Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Saturday, May 19, 2007

naya paisa

the indian rupee is made of paise, or rather naya paise. 100 of them. naya paise means new money. The decimal system was adopted replacing the old monetary system of annas. The conversion was 16 annas = 100 paise = 1 rupee. see here for more info on the indian coinage evolution.
unlike the cents, nickels and dimes, the value of paise is very low. most items start at 50 paise.*

so I was travelling by bus in chennai today and the ticket was Rs 4.50.
i gave a Rs 5 coin and did not get back the change. The conductor indicated that he would give later. happens.
as the journey progressed, there seemed to be no indication of transaction closure. as passengers thronged the bus, he was all the time tied up. so I thought, ok…will take later when I get down.
a parallel stream of thinking got me saying...after all 50 NP, why make it a big deal. Wont it be embarassing to ask for such a meager sum!!…
a third thought…what if he is deliberately delaying. if he even does this for 10% of his passengers a day, he would make a neat pile every day. the bloody fraud…

see what 50 NP can do!!

in this mind muddle, i went ahead and asked him for my change back which he handed to me simply. mattter closed. simple really.

* - The cheapest item would perhaps be a bidi (indian cheeroot), 10 for Re 1.


Abodh said...

Talking og giving back change , I think Mumbai is the only place where the BEST conductors used to the change back give back ( and still do today). Many years ago when the tickets were an odd something 95 paise too they used to return the five paise. In Pune though I remember for a long time the tickets were 95 paise and even if you took for tickets the conductor never gave back the 20p.

csm said...

in bombay this thing is rich even with the autos and taxis while in most cities, people just round of to the nearest 10.
chennai autos are plain atrocious. it is goonda raj and i am stunned at the insensitivity of the admin towards reigning them in.

in 96-98 when i was in cal, the tickets were even as late as then in multiples of 10s and 20s paise and they were studious on returning the change. otherwise there would be wild cat strikes everyday :-)