TALE OF TWO TEN RUPEE COINS
Tale of two ten rupee coins
M G Warrier
Things I learned during morning walk on Saturday, March 4, 2017
I get up at around 5 a m By about 0540hrs I finish my morning routines including any help in the kitchen and start writing/responding to emails. 0630 I start for the morning walk and am back home by 7 30 a m. During this one hour, I take my morning tea at Prarthana Hotel (a Class 2 vegetarian hotel on Station Road, Bhandup West), pick up milk packets and newspapers and take a couple of rounds in the large open garden area at Dreams Complex where we stay.
Today is Saturday, March 4, 2017. Yesterday, I had forgotten to buy dhanya (Coriander, kothmalli) leaves needed for making Aaloo Parathas today morning for breakfast. I asked my Prarthana Hotel friend whether I could get some from his kitchen. He checked up and came back saying they had exhausted all stock and replenishment will come from Byculla market, later in the morning.
After paying for tea (Rs18) and picking up milk and newspapers, I decided to walk down and try my luck to get dhanya leaves in nearby Bhattipada vegetable market.
Walking through the gullies of Bhattipada where vegetable markets open late, I found a nomad lady with a new drum on which she was playing with utmost concentration attracting the attention of passersby. A seven year old girl and a four year old boy, probably the nomad lady’s children, were touching the feet of each one passing that way and begging for alms. No one was caring, all were running towards their destination (here people walk as if they are participating in a ‘walking competition!). I took out a ten rupee coin from my pocket and gave to the 4 year old and proceeded further.
I reached a ‘Malayalee shop’ where Malayalee-specific items are sold. This is just outside a Malayalee hotel. I don’t personally know the hotel fellow who is related to the ‘Malayalee shop’ owner(Chandran). After buying some items, I asked Chandran whether he could get few coriander leaves from inside the hotel kitchen. His answer surprised me: “You don’t know? We are not in talking terms for the last nine years after a dispute on this property.”
How I will know, I have seen him using the first floor of the hotel premises as his store and beyond that, I was not aware of the relationship. I started walking back home.
When I reached the vegetable market area again, I found a vendor’s table on which several types of green leaves were lying, some covered and some open. A boy had opened a nearby ironing shop and was cleaning the premises. I asked the boy whether the vegetable vendor was around. He asked: “Aap ko kya chaahiye?” (What do you want?)
I said I needed some coriander leaves, if it was there.
Boy: “Hai kya udhar?” (Is it there?)
I expressed my reluctance to check when the owner is not there.
He came out, searched and gave me a small bundle of dhanya leaves for ten rupees. Walking back home happy, I passed through the same gully where I had earlier seen the nomads. They were not there. Perhaps, the ten rupees I gave must have bought ‘breakfast’ for that entire family, I thought. Perhaps, 5 loaves of ‘Pav’ or 5 plantains…
I concluded my morning walk thoughts with a ‘value for money comparison between the tenner I gave to that boy and the other one I paid for the coriander leaves bundle. The first one would have bought breakfast for a family of three and the second one has brought home coriander leaves which may add taste to parathaas!