Some people have been coping with the demonetisation of the 500 and 1000 Rupee notes ingeniously. In the home economy, I was concerned with the monetary requirements of my visiting domestic help. I asked her: Do you need any low denomination cash to purchase your day-to-day requirements? Her answer was a prompt NO. I was intrigued and so I led her on, into an explanation which earned her my admiration. She explained that in the heart of our great, supposedly fully monetised Mumbai city, there were tradesman who bartered depreciated clothes for rice, groceries, utensils and durable plastic containers on a recurring basis. So she approached them with all the clothes that she had accumulated as gifts and bartered them for her daily requirements of pulses and cereals. So I pulled out all the zero marginal utility Diwali gifts that I received, this Diwali and handed them to her so that she does not absent herself on the pretext of having to stand in long queues at Banks which, she claimed, were asking her for Udhaar!

I am now reminded of how, I laboured at teaching students, Say’s Law of Markets in a Barter Economy, when it is playing out so simply right before my eyes.