Saturday, September 27, 2014

Slice of Life #2 — When Bargain Isn't One

My father taught me to shop for vegetables and some more. Each Saturday morning we used to set out to the bazaar at 6 am. The vegetables would have arrived, neatly laid on the jute sheets on the ground. Expectant vendors waiting for the first visitor to their stall. Anticipation was high. I walked with my dad, a stocky genial and cheery man. He took me all around the place and wished all the vendors a cheery morning while evaluating where the veg was fresh. Also, carefully noting the cost of each of the produce.

He asked me to note them down in my head and I was to let him know where to shop for the lowest cost. Also, he carefully noted where the special vegetables were available. Once in a while, he bent to feel the lady’s finger to test its tenderness and teach me too. Finally when he was done, he told me that we were ready. I was to reel off the places where we got the best deals. He always settled on some old vendor withered with wrinkles of days spent in the sun. The price was always a tad more than others. He would not bargain. Said it was a sign of respect to the vendor. Did not care if we paid more. Said that they worked harder than us. And vendors would cry out for my dad to visit them: “Aiyerre, come here!”

I learnt much from him that it is important to know the lay of the land, be generous and kind, settle only for the best, even if this was a bit more, and most of all, help someone who could do with your assistance. These days I try to visit the farmer’s market at Mehdipatnam. And take my sons too. And in fond remembrance of my dad ask myself – What would he want me to do!

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