I went to see the mother of two of my students, wife of a migrant worker, to see if she needed any advice or help with exchanging her old money. She is illiterate, has no bank account and her husband and eldest son work in Kinnaur at a construction site. I understood the meaning of abject poverty only when I first visited them some 6 months back.
When I asked her if she needed any help with her old notes, she said no, no problem. I am guessing that her money for the month was in 100 rupee notes. Guessing because she looked very clueless about my question and I didn't want to confuse her. I told her to contact me if she needed any help with exchanging money and left it at that. It was obvious to me that she had no idea about demonetisation. Her husband is to return next week with more money.
While at their house, I met their landlord, a man in his sixties. I asked him if his family is okay. He said he faced absolutely no problem because his son works in a local bank. "Ladka bank mein hai to hamay kya problem" were his exact words.
So, two types of people in the village are sailing through the crisis- those with no money and those with close relatives working in banks!!!