree, how much interest you get, how that money would be used for their education abroad etc.etc. . At the end he promised  “Pizza” next day and both instantly agreed. Then again the whole family engrossed in searching 500 and 1000 notes. This exercise continued till 12 am. .

There was gentle  knock on the door intermittently . Herambha, his wife and children looked at each other. There was pin drop silence . Only one question on the face of all who would be there outside ?. Was he/she relative ? was he/she friend ?, was he neighbor asking for some medicine ?,was he an unwanted guest ? all these questions may have flashed through their minds .  Who would be there outside billion dollar question . They waited for a while . Herambha waved his hand to keep quite. He got up and started towards door. First he took a glimpse of the person outside through the eyehole . A person had covered his face, wearing goggle[ at night ?] holding two brief cases in his hands. As soon as Herambha finished his inspection . The person pressed the doorbell for long time. Wow Herambha realized that he would not be thief or unknown person. He must be known person. Otherwise why he should he press the bell in the first place ? . Herambha gathered courage and asked

“Can you identify yourself Gentleman ?”

“ Don’t worry I am your friend” responded the Gentleman outside .

“ I can’t make out who are you kindly uncover your face ” requested Herambha

Herambha  heard  sound of keeping  down the briefcases on the floor outside . Herambha was watching all his activities from the eyehole. The person outside uncovered  his face . Goose bumps broke on the body of Herambha. Hermabha instantly recognized. He was the same ITO knocking at “Midnight” from whom  Herambha got fired as he entered his cabin without “knocking” the door in the past.

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August 2021