By Kahini Iyer Jul. 20, 2018
Could our frightening new fluorescent notes be a clever new strategy to push the country toward digital currency? From the blue 50, to the recently announced violet 100-rupee note, we’ve ranked them from worst to not-so-bad.
8/11. That’s the date demonetisation came into our lives and crushed many a dream. Two years on, India may still be divided over the PM’s surgical strike on black money but even those who wear floaters with socks agree that what followed was a fashion faux pas. Of course, we’re referring to the eyesore that is our fresh, fluorescent currency notes.
With its usual penchant for misplaced enthusiasm, the Reserve Bank of India has decided that the purpose of the new notes is simple: we should show off our national commitment to science by ensuring that none of the rainbow colours feel left out. (Supreme Court, please take note.) We’ve got the blue (50), the orange (200), and now, the recently announced violet 100-rupee note.
Here, our crack team of fashion bloggers have carefully examined and ranked each note from worst to not-so-bad.
Rani Ki Not-So-Vav
The newest addition to the rainbow of notes is definitely the worst of the lot. According to the RBI, our current 100, with its sober, soothing shades of pale blue, green, and beige, is just not bold enough. It needs some pizzazz, and naturally, that comes in the form of a violent lavender that makes poor Mahatma Gandhi look less like our benevolent Bapu and more like an uncle in a sketchily lit disco.
To add to this garish imagery, the scenic mountains of the original note have been replaced with an alarming view of Gujarat heritage site, Rani Ki Vav. The beautiful stepwell has somehow become a cruel vortex, ready to suck you into a different, more horrible world.
Feeling 50 Shades of Blue
Next up in our carnival of currency horrors is the new 50-rupee note. The 50 is the humble everyday hero, the monetary equivalent of egg fried rice at a Chinese buffet. It may not be your favourite, but you’d miss this serviceable staple like hell if it were gone. That’s why the charm of the 50 lies in its simplicity.
But what used to be a rather fetching shade of pinky-purple, all the better to show off the Parliament building, has become a truly terrifying neon blue. The Parliament has been replaced by an ancient temple from Hampi and a chariot that rises up from the earth – the whole effect is of a note that has attended a pseudo-spiritual rave before being accidentally chucked in the wash in the pocket of your denims.
The new 10-rupee note is certainly not the loudest or most flamboyant of the lineup. However, it is most certainly the ugliest. Where the old tenner was pretty in peach, this one is a drab dirt-brown. Instead of the splendid triumvirate of elephant, tiger, and rhino, we will now have to face the grim, unyielding wheel of the Konark Sun Temple whenever we fancy a packet of chips.
Sure, the new 500-rupee note is not as eye-catching as its fluorescent counterparts. It’s a bit boring, with its greyed-out olive tones. But it has a clean, business-like aesthetic that is perfectly suited to its role as Real Money. Whereas a 100 in your pocket is not particularly momentous, a 500 gives you just a hint of those five-star feels while still keeping you firmly in your aukaat. This is the note that you can confidently take out to a respectable restaurant or home to meet the parents.
The new 200-rupee note is a bold orange. Something about the combination of fizzy Fanta orange and the smell of a denomination that never existed before is undeniably exhilarating. Yes, the 200 is brash, and not for the faint of heart. But it has the virtues of accessibility, being more useful and versatile than the ugly 100 without any of the standoffishness of its big brother, the 500. It’s the Ranveer Singh of money, and we can’t help falling in love.
Two years on, India may still be divided over the PM’s surgical strike on black money but even those who wear floaters with socks agree that what followed was a fashion faux pas.
The 2,000-rupee note is not just money. It’s the most recognisable symbol of demonetisation, a bigger but not better replacement for the 1,000-rupee notes of yore. The massive purple note has a regal presence, and despite its recent introduction into our wallets, its heft feels like an old-school legal tender – reassuring, solid, and terribly exclusive. With its soaring obverse image of the Mangalyaan satellite, the 2k makes its point about modernity, new horizons, and strong investment in one fell swoop. This note may be a bit flashy, but its rich imperial colour, makes the sickly lavender shade sported by the new 100 look even shabbier in comparison. That’s why the 2K has emerged victorious, ready to claim the throne it was clearly made for.
Kahini spends an embarrassing amount of time eating Chinese food and watching Netflix. For proof that she is living her #bestlife, follow her on Instagram @kahinii.