mid-day editorial: Kindness is the strongest currency

Updated: Nov 14, 2016, 08:10 IST | mid-day correspondent

It was a weary weekend for Mumbaikars who queued up outside ATMs and banks to withdraw cash or exchange their old notes for new

It was a weary weekend for Mumbaikars who queued up outside ATMs and banks to withdraw cash or exchange their old notes for new. The queues snaked around buildings and wound round on pavements and roads. ATMs frequently ran out of notes and closed unexpectedly. In banks, employees were worn thin dealing with people. Outside, of course, tempers were frayed. People braved the heat and dust; they stayed without food and water for a couple of hours for notes.

The frustration and tension was palpable as Mumbaikars gave up the few leisure hours they had in the weekend to stand in bank queues. With no cash in wallets, there was no recreation and the streets were roiled with angry and tired people.

The coming week does not promise much respite either. Banks are closed today, so we might see even longer queues at the ATMs. It is vital that we keep tempers on a tight leash. Squabbling and fighting over currency can turn a volatile situation into a dangerous one.

Cutting queues is absolutely out of the question, as it is like a putting a spark to a powder keg. Indians have for long, lacked the discipline to form queues. Queues are unheard of and it is a free for all contest. The situation we are facing shows no sign of letting up for the next few days, and it needs tremendous discipline and restraint.

Put consideration for others on the top of your list. Try to help the nervous fumbling at ATM machines or with forms instead of shouting at them to hurry up. That kind of spirit must extend outside the lines too. Avoid creating panic on social media. Avoid brawling in shops and eateries, where owners are facing huge problems too.

The tough times will continue — let’s keep patience, consideration and good sense with us in ample measure.

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