RIP ₹2000 Note, the Govinda of Currencies


RIP ₹2000 Note, the Govinda of Currencies

Illustration: Juergen D'souza/Arré

This is an ode to the ₹2000 note, which will soon turn into a museum exhibit, since the government has stopped printing it.

The note was launched with much hype two years ago and the nation had great expectations from it. The ₹2000 note was brought in to end the black-money racket and help India become more proficient in the “two-ones-are-two” tables. So without wasting much time, let’s get straight to business.

The note is 66 mm x 166 mm in size and is crafted out of one of Govinda’s magenta waistcoats from the early ’90s. The front of the note has Gandhi’s picture on it. This comes as a bit of a surprise because the test prints that were leaked to the media had a selfie of Modiji. Rumours had also been doing the rounds that Sharad Pawar’s picture was in the running, for his general affinity toward hard cash. But he didn’t make it to the final design because his face on the note created an illusion that the note was crumpled, even when it wasn’t. The note has a signature from the RBI governor that reads, “Not Raghuram Rajan.”

On the back of the note you have a picture of Mangalyaan. This is a peculiar choice by the designers as it is inauspicious, at times even anti-national, to have a picture of the Indian Mars orbiter associated with sentences like, “Damn, I just blew up 2000” or “Sheesh, my 2000 bucks went up in smoke”.

Also on the back, you will find the Swachh Bharat logo and the tagline: “One step toward cleanliness.” It is a well thought out feature by the developers, because every time you use this note, you will be cleaning up your wallet. For the first few weeks, the RBI had even provided a “Share on Facebook” option where the user could automatically upload a picture of the note to get a few likes.

It is important to note that the safety features for merchants on the ₹2000 note are as good (and the same) as the ₹1000 note

The number 2000 on the note is also written in devanagari. It is evident that this is done to satisfy the Southern markets, as two in devanagari looks exactly like three in Kannada. Thus, everyone in Bangalore will automatically be richer by 1000 rupees. Industry sources told us that for the next series of notes, Narendra Modi has briefed his top aides to find a language wherein the number 2 would look exactly like 16 lakh to keep up his electoral promise of making all of us richer by ₹16 lakh.

Contrary to initial reports, the note didn’t have a chip, memory card or GPS system. But this is India — if you have the note, you could get a chip, memory card, GPS system, or a licence without even knowing how to drive. It is important to note that the safety features for merchants on the Rs 2000 note are as good (and the same) as the Rs 1000 note. Merchants are required to first racially profile the payee and then to hold up the note against the sky to look for a sign that reads, “This note is fake and you are getting conned maxxx.”

These notes are manufactured in Mysore, Karnataka. Much like the protests that rocked the Tata Nano manufacturing plant in Singur by Trinamool Congress workers, the unit manufacturing the note faced massive protests from the Aam Aadmi Party. It was led by Arvind Kejriwal, who openly claimed outside the factory, “Andar sab paisa bana rahe hain.”

On the performance front, the ₹2000 note is fantastic. You can feel the speed go up almost twofold in government offices and police stations. This note is also great news for all Black Money holders. The Black Money feature on it has been given a much needed upgrade. You can now store twice the amount of black money per note than the 1000 rupee note.

Packed with great features and being the only one in its price point, certainly gives the ₹2000 note an edge. But I suppose this product couldn’t hold its own when Pakistan and China started producing the cheaper ₹2000 near the border areas. All in all, this note was a great package: It is sheer value for money and will ensure you get maximum bang for the buck, especially if you enrage someone by not paying them the 2000 bucks you owe.