“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?