The shopkeeper and poor me..!
“You gave him only eight!” I said angrily. “What to do,” said the shopkeeper as he weighed the one kilo sugar I wanted, “What to do, things are so expensive there is no other way I can make a profit.” “Are you sure your weighing scales are correct?” I asked as I picked up a kilo packet of washing powder and put it in place of his kilo measure. I watched as the scales now tipped in my favour, “Your scales are wrong!” I said.
“What to do, things are so expensive, there is no other way!” said the shopkeeper with a smile. “There is!” I said. “Is there?” he asked not bothering to look up. “If we can get good retail shopping centres that sold clean hygienic products, where scales were correctly balanced, products were fresh, even cheaper, where the poor farmer would be given a fair price and where his produce was not be wasted in transportation because of good cold storage facilities then it would solve the problem.”
“That will never happen,” said the shopkeeper happily. “Why not?” I asked. “Because we won’t allow it,” said the baniya shopkeeper with finality. “But I the consumer am being deprived of my right to good, cheap and fresh products!” I cried. “And I the shopkeeper will be deprived of my profits if this happens!” said the shopkeeper gleefully.
“But I am the voter!” “Maybe,” said the shopkeeper, “but my voice is heard more than yours. Look at the BJP, watch how they disrupt Parliament, all, so that you continue coming to my shop..” “Where you cheat people!” “Watch the commies, watch Mamata who speaks for the poor, everyone of them, in our pockets!”
I watched the baniya shopkeeper again taking out sticky, unwrapped sweets from a jar with fingers I knew had just been used to dig his nose, counting seven sweets, this time, which he gave to another little child. “Did you give me a dozen sweets uncle?” asked the child innocently as the shopkeeper smiled, then guffawed and laughed as the opposition parties, the commies and Mamata joined in with him. It is a happy shopkeeper and a sadder, poorer me, who watches FDI in Retail being thrown out of the country..!