Dubai-based Indian businessman M.K. Latheef is the proud owner of currency notes from various countries but it’s his latest addition that will turn eyeballs — Rs160,000 worth of newly released Rs 2,000 denomination Indian currency notes.
“Yes, I got it from various places – New Delhi, Mumbai, districts of Kerala among others,” the native of Kozhikode district in Kerala told Khaleej Times. “I had gone to Kerala for another work and didn’t waste chance to pocket the new Rs 2,000 notes. I have got many friends all over India.”
So how did he manage to get this much amount from the airport?
“I got help from my friends. Each one carried Rs25,000 and hence helped me bring in Rs 160,000 here. I have already given it to few others who have asked for it.”
Collecting currency notes is a hobby for him and he is willing to shell money to get the right number. Yes, he is in love with fancy numbers. This infancy later developed into a collection of notes with serial number that make birth dates of friends, relatives, celebrities, politicians among others.
“Just like people have hobbies like stamp collection and the like, I was always fascinated by Indian currency notes. I started collecting notes with fancy numbers like 111111, 777777 and 000786. It was then I started focusing on a collection with birth dates. Indian currency has got six-digit serial number and it is perfect to mark birth date – DD/MM/YY. I have also collected various denominations with same birth dates.”
He has presented the birth date matching notes to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, former CM Oommen Chandy, singer KJ Yesudas, author Chetan Bhagat, actors Mammootty, Suresh Gopi among others.
“Few days back I presented one to politician Shashi Tharoor during the Sharjah International Book Fair. I also have birthday-number notes for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
He has got such a currency note with birthday of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. He has sought an appointment to present it to him personally.
Latheef has got useful friends in the Reserve Bank of India and gets tips on new releases from many sources.
“I have Rs 1,000, Rs 125, Rs 100, Rs 75, Rs50 coins. These were commemorative coins. Those were limited edition.”
These coins, however, don’t have any legal value too but this doesn’t deter Latheef.
“I rushed to New Delhi when Re 1 note was relaunched last year.”
He has his fill of fils too.
“I have a good collection. I have fils of one, five and 25.”
But all of his collections come at a cost.
“Recently I bought 100 fils for Dh200. I have always paid a higher amount to get the currency note I want. I booked Rs1,000 coin for Rs5,000.”
The father of two is now obsessed with this hobby.
“Whenever I get or give a note to someone, I always do check the serial number,” he added.