TIRUPUR: If the well-heeled stash their money in Swiss banks, two elderly siblings in their seventies found favour with rice bags, aluminium box, and their 'surukku pai' to squirrel away their little earnings for around 20 years. However, little did they know that they were reserving the wrong set of notes for their old age and funeral. Three years after demonetisation, the two septuagenarians from Tirupur -- Rangammal and Thangammal -- still have banned notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations with them.
Rangammal (75) and Thangammal (78) -- the residents of Poomalur in Palladam -- who have been through their thick and thin together, were taken aback when they realised that the money they scrimped and saved of the Rs 100 - Rs 150 wage they got by rearing cattle had ceased to be legal tenders.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s beaming face pulled the rug from under the feet of the commoners, Rangammal and Thangammal paid little to no attention to what their children had to say on demonetisation.
When Rangammal’s son Selvaraj told them about the news, they, without batting an eyelid, lied that no money was saved, says Selvaraj when asked about why they were not informed about the note ban.
The families only recently learned that the two had secretly put away around Rs 46,000 (Rangammal has Rs 24,000 and Thangammal around Rs 22,000) for their funeral and grandchildren. Distrustful of their children, these women kept it a secret, fearing that their kids would splurge it on liquor.
According to Selvaraj, these notes came out only recently, when Rangammal had to go to the hospital for treatment. She told her son that she has some money put away for a rainy day concealed under rice bags and other nooks and crannies. Same goes with Thangammal, she pulled out her treasured nest egg, when she had to pay a visit to the doctor for fever and back pain, he added.
"When I told I was short of money for treatment, my mother said she has some savings and when she brought the money, I was shocked to see that there were thousands of rupee but in the banned denomination," Selvaraj rued.
While Rangammal is survived by three sons and four daughters, Thangammal has three sons and three daughters. They had saved money not just for their funeral and medical expenses, but also for their 17 grandchildren.