(As a cashier who has served a long term at various SBI Cash counters, I know the course of a currency note very well. Here, a currency note is narrating its own tale at the deathbed. It is now lying in the furnace of RBI office before the final take off to heavens) .
by Ravi Panamanna
Before the flames finally lick me
I venture to reflect.
This is my final hour
This is my final tenet.
A press was my labour room,
A casting dye was my breast milk.
Under tight security
I sprang forth into the world.
Instead of a sweet name
I was only a number.
I was only a paper, a given value
My destination was the entire world.
And I was bundled, packed, dispatched
To reach a bank, various hands.
And I reached numberless pockets,
Purses of umpteen kinds.
I was a traveler in this world,
I had practically no home.
Both the prince and the pauper possessed me
And in the cycle of life, dispossessed me too.
One bought wine selling me,
The other, a square meal.
The intricacies of life are strange,
I am fit to man’s any rule.
Here is a man treasuring me to his chest,
There is a man throwing me to streets.
Here is a man pick pocketing me
There is a man liberally donating me.
Life is an endless gamble,
I was in the share market for a long time.
It was a hoarding life
Those were my busy days.
End to end have I seen life
Deserts and oasis have I crossed.
Man hath battled in my name,
He hath drawn blood to pocket me.
I gave the world part of its needs,
Long sighs were often heard.
I have eluded many pockets
I did reach many inns.
Upon the watermark
I carried umpteen verses.
They were essays of the public
They were messages unto the world.
And the dust of the earth
And the saliva of man
And the unpteen folds
Broke my backbone and heart.
In a bundle for several times
My neighbors were fake ones.
Born in local presses
They were serving an underworld.
Once I reached temples
At other times, the red streets.
Different places and different phylum-
It was a travel beyond my scope.
Life was inodorous,
In a way, all the world was my stage.
Both the temple and the church were to me one,
No purse to me had any preference.
With no priorities nor any wants
I kept on travelling in this world.
The dingy air of the vault
And the open winds to me were the same.
Yet, time was telling its tale,
I was becoming old.
My backbone was for several times plastered
And I finally was confined to a dingy chest.
Within a cycle of time I was caught,
The passage of time to me was unknown.
I knew I was meeting my days,
I knew I wouldn’t see many more dawns.
And one day my cubicle was opened,
It was like the gates of gallows being opened.
I heard my officials in whispering tones
And knew that it was a decree for my last trip.
Into a wooden box I was dumped,
Into a wagon it was hauled.
Those were the last rays of the parting day,
That was my death knell –a whistle and clatter of wheels.
It seemed an endless trip,
It was a death-like, long silence,
It seemed a distant burial ground,
It seemed a deep, grumbling sound.
And my box was finally unloaded,
I had reached the Capitol.
For the last time I was examined,
And the officials finally wrote me off.
I was punched and defaced,
I was properly murdered.
With a major junk of flesh gone,
It was my final dispatch to heavens.
I lay waiting and waiting,
Where was my release, my funeral pyre?
It was an endless torture,
Within RBI’s* cubicle, it was an endless prayer.
Now, I am before a furnace,
Ney, it is my funeral pyre.
In a flick I am ashes,
In a lick I would be out of this world.
Two men are ready for my dispatch,
They are going through their rituals.
A list is being ticked out
And the passport is finally drawn.
And a tale is brought to my memories,
Once I was in Manikarnika Ghat**.
For a burial, I was paid-
I saw tears in the eyes of the dispossessed.
Now, it is my turn, my burial,
I see no breaking hearts around me.
Those who had possessed me, dispossessed me,
Those who had dispossessed me had forgotten me.
My generations are waiting in the press,
They are to follow my steps sooner or later.
Beyond the lick of the flames,
All is now a vanishing tale.
RBI* - Reserve Bank of India
Manikarnika Ghat** - One of the largest burial grounds situated at Kasi (Banares)