Ponda: An elderly woman from Bethoda in Ponda taluka has been hoping against hope that her nest egg of Rs 52,000 that she holds in banned notes would ‘come back to life’ somehow.
Bhima Gaonkar (75) holds banned notes worth of Rs 52,000 in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations, which she had saved for her old age and funeral expenses.
The demonetisation of banknotes in 2016 has rendered her nest egg worthless, which was her life’s entire saving.
Bhima cannot reconcile to the fact that her saving had been rendered worthless three years ago by the decision of the Centre to demonetise the high denomination banknotes.
Bhima, a hardworking woman living alone in her house at Taiginyem in Bethoda, used to sell wood collected from forest.
She had rented a part of her house to migrant labourers to make both ends meet.
The woman had saved the money for old age and funeral expenses, and used to stash the banknotes in utensils, crannies and small openings of the walls.
Bhima’s whole world came crashing down around when she realised that her life’s saving is now nothing more than pieces of paper.
The Bethoda woman, who has 30 notes in Rs 1000 denomination and 44 notes in Rs 500 denomination, earnestly hopes that her notes will ‘come back to life’ with their usefulness.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation of currency notes in 2016, Bhima did not pay attention to the implications of the decision, which had been pointed out to her by her children.
Bhima remembers lying to her sons when they had asked her if she had any banknotes in the banned denominations.
“My sons had asked me whether I had notes in Rs 500 or Rs 1000 denominations. I had told them that I didn’t have any saving,” Gaonkar recalls, hitting her forehead with hand in regret.
“Who knew such things will happen, and that someone called Modi will turn our money worthless,” She rues.
Bhima, who has been afflicted with illnesses like blood pressure and diabetes in the last few years, is dependent on Rs 2000 dole given by the government under the Dayanand Social Security Scheme.
Her frequent falling sick has pushed up medical expenses. The elderly woman was crestfallen when a pharmacist refused to accept her banned notes when she went to the pharmacy to buy medicine.
Her sons are perplexed at the fact that their mother has banned notes worth of Rs 52,000.
Bhima lives alone in her house, while two sons and their families live in separate houses.