Autobiography of a Coin:
I was born in the mines of Peru. At first, I was a part of silver ore. Then I was shipped to the Mumbai port and from there to the Government Mint, Mumbai where I was put into a hot furnace, melted, and given the shape of a coin with an effigy of an Indian Emblem on one side and ‘One Rupee’ written on the other. Thus equipped I found in me wonderful mobility to pass from hand to hand. Before I was two years old I had travelled into every nook and corner of the country. But at the beginning of my third year, I fell into the hands of a miser who imprisoned me in an iron box where I found myself amidst about five hundred other rupees that lay under the same confinement.
Oh, what a hellish place I was in! Here I lay in darkness along with my companions. All of us felt suffocated. Even such natural gifts as air and light were denied to us. The miser’s box was the worst type of prison. Not that he did not open the box. He opened it now and then felt very happy about counting and keeping us in piles. He was fascinated by our clear metallic ring and bright shining color. I was languishing away in captivity. But you need not imagine that I had not seen better days.
I distinctively remember how I came out of the mint at Mumbai all shining and bright with the effigy of Indian Emblem on one side and ‘One Rupee’ written on the other. Little did I know then of the adventures I had to encounter, and the imprisonment I had to serve in the miser’s chest. One day I along with my companions was sent to the Government Treasury, in Delhi. There I lay in the cashier’s safe for many days. After several days of imprisonment, I was sent to the Punjab National Bank from where I along with a large number of currency notes was drawn by a rich merchant. The merchant would not like to part with me. Once he took me out and wanted to pass me on to his son who was studying in a college, but on second thought he thrust me once more into his purse and gave his son a one-rupee note instead. But next morning he did hand me over to his fair daughter who stood in need of some money. The girl put me into her purse and took me into a cinema hall. For the first time in my life, I heard the lilting music and looked at beautiful pictures. Very soon she exchanged me for some sweets and soda water from a hawker in the hall. To my great joy, the hawker kept me in an open tray, where some two rupees and five rupees coins were already lying. I felt very happy to see the pictures of new faces.
The next morning the hawker went to the railway station and exchanged me for a railway ticket. The booking clerk who was a busy man carelessly laid me down on the counter. Soon after this, a newly married couple arrived there. The bridegroom gave a ten-rupee note to the booking clerk and demanded two tickets of Amristar. While giving the change the Babu picked me up and passed me over to the bridegroom. The bridegroom gave me to his wife. I was delighted with the sweet fragrance from her lavendered handkerchief. She had also applied some sort of scent to her curly hair. It was very pleasant and I enjoyed her company for a number of days.
But my pleasant days were going to be over. One day the bride took me to a confectioner’s and exchanged me for some sweets. Though I could enjoy the sweet smell of delicacies, yet I was annoyed with the confectioner whose greasy and dirty touch I did not like at all. But a worse fate was in store for me. I was destined to be a prisoner for the rest of my life. One evening the third year of my life I was given to a bania. The bania took me to his innermost room and imprisoned me in a box. I am still there though six years have passed.
Will none of you take courage in both hands and break open the miser’s box, if not to grow rich, at least to set me free?
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