Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Monday, January 10, 2011

116. Bargain

“Behanjee,” (Madam), someone was calling me.
I stopped, came out of my thought processes, and looked around.
A young man, probably in his late 20s, was smiling at me.
I did not know what to make of that smile – from a stranger.
But smile always creates positive feelings and reciprocation.
So, without my knowledge, I responded with a smile.
That must have given him more courage.

“I have good caps. Purchase one,” he pleaded.
I gave a neat look. He was a roadside vendor; selling winter wear like scarf, cap, socks, gloves etc.
I nodded and was to move away; when he hurriedly added, “It is very cold. You are shivering. My caps are good. Use one and you will know that what I am saying is true.”

It was Saturday; about 1.00 in the afternoon. I was going to the bank to update passbook. Delhi winter was at its most severe form. Fog had engulfed the day and was complemented by chilly wind. The Sun was hiding all the day.
I like winter and I like fog.
Actually, I like Nature as it is. Nature has its own tune. It is fun to have something in life which is very loving but aloof from you. You can’t grasp Nature, can’t control Nature, can’t touch Nature… and still it is with you all the time – nourishing you, helping you to live happily.
So close, yet so distant!

I generally don’t complain about weather.
Don’t be surprised if I repeat myself with same zeal in summer and monsoon.
Even if my mind is young, I tend to forget that the body is aging. It needs protection not only from external environment but also from my wild mind. As the young man had rightly pointed out, I was shivering and I had hardly noticed it. Right, I needed some protective winter-wear!

“Ok, which cap is good for me?” I asked.
He showed me 4-5 different caps. I asked him to choose one for me (I am a lazy shopper!). That purchase done, he said he had woolen socks. I purchased those too.
“How much to pay?” I asked.
He calculated and told me, “One hundred and thirty rupees.”
I handed him one hundred rupee note and one fifty rupee note.
The man gave me three ten rupee notes back.
“You have to give me only twenty,” I said and gave him ten rupees back.
He did not take that money.

I thought he must have miscalculated.
He smiled mischievously.
He said, “Generally customers never pay the price we ask for. They negotiate, they bargain. But you did not ask me to reduce price. It is good to have a customer like you. So I am reducing ten rupees for you on my own.”

I was touched by his action.
Giving unasked is a virtue which you find around luckily.
And giving unasked – to a total stranger!

Being in good mood, I decided to play a little mischief.
I asked the man, “How much one would pay for these items normally, if bargained?”
He was hesitant. His smile disappeared. His eyes narrowed. A line appeared on his forehead.
I laughed. I said, “Young man, I am not going to ask you to reduce anymore. I am happy with the discount you have offered. But I am asking out of curiosity. May be next time I would bargain. So, I should know the right price range.”

He did not trust me fully. But somehow he decided to take a risk.
“Hundred rupees,” he said slowly and gave me an anxious look. He obviously feared that I was going to ask him twenty rupees back.

I smiled, little to him, more to myself and moved on.
If a young man; who is poor; can knowingly give up benefit of ten rupees – for a stranger, unasked for
Certainly, I, not poor, can knowingly give up benefit of twenty rupees; - for a stranger, though indirectly asked for!

The smile, the trust, the surprise, the fun, the experience, the joy… I had - was much more valuable than twenty rupees could buy for me anytime.
That day I had a memorable bargain. Don’t you think so?


  1. My late mother would always tell me that money has both quality and quantity. Your transaction with the cap vendor had immense quality.

    But everyone doesn't see that, habituated as they are only to quantity. (That's why the scams).....I wish everyone could look at things the way you do ....

  2. love your attitude! uncomplicated perspective on life!!

  3. I would not have bargained with the poor kid.
    Was this at some traffic signal or a T corner?

  4. Ugich Konitari, yes many times we overlook the aspect of quality that money can bring in life! Thanks for reminding me!

    Thanks magiceye, but I guess my perspective is more complicated than it appears :-)

    Preeti, hmm.. 'different' is appropriate word.

    Chowlajee, believe me, I did not bargain. It was in Malviya Nagar market in Delhi.

  5. A very different slant from the vendor!

    Thank you for bringing this up. I'll have to post on it now! ;-)

  6. Actually Life is a lie when we that "f" out of it which is its ..Fun

  7. I wish everyone is blessed your faith in fellow human-beings along with the ability to realize it, see it.

  8. David, what are you planning to post? I did not understand!

    Makk, unfrotunately so many of us so many times miss it completely!

    Guria, I think we are scared of taking a risk of putting trust in others! But whenever I trust, I get such beautiful experiences!

  9. If a young man; who is poor; can knowingly give up benefit of ten rupees – for a stranger // now thats a beautiful thought...
    if only everyone was so easy going :)

  10. Rajlakshmi, yes, that innocence and pro activeness shown by the young man was indeed incredible!

  11. As always I am amazed by your ability to carve out such a beautiful meaning out of a seemingly normal situation! :)

  12. Vidyadhar, thanks. May be normal things are so rare that I keep on finding meaning in it :-)

  13. A group of eight students and I stayed with an unknown Warli family, for eight days. We had visited the place for documentation (see my blog) of their houses and habitat, in Thane District. Customarily at such occasions I carry rice/flour/dal/glass beads/embroidery threads etc. We had carried some and handed over to the lady of the house.

    While leaving a girl in the group tried togive them some cash (Rs. 300/-)also. But the lady wouldn’t accept the money. So I gave it myself. She accepted, and returned two hundred rupees, saying “Bhau, (brother) keep this for your return journey. Come again, and do bring sweets for the children.”

    There are many different experiences for a traveler…

  14. Remijee, touching experience indeed. I will certainly read your post.


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