Cheating ourselves..!

WHENEVER I travel abroad, people tell me what cheats we Indians are! And I remember the baniya shopkeeper who had a small shop, downstairs in one of the galas of our housing society sat behind an old wooden counter in the same place and in the same way he had been sitting for the last fifteen years, since he had opened his shop.
‘Ha, ha, ha, ha,’ he laughed and shook my hand heartily, ‘you are asking me how I am still making money, well I will show you.’ I watched as a customer came into the shop and asked for five kilos of sugar. The owner weighed the sugar carefully on the scales, even added a little more, packed the sugar and took the money.
‘Fifteen rupees profit,’ said the shopkeeper proudly. ‘Fifteen rupees?’ I asked, ‘how can that be, you can’t make fifteen rupees on five kilos of sugar.’ ‘Ha, ha, ha,’ laughed the shopkeeper, ‘maybe not on five kilos of sugar but you can make 15 rupees on four kilos of sugar/’
‘You mean the weighing scales are not correct,’ I asked. ‘How else can we make money?’ said the shopkeeper putting on a sad face, ‘we have to live.’ ‘But,’ I said, ‘people will soon come to know, nobody will come here then.’
‘Ah we have our methods,’ said the shopkeeper, as a maidservant walked into his shop and ordered some tea leaves. He wrapped the third grade tea leaves and slipped a five rupee note into her hand. ‘See she will always come here,’ said the owner. ‘But her memsahib is not going to be too happy with the tea,’ I said.
‘Who cares,’ he said, ‘that is not my problem, this is how I have been existing for the last fifteen years, what else can I do with all the competition around me?’ I looked outside and saw the number of malls that had sprouted all around. They were full of customers, going in with cash and coming out with huge packets and packages.
‘Now can you see what a struggle it is,’ asked the shopkeeper. ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘but your shop was here much before them. All those customers should be coming and going out of your shop. Maybe if you had not cheated from the beginning people would be only buying from you.’
‘Ah who can wait for such a long time,’ said the baniya shopkeeper giving a small boy a sweet for buying a rotten loaf of bread from him. ‘In this world you have to make quick profits, and a little trickery does help.’
I watched the baniya shopkeeper sitting behind the same wooden counter in the same place, and in the same way he had been sitting for fifteen years, and I felt sorry for a cheat who had only cheated himself. And that is why very few nations want to do business with us..!
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