Shut the Hell Up, Demonetisation Haters

Hundreds of news reports, thousands of tweets, millions of people, and even the Reserve Bank of India gave its verdict on demonetisation. The RBI declared that 99.3 per cent of demonetised notes came back to the banks. Everyone still goes on and on about how demonetisation was a massive failure that hurt the economy. Poor Arun Jaitley had to defend demonetisation more than Rahul Dravid had to defend himself in the Rawalpindi Test Match in 2004. This negativity is so polluting that even the smog in Delhi looks at it and develops a complex.
I’m sick and tired of this nonsense peddled by the liberal media. Can we just ignore statistics and facts that reflect reality, and look at the good things demonetisation gave us?
Demonetisation had people of all castes, religions, economic, and ethnic backgrounds coming together for one grand cause – to coax hundred bucks out of the ATM machine. It united us a country, in a way that even the movie Border or India-Pakistan games haven’t been able to.
Demonetisation had young people heading to banks and finding out what the different counters are all about. Banks became the new hangout for millennials who once only queued up outside Starbucks and Apple stores. People who only knew terms like NSFW, BDSM, and MILF were now throwing shade with heavy acronyms like GDP, GST, and RBI. The economic literacy in the country shot up faster than Delhi’s air quality index. Everybody was an economist, and you didn’t need a degree for it.
People said that the timing was bad, I say, it was better than the timing on Virat Kohli’s cover drive. Demonetisation happened during the wedding season and suddenly no longer could people stuff ₹501 in an envelope and enjoy a thali worth ₹1500.  They had to buy real gifts. Everyone talks about lost jobs and slow industrial growth but who will mention the exponential increase in the sale of glass cutlery and Jaipan non-stick pans?
Parents and older folks, who couldn’t get a hang of smartphones and technology now know how to Paytm, download MMS clips, and forward sexist jokes on Whatsapp. Paytm became so big that it has changed from a noun to a verb. And still people have the audacity to say that this is not a success indicator for Digital India? And what about all the jobs that were created in IT cells by the government? Where people constantly kept on defending demonetisation through hashtags and Photoshopped images?
Demonetisation gave bank employees and managers an inflated sense of self-importance, it made the ATM guard a soldier. CAs who were laughed at all their lives by their woke friends now had the last laugh. People who had spent their time and energy on printing fake ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes now made even more money by printing fake ₹2,000 notes. What about these people? Do they not count?
Some people say demonetisation didn’t stop terrorism and cross-border violations. To those people, I present classic whataboutery and deflection: Did Europe have demonetisation? No. But terror attacks keep on happening there, right? Duh! It has nothing to do with money.
Just because 99.3 per cent notes came back to the system, some people declared that demonetisation failed. Does nobody count the money that was hurriedly sent out of the country? That money never came back. What came back were only some Panama Papers and Paradise Papers. We have always attacked the black market, whether it is black money, black people, or BlackBerry phones.
I rest my case, mitron. No matter how much we try, people will keep coming back to respond to your emotional arguments with facts, statistics, and graphs. Ignore them. As the classic phrase goes, “Haters gonna hate.”

Are Swimming Coaches the Real Water Monsters?

Can you truly call yourself a ’90s kid if your folks didn’t bundle you off for cycling, karate, or swimming every summer? Indian parents did not want their kids wasting time watching Cartoon Network all day, so they came up with a checklist to create a master race, and the way to do that was to teach the subjects a new skill during every vacation.
First, I started with cycling, because I live in a Gujarati family and it was the cheapest investment. The next year, The Karate Kid was a huge hit, and I was screaming, “Hu! Ha!” every morning in a white robe with the confidence of Bruce Lee and the ability of a ’90s-era Adnan Sami. Once land was conquered, it was time to venture into Poseidon’s realm, and master the art of swimming.
My father believed in the old-school instruction method of throwing me into a slow-moving river and hoping for the best. After definitely swallowing a few litres of dirty water and probably a few small fish, he gave up the DIY tutorial. It was time to approach the experts, and I was enrolled in a 21-day swimming camp close to our house.
The excitement of buying a colourful swimsuit and fancy goggles immediately disappears when you’re first faced with the tang of chlorine and the scary depths of the adults’ pool. Your nerves are then calmed with the sight of floats around, and the swimming teacher and lifeguards all seem like nice and helpful people.
But then, even a totalitarian state once burst with hope and positivity in the air when it all began, which is the same feeling you get during the first few days of swimming lessons. Your float is reassuringly tied to your back, you’re happily splashing water on your new friends, and the only exercises are leg movements in the baby pool. About a week later, things start to escalate. The swimming coach becomes more dangerous in the water than a coked-up crocodile. Scared toddlers are thrown from the diving board and horrified kids are set adrift without floats, struggling for their lives and gulping down weird-tasting water. After swimming class, I always hoped the strange taste was from the chlorine, and not from someone emptying their bladders into the pool in fear.
A prerequisite for being a swimming coach is that you must be a strict asshole with no empathy or humanity left in you. Everyone should be terrified of you all the time. I secretly believe all the glowering, fierce extras playing soldiers in Border were swimming coaches on their winter break. If you could make up the perfect swimming teacher, you’d use Amitabh Bachchan’s authoritarian baritone, Rajnikanth’s bristling mooch, and Hulk Hogan’s bright, technicolour chaddis. I was so terrified of my coach that whenever I saw him outside the pool, in the market or at a fair, I’d pretend not to have noticed him.
I suppose their despotism has some roots. When you are trying to bully a skill into children, there is no place for sympathy, or human rights. How do you think the Chinese ended up with 100 medals at the Beijing Olympics? Dictatorships only work when people subscribe to a method or system, and it’s no different for water dictatorships.
When the 21 days of hell were over, parents were invited to the mujra to watch their kids glide across water like mermaids. It was a simple exam – you had to jump from the diving board, swim the length of the pool, and voila! You’ve cleared your test. It sounded simple enough, but when the time came to jump, I was too scared and held on tightly to my mom’s chunni. I even turned on the waterworks, hoping my tears would save the day with all the adults around. But dictators don’t get to the top by being soft or showing mercy.
The cold-blooded dictator sent one of his executioners, also known as lifeguards, to forcibly drag me away from my mom and carry me to the diving board. Like an animal being sacrificed on Eid, he handed me over to the dictator, who gently held me by the neck, and then threw a helpless seven-year-old into a 13-foot-deep pool from a height of 25 feet, in front of an entire audience of adults who all stood and watched in silence.
This is not a story of redemption with a background score by Hans Zimmer, where the swimming teacher’s tough love finally paid off, and I discovered I could swim like Kandivali’s Michael Phelps once I hit the water. Instead, I struggled and feverishly flapped my hands for about a minute before drowning and eventually being rescued. The teacher’s disappointed look made me feel like I just missed the DU cut-off by three marks. But for me, it was a bit like watching Bodyguard, I was just glad it was over. Thanks to my coach, I was scared of going near a pool for years. I would look at water the same way Jaadu from Koi Mil Gaya looked at darkness.
Screw Gabbar Singh. Maybe the punchline to our childhood horror stories should be, “So jao, varna swimming coach aa jaayega…”