Memoirs of an erstwhile Royal

Sometimes I would find myself in a handsome wallet, sometimes in an elegant ladies’ bag; I even nestled cosily in the bosoms of a few corpulent women.
Memoirs of an erstwhile Royal

I was born into royalty all fresh and crispy, in the currency printing press. Along with my other royal siblings I was transported in regal glory (with an armed escort of course!) to the treasury and then to various banks and everywhere we were treated in a manner befitting our status. We did see lower denomination currency notes in the banks but of course we pretended not to notice them. The look of envy and admiration on their faces made me swell with joy. Of course I saw that lowly species, the coins, too. So disgustingly cheap and clinking noisily all the time! 

After staying at various highly secure posh addresses I finally found myself in an ATM along with many of my siblings. We were all aflutter with excitement at the prospect of going out in the world. The excitement increased every time somebody used the ATM and the whirring of the notes as they were counted and sent out by the machine sent shivers up my spine. Then before I could understand what was happening I too was caught up in the whirring and after a dizzying moment found myself transported out of the machine! A hand reached to remove us from the machine and without bothering to count us the man tucked us gently inside a small handbag. As he reached home I could hear the excited voice of a little girl as she hugged him, her father as it turned out to be. Later in the day I exchanged hands in a swanky shoe shop. A pair of beautiful sandals was bought for the girl in exchange for me. I was as excited as the little girl who was squealing with joy. I had been in my first ever transaction and I felt on top of the world. 

The next day I was counted out and placed in the hands of another man. I had a lot of adventures over the months I remained in active circulation. Sometimes I would find myself in a handsome wallet, sometimes in an elegant ladies' bag. I even nestled cosily in the bosoms of a few corpulent women. Everywhere I went I was treated with respect and I participated in many an expensive purchase. A new dimension was added to my adventurous life when one day I found myself in the hands of this man who went straight to a government office from the bank. He sat for a long time in the office of a senior government functionary and at last when nobody was there he deposited me along with my companions in the pocket of the government functionary. My heart missed a beat and I blushed…well almost because you see I was supposed to have turned 'black' rather than pink. I wondered whether the guy featured on me was now wearing a black patch over one of his eyes but of course I had no way of knowing. 

I was to exchange hands many times before I again landed in the bank. Sometimes I was 'black' and sometimes 'white' but at all times I was a Royal! One day the teller at the bank took me out along with my companions and as we watched excitedly we were exchanged against US dollar bills. Gradually all my companions left the wallet billfold of this gentleman who was an NRI visiting his family and I was the only one left. I continued alone for a few days and began to imagine that I was destined for a trip to the US of A. But then  just before leaving for USA the NRI guy had an emotional parting with his old mother and dipping into his wallet he took me out and handed me to over to the old lady. The old lady took me in her soft hands and touched me to her moist eyes. Later she put me in an Almirah along with other 500 and 1000 rupee notes which her NRI son had given her in the past. Every day she would touch us with an almost religious reverence and mutter blessings for her son. She always muttered; I never heard her speak probably because there was no one to listen to her. Not that she lived alone. From the voices that would filter to the Almirah which had become my abode I could sense that other people too lived in the house but the old lady, deaf and half-blind and largely ignored by her family, had a lonely existence. "I am no pauper. They will know my worth when I die. I will leave instructions to feed a thousand guests on my funeral. Let it be a grand one!" I would hear her mutter sometimes as she touched us. I resigned myself to a life of blissful retirement.

The old lady would keep some coins in the Almirah which she would usually give to beggars. One day this cheeky five rupee coin landed on me. I wrinkled my nose in distaste at the contact. The five rupee coin smirked, "Hello Hoighty Toighty! You think you are too good for the likes of me? Well you are mistaken. Very soon you will only be fit for wiping the you-know-what!" I did not believe the crude upstart but then later a hundred rupee note who had recently come in from circulation confirmed this devastating news. It seems that some wise guy had decided that 1000 and 500 rupee notes would no longer be valid. We were doomed! I awaited my turn to be booted out of the Almirah but that never happened. Probably nobody thought of informing the old lady who lives a forsaken life in the twilight zone between Here and Hereafter. So there she is still treating us like royalty, touching us with the same reverence and muttering blessings and her fantasies of a grand funeral. Alas! Little does she know that she is but a pauper now and that I am no prince either…not any longer!

(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at snp_ajazbaba@yahoo.com)

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