The whistle from the pressure cooker makes her husband groaned. She opened the window the cool air splash on her face, the sun was not up yet but to Soumya, it was too late.
She peeled off the potato burning her fingers as the hot potato roll up in her hand. The bird chirped out from the clock telling her it was 6 in the morning. A knock on the door.
"Avinash someone is on the door," she said from the kitchen.
Her husband put the cushion on his head blocking her voice. She walked toward the door pulling the blanket from his husband.
There was no one. She glanced left and right, no sign of anyone in the corridor. A dark olive green bag was placed right in front of her doorsteps.
She closed the door as she examined the bag, bringing it closer to the nose, sniffing it. She opened the bag her eyes grow wide as if it might bulge out from the socket anytime. She zips the bag carried it inside her kitchen. She opened the bag once again it was still there. She pinched herself to make sure it was not a dream.
The bag was filled with a thousand and five hundred note bundles in the elastic band. She analyzed the paper looking for Gandhi's face as she raised the note up in the sky. The steps grew heavier she slides the bag in the cabinet covering up with the small curtains.
"Aren't you getting late now?" her husband said rubbing his eyes.
"I am not going today I am feeling exhausted," she said peeling the potato.
Her husband looked straight into her eyes. He placed his hand on top of her squeezing it as he said "I can stay back if your health is not good."
She released her hand as she mixes spices with potato "No need to do that. We don't have any luxuries except for this shabby apartment."
She locked the door after her husband departed, she removed the bag. Emptying the money from the bag she wrapped it inside the plastic putting it inside the grocery container.
"3500 rupees mam," the cashier said, she pulled out the crisp fresh note from her bag.
"Thank you, mam, have a good day," the watchman said pushing the door open for her.
She felt like a queen, all she could see was smile on everyone's face. There was no sadness, all she could hear was giggles, the sobbing sound was stranger to her ears now.
A new bedsheet, a floral perfume in the air, cover the rotten smell of the mattress. She reminds herself to purchase a new mattress, 100% cotton fiber.
A new day, the first thing she does on waking up is to check the money. It has become a habit, she checked the money every now and then.
Her husband's face was scowled, he was displeased as she told him about leaving the job. She doesn't need a job, she can feed herself all her life with that amount of money.
"We are not in a position to afford a bedsheet. We had a loan to pay," he said slamming his fist on the table. She moved back by the rage from his voice.
"Now you don't want to earn we have to restrict our spending," he said picking the bag storming out from the house.
She removed the plastic, the paper ink was fresh. The morning turns into night as she brings some grocery and makeup stuff for herself.
She wore a new sunny yellow saree, apply some makeup, pinning the fresh mogra on her hair. The doorbell ring she checked one last time before walking toward the door. Humming a romantic song she greeted her exhausted husband with a sly smile.
He put the bag on its place, he blinked several times. Her wife was looking like a woman coming straight from a movie.
"Where did you get money to buy things?" he asked.
"I managed to save money at the time of work," she said bringing the bowl of dried fruits to her beloved husband.
"Why didn't you tell me about your savings?" he said. "We could have invested it into mutual funds."
"You talk so much. Enjoy your life. I had also brought a pair of clothes for you. Get ready we are going out for dinner."
"The paneer was soft and tender, and the ice cream flavor was enhanced with the dried fruits toppings. We should come back here once in a month," her wife boasted about the extravagant structure of the hotel all the way to the home.
The news broadcast of 9pm of 100 news in 100 seconds program was tuning in the T.V as they sat close warming up each other in the chilly weather.
Breaking news from our beloved prime minister.
According to our reports, the Prime minister had banned the 1000 and 500 notes from the midnight. Here is the video of it.
"Now the black money will come out from the rich fat pigs," her husband squeal in excitement.
All the color was flushed from her face. She stares at her husband wanting to punch him for saying things like that.
Sleep eluded her as she thinks about money. In the morning she checked the money, it was not even half spend.
She entered the jewelry story clutching the handbag closer toward her chest. The chilly air inside the store couldn't sweep the sweat formed on her forehead.
"Show me this one," she said pointing at the diamond necklace.
"This will be 1,50,000 mam," the staff said.
"I like to pay more than half of the amount now," she said.
The staff pointed at the manager of the store sitting in a rotating wheelchair. She removed the note putting forward in the table.
"Haven't you heard the news mam?" the manager said adjusting the glasses. "Old note will not be valid now. I am sorry we couldn't accept it. If you like, you can purchase it in installment," he said.
She shooked her head, walking out of the store. She heard a group of old men talking in the park, "This is absurd, at night he announced. How could we buy things now?"
"The shopkeeper is telling us to convert the note from the bank first," another said. "The bank employees are only converting little amount per person."
People were shouting, discussing, pointing out the fault in the prime minister's decision, some were praising it. She sat all day thinking about the money. Her husband arrived early today, she hadn't prepared the food.
He started preparing the food, the salt was not there, he opened the grocery container. The steel can drop from his hand rolling on the floor. She returned back from his thought striding inside the kitchen.
He stands frozen in his place, looking at her. She explained everything to him.
"Why would anyone put a bag in front of the door?" he asked.
"No one is taking the note, it is useless now," she said.
"We should get rid of it. The income tax is raiding home, putting the people behind the bars," he said.
It has been a week, the money is still inside the container. The grocery was empty, the rotten smell of the mattress was unable to mask. The boss paid half salary with new notes and another half with old notes. The bonus was also paid with the old notes.
She filled the olive green bag with the notes. Taking it upstairs she slams the bag in front of the old couple door. They could exchange the note and use for them. She rang the doorbell striding back to her house.
In front of the mirror, she saw the wrinkle on her face, her eye sunken inside her skin, her dull lips. She stands in the long line of exchanging notes inside the bank. The people were shouting at the employees, their faces scowled. The businessman was sobbing, the common man was cursing.