Sunday, August 7, 2011

Calcutta blues

I was in Calcutta earlier this week, and landed needing to use an ATM machine to recharge my phone, and pay my credit card dues, which I invariably leave to the last minute. Public sector bank employees happened to be on strike that day, demanding whatever it is that bank workers demand when they go on strike. Now, a stoppage in Bombay or Delhi or most places wouldn't be an inconvenience unless someone wanted to make a large withdrawal. Most transactions are done at ATM machines these days. Besides, my account's with HDFC, not a public sector firm. In Calcutta, however, a strike by public sector bank employees means private banks are also closed, presumably in solidarity. Bizzarely, it means all ATM machine booths are shut too. At night, on my way back to the hotel, I saw one Axis Bank ATM working, and a couple of others with semi-open shutters, lights on inside, and the legs of the guard visible beyond glass doors. Unfortunately, HDFC ATMs offered no such tantalising views.

Any Time Money? Obviously not in Calcutta.

Yes, I know that's not what ATM stands for.

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