The notice on the wall inside the Sri Lakshmi Bhavan Tiffin Room – Chitradurga’s most famous eating place –  reads, in Kannada:

For customers’ attention

We don’t have change for the Rs. 2,000 notes. Please tender exact change or transact with currency of smaller denomination

The notice on the wall inside the Sri Lakshmi Bhavan Tiffin Room – Chitradurga’s most famous eating place –  written in Kannada
PHOTO • P. Sainath

The notice on the wall inside the Sri Lakshmi Bhavan Tiffin Room

That notice went up in the first few days after the demonetisation of November 8, 2016. “It really hit us,” says S. Murali, the manager.  “First 3-4 months, we lost 50 per cent of our business. People would come here and then leave without eating. It was a bad time.”  And this was the fate of the best-known tiffin room in Chitradurga town, headquarters of the district of the same name in Karnataka. 

But, we ask ,“The currency situation has eased, cash is back, and it has been a year now –  so why still carry the notice?”  Murali smiles. “Yes, things are much better now, but I think we still prefer to retain it.” The unspoken message: you never know… it might happen again. And who knows what they’ll come up with next?

I’m glad we had the appropriate denominations. The dosas here are incredible. Tourists visiting the famous Chitradurga Fort, and people from other nearby towns, come here for them. I’d recommend this tiffin room. Just don’t flash any Rs. 2,000 notes.

P. Sainath is the founder editor of the People's Archive of Rural India. He has been a rural reporter for decades and is the author of 'Everybody Loves a Good Drought'.

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