Ten Rupees go the way of the Dodo


I just got my hands on one of those fresh new 20 rupee bank notes. This will be the lowest denominated bank note in Sri Lanka, since the 10 rupee note hasn’t got a revival with this batch of notes. This got me thinking about the legacy of the 10 rupee note. About thirty years ago, 10 rupees would buy enough biriyani for a large crowd at the ever famous Pilawoos Hotel. Nowadays 10 rupees would only buy you a minute serving of biriyani from whichever of Pilawoos you go to (there are so many). But the 10 rupee note reminds us me of an era in which I lived my childhood. It was an era which was ravaged by war. Towards the end of this period, the war finally came to a close and there was hope once again. Towards the end of this era, the value of 10 rupees had fallen to rock bottom. My parents had to spend most of their life in this era. I believe I am fortunate to be born sometime towards the end of this era; I am only 17 years old and I will hopefully live the next 17 years without having to think about a war back home. But in my next 17 years, the 10 rupee note will disappear from circulation, and there will be little need for so little money anyway.

Each time I go to buy a Milo or a milkshake from my school canteen, I receive change in the form of a 10 rupee note and a 5 rupee coin. Once the small, green and often badly damaged note goes out of circulation, I will have to suffer with a 10 rupee coin instead. I don’t like coins. I hate it when they jingle in my pocket. Often I resort to putting one coin into each of my four pockets. This means that every time I bend down, at least one coin ends up on the ground. This annoys me to no end, and sometimes I contemplate throwing the coins into the nearest trash ban. Unfortunately my school hasn’t allocated any bins for metal waste.

Joking aside, the non-renewal of a 10 rupee note means that the Central Bank (or the President) believes that 10 rupees aren’t integral to the working of our country. Of course the 10 rupee coin will still be around, but most coins find little use in the modern, inflated economy. How long will it be before the 20 rupee note is phased out as well. What about 50 rupees? Actually, what is the purpose of worrying about this?

Another notable exclusion from the new batch of notes is the 2000 rupee note. Rather, there is a new 5000 rupee note. The actual purpose of this note is unknown, but I guess it will be useful for large transactions. There must be a lot of very large transactions going on, because evidently the Central Bank (or President, once again) found that 2000 rupee notes weren’t very useful. Of course we don’t know yet whether this note will disappear from circulation soon. But the chances are that people would still use two 1000 rupee notes anyway.

Now please excuse me as my thoughts turn away from money. India has just won a warm-up cricket match against the Aussies, which seemed quite improbable an hour ago. Let me go investigate how that happened.

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