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Currency Compendium

One of the side effects of a highly itinerant life is that your wallet on any given day would have a hotchpotch of currencies, representative of the countries you visited or transited through. I’ve been carrying US $, RMB (Yaun) and Singapore $ - in puny (pocket change) denominations for past two weeks. The tinge on a 10 RMB note resembles that of a 100 Rs note and has been a source of profound confusion. While coming to office this morning, as I rummaged through the potpourri of currency notes to fish that elusive 10 Rs note, the auto driver caught a glimpse of my wallet’s messy innards. He stared at me blankly for a moment in a state of utter bewilderment, as if I had just landed from mars, and asked me what that green looking currency note in my wallet was. “1 American Dollar” was my prompt reply. Without wasting a second, he put his hand into his trouser's pocket and pulled out a soiled, battered, folded currency note, which he proceeded to unfold with utmost care. He pointed to it and asked my expert opinion on country of its origin and its current market value in Rs. I told him that he was carrying a 20 Thai-Bhat note, which happens to be priced at slightly more than a rupee. He grinned broadly, satisfied at his recent discovery, and drove away; leaving me nonplussed…

posted: 8.3.04

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