Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A ten-rupee note

I was shopping for groceries with Mom one Saturday. It is the local vegetable market. Unorganized and yet organized in its own way. The vendors spread their offerings on gunny sacks in neatly piled heaps of french beans, cucumbers, beetroot, carrots, onions and coconuts. Men and women haggled alike to get a good bargain. People moved slowly from one vendor to another, enquiring about the prices, picking up a potato here or a cabbage there, checking if was worth its price and moving on with a this-is-so-damn-expensive pout. It was a welter of humanity with its myraid forms.

We stopped to buy vegetables from a lady. She had her son besides her, a lad of five. Crowded as the street was with people, vehicles played their role in adding to the commotion. BEST buses, cars, autorickshaws, and bikers trying to snake their way through the traffic, were aplenty. As we were sorting and picking up cauliflowers, a car crawled behind us. I did not pay any heed, but the little boy perked up. 

"Can we ride in it?", he asked his mother. 
"Hmm", said his mother very passively, as all mothers do when they see a tantrum coming. 
"What does it take to get a ride?", the child went on, "only money, no?". 
"Yeah", said his mother with some irritation as she tossed the cauliflower in our grocery bag. Life had perhaps taught her the hard way to avoid day-dreaming. But her son went on.
"Is a ten-rupee note enough? That thing is not as big as a bus!". 

I smiled. It was innocence at its best.


  1. "..as all mothers do when they see a tantrum coming." This line was rather funny. I wonder how you gained that insight. Long years of seeing mom's reactions?

    A bittersweet story/observation. Really liked the kid.

  2. @Saiba: Long years of travelling by trains :)

  3. Lovely! and after a long time!!!