Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thirty rupees for one plate

This post is not supposed to be sympathetic or overly sensitive nor a cliché. I want to plainly narrate my experience here, yet I can't do that without expressing my feelings. This post is certainly not written to, how should I say it, to win a prize at some competition. Maybe you'll know what I meant by that as you read on.

We are aware that ours is a poor country, or a country of poor people. Yet, how many times in our day-to-day activities we actually notice that? The people around us are mostly well-to-do kind of people- just take as an example, the people reading this post are having access to the Internet, which is in a way quite expensive technology as such. In our daily routines, we are hardly struck by these darker realities of life. Once in a while we read or hear a story or two and we are sorry for them. That's that.

Yesterday when I went to buy gas stove and some utensils so that I could start some [primitive] cooking, I was happy that I got a nice discount on most of the things. Finally I ended up in spending about thousand rupees. I really did not know if that some is very large or a meager one. The sum was, well, only a thousand rupees after all.

When I was about to leave a mother daughter duo came in. Going by their clothes, they were surely the people who could buy their food only after a day's hard work at some construction site. These ladies wanted to buy a few stainless steel plates. They demanded to see more of variety and finally seemed to like one of those.

"How much for these, here?"

"Thirty rupees, amma," the shopkeeper replied.

"Thirty rupees for one plate? FOR ONE PLATE?"


I hate to remember the look on the lady's face when she heard that. She had liked the plates, but, certainly did not have that much money to buy. How many times are we confronted by a situation like this? Never indeed, if the money involved is so less.

It struck me hard.

I had plans of buying some more things; but I didn't really feel like doing that. I know this feeling is foolish, but it's true.

I paid the shopkeeper and left the shop quietly.

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