Saturday, July 21, 2012

In Search of Rupee in Bhutan

BOB token
I think many will agree without a second thought, that going to bank is the most distasteful and often unsuccessful errand. Long queue with grumbling people, restlessly gazing at the token board are the first images that comes to our fore in any of the banks (in Bhutan.)

In my recent past, I had experienced one such moment in Bank of Bhutan. I was out in the bank looking for few thousand rupees. 

As I entered the bank, I was given token No. 32. And in the queue, I was closely observing the time taken to clear one person by the teller guy. I found out that it was dead slow. -Slower than the one I observed in Hospital. The reasons were very obvious. A teller guy had to verify tons of documents before a bundle of those elusive notes were finally disbursed.

Few hours into waiting and I came to realize that rupee has become elusive and scarce. Few more hours and I got a rough idea as to how rupee has gone extinct in Bhutanese market! But in the words of our Government, we are not in crises yet! 

When the token number 14 reached for final clearance, I asked the security guy at the counter. I asked him whether my turn would really come that day. He giggled and said, 'sure but not too soon!' 

In my mind, I could feel many things rushing. I had this urge to tell him that 'I am your customer, -your king- and you cannot keep your king waiting like a dog. and you see, I have come to my own bank' (as per their catch phrase that read, "Bank of Bhutan, Your own bank" )

More than half a day wait in the bank was awful and boring. I even felt bit sleepy. 

Bored and exhausted, I gave a call to my friend. Calling up my friends when bored is something that I do most of the time. That time I called up my friend who is a Member of Parliament. I called him not to express my grievance or vent out my frustrations! I also did not call him for any favors. He showed up in a wink of few minutes and I was pleased to see him beyond description. Not many thing have changed in him. Even at the height of being my MP, I sensed little difference between us. 

That day, we discussed every thing between the earth and the sky except politics. That is because I am civil servant and I have a mandate to uphold my apolitical status even with my closest MP friend. As we lunched together, we talked about our family, friends and most importantly about our past mischief in Ura. 

By the time we were done with our talking, the bank was closed for any further transaction. But one thing was painful and ironical. I went home knowing how difficult it was getting rupee and how confusing our PM's report was on economic front. I can't say about rest, but on rupee report, I am  still not convinced.

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