Dr Dasmit Singh is the head of the Department of Paediatric Surgery at B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital. He is also a paediatric surgeon at Jehangir and Surya hospitals. His wife, Dr Nupur Singh, is an anaesthetist while son Anhadveer studies in Class XII and daughter Hunar is in Class VII.
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How has the last week been?
It has been a good lesson in learning how to save! Seriously, we had to be stingy. Luckily, I had loose cash in my wallet and that was used for petrol. The main problem was the lack of Rs 100 notes. My son has to travel from Wanowrie to his college at Kothrud and then later to attend his classes. We gave him a couple of Rs 100 notes and most of the time, he took a bus to return home as autorickshaws were really unaffordable, with nobody accepting Rs 500!
How much cash were you able to deposit and withdraw?
I was able to deposit almost Rs one lakh in cash. Fortunately, I had to wait for half-an-hour at the most in two separate queues, one to deposit and the other to withdraw. The limit was Rs 4,000, and I could withdraw that amount. However the bank staff at HDFC was cooperative and the transactions were pretty smooth.
How much time did you spend standing in lines?
At least half-an-hour. But I tried not to overspend and managed with whatever I had at home and the money I had withdrawn. I tried standing in line at the ATMs but frankly gave up pretty soon because of the long queues. The next time, I found that most ATMs were shut.
What were the difficulties you faced?
We have a credit account with the local grocer and hence supplies such as bread, sugar and eggs were taken care of. My wife ordered vegetables and fruits online. However, there were no social outings and we decided not to eat out that week or order food. The other issue was the Rs 2,000 notes. There were not many takers initially and where can you really spend the money just to get change? It was only after a few days that I could get Rs 100 notes, which I got at the hospital.
How much did you spend in the last week?
Less than Rs 4,000.
How much do you normally spend in a week?
The amount varies but approximately Rs 8,000-10,000.
Do you support the demonetisation move?
Yes I do. Apart from the fact that it helped our children understand the value of money and learn how to live with lesser means, the move hopefully will weed out black money. However, the entire exercise could have been organised in a better way so that a person could have withdrawn enough money to last at least a month. Also, the cash replacement process at ATMs should have been faster.
Are you prepared for next week?
I hope so. Since the limit for withdrawal has been raised, I withdrew Rs 24,000 from the bank. While the credit amount has been building up with our local grocer, I hope we can meet those expense first and then save for traveling costs, especially for tuition classes. As of now, I think we can make it through the entire week.
(As told to Anuradha Mascarenhas)