To be honest with you all, I am not a materialistic person. Having said that, I have certain gifts, handwritten letters and memento’s which are dear to me. The top two things I really love out of those are: a letter written by my Mom when I was studying in a hostel, the second one is a mechanical keyboard I received. Apart from these, there is something else that is really close to me.
A few years ago, I topped the public examinations. Though I stood first in our school district, it secured me a rank in the top ten in our state. Every year my parent’s organization had sports events and during the award ceremony they also give away academic excellence awards. Our family was traveling out of town during the event, so, I could not attend the award ceremony. After we came back from our trip, my father returned from the office with an envelope.
“Aastha, come here. Here is what they had to give you on the ceremony day. Take it.”. It was a white coloured envelope just like the ones we have at offices and banks. I was expecting a memento or a certificate of excellence. I eagerly opened the envelope to find a 500 Rupee note. 500 Rupee note was newly introduced then, and I was happy to have one with me. I kept the envelope in the drawer chest of my reading table. Often, I used to take out the note and keep staring at it.
It was not my first salary. It was not a gift or pocket money I received. It was a recognition of my academic knowledge and that mattered to me. A few months later, my father asked me if I would want the money to be deposited in the bank. I did not agree to that. Whenever I used to feel sad, disturbed or hurt, the only thing I do is to stare at that note. It served as an inspiration for me for many years. It was along with me when I left home for hostel, after that when I relocated to Hyderabad for my job. I was staying as a paying guest back then and usually, they aren’t secure places, so, I may lose it. I brought it back home when I came for holidays. My father noticed the note in the envelope I was holding in my hand… “You have your own salary account now, maybe it’s time to deposit it“. said he..
It was never money for me. Of course, 500 rupees for a 12-year-old matters. It can buy lot of chocolates, books, oil-painting kit, a dress or shoes of my liking. I never chose to spend that money. The respect I have for that 500 rupee note never changed even after I started earning thousands of rupees. I have seen and had many 500 rupee notes, but none gave me the same kick as that note. In the year of 2016 Indian government has banned all higher denomination notes. I have none to deposit back, but my dad being my dad had to ask me if I have notes to deposit. I replied to him that I don’t have any… He then reminded me of that 500 rupee note in the envelope. We had a good laugh. I totally forgot about that note, though several thoughts were rolling over my mind, I requested him not to deposit that note.
If I would have deposited that note, it would have had a value of 500, but I didn’t. Some times I wonder if that was turned into money, would it have helped someone. I don’t know, I don’t know for sure. I could not let go off that note. Even today, when I hold that note in my hand, the feeling is exactly same. It’s much more than nostalgia.