Early man used quite a few things as currency. They used stones, leaves, animals and what not. But as time progressed, we wanted something much more standard and efficient. Lo and behold, we started using coins and paper cash. Even though this is the de facto standard across the world, in some corners (hell, it isn’t even in remote corners) of India, there exists another system of exchange. And it exists parallel to the coin and cash system. There is no proper name for it, and it has not been documented at all. It just exists. People follow it, and so it exists. For all practical purposes, lets call it chocolate currency.
The name ‘chocolate currency’ originates from the simple fact that chocolate is used as the medium of exchange in this system. As I mentioned, this system is by no means a replacement to the worldwide accepted system. It is rather a backup system which comes up when the standard system fails.
Hey, hey, hold on a second !!! The standard system fails??? When does the cash system fail???
Simple…I buy something for Rs 38. I give a 50 rupee note to the cashier. But as luck would have it, he doesn’t have Rs 2. Maybe he doesn’t have it in, or maybe he is lazy to search for it. Either way, the system fails. He wont give me the 2 rupees, and I won’t let it go. Then comes the alternate system of chocolate currency. The change I get is Rs 20 plus 2 chocolates of 1 rupee each.
But the problem that I have with the system is that it doesn’t work 2 ways. Suppose I try to give two toffees to a store, or in a bus. The guy will just kick me out. Come on now, a system is supposed to work both ways…
Now I didn’t have a problem with this in the early days, because I was a kid, and ate toffees a lot. But now, not so much, I’d rather have the 2 rupees, which I can use in a bus. In fact, the toffees just sit around in my room, until someone comes along and eats it, or it goes bad and I throw it out.
And there are certain designated toffees which are used. Mostly it is either eclairs or milky bar or nowadays, Kopiko. If the change come upto about Rs 5, then dairy milk, perk, munch, or 5 Star works. But for these high end chocolates, we are usually asked first.
” Shall I give you a dairy milk for Rs 5?”
Okay, maybe. And mostly, we oblige, because otherwise, we lose the money. Some of us fish around in our pockets and come up the change, others just let it slide.
Either way, chocolate currency is a way of life, and it ain’t going away.
By the way, I have 2 chocolates. Care to exchange them for Rs 2?
Do you have such interesting systems in your country??? Let me know !!!