This was on a particular Tuesday night, as I was returning from a meeting in my scooty. Yes, the red one…You are right..!! It was around 8:00 or 8:15 pm I believe..!!
So I was thinking about the night meal and decided to make keerai curry (greens) for Uncle in the same manner as was prepared by an Aunty in Malaysia. So I bought the greens from a nearby vegetable market. It was drizzling heavily and I had to buy coconut to extract coconut milk as this was the important ingredient of the curry.
Now, as known to many, I would always prefer all dishes devoid of coconut. Even at home when coconut chutney is prepared, an alternative chutney is kept ready for me..sometimes tomato or sometimes sambhar. So, I never touch a coconut curry ‘kurma’ being the top in the list). This is very much known to Aunty. Yet, (please keep this a secret 😉 ) sometimes while travelling when people give me a coconut curry or chutney and if I have no other alternative … I do gulp it…quietly without any noise….!! Yes, a true confession ..I never do that at home….never settle for that…the reason being …
‘ when people come to know that jesse has started eating coconut..my daily meals would begun to get flooded by that scrapped coconut…..white and tender….slimy…tasteless yet not tasty…etc etc etc…!!!!’ I hope You have understood my situation well …!!!
So, I had a mission …and that was to buy a small piece of coconut that would have no left overs when used in a single meal. Yes…I had to prepare an underground meal that day..!! shhhhhh
What would I do then ??
I got a click…there was a shortcut route to reach my home and in that route there were many small shops. These shops were for people who wouldn’t buy much.. mainly for the people who lived by their daily wages. I felt this was THE answer to my ……!!! Now the next question was…
‘How should I buy a single piece of coconut ???? ‘
Asking for a piece or two would be unwise as ‘piece’ is not a standard measurement.
Grams – hmmm, I wasn’t sure how much it would weigh ( yes….yes…I know I should as I am a physicist….!!)
Ok, what I thought would be best was to observe…!! So, I parked my scooty nearby a small shop that was flooded with chips packets, biscuits, some local sweets etc and I observed how others were buying their food items. I soon realized it was in ‘rupees’ as their measurement like… Parrupa pattu ruba – Pulses for 10 rupees, poondu anja ruba – Garlic for 5 rupees..etc.
Now I was extremely happy as I could begun my part soon. So I was there with my raincoat on, my helmet in my left hand, bag in my right hand and sandals on both my feet … 😉 that was just an extra fitting ..!! Let’s continue…
I asked the shopkeeper…”Tenga – coconut ” ….. Anja rubaka ( for Rs 5)
There was silence…!! Did I make a mistake? He shrunk his eyebrows and said ‘5’rupees…no ma….you need to buy it for ‘6’ rupees…I smiled and said ..Ok ok ..please give me “taanga’ and he gave me two or three pieces of coconut.
Then my eyes fell upon the bunch of bananas. They looked fresh and I thought 3 would do for a single meal. Yet again….. how would I initiate the buying phenomenon.
So, I asked …’vazhaparam’ (bananas) yavalo (how much) ?
Since I was pointing towards a particular branch .. He said Rs 5.
Now..I don’t know why, yet I said something baseless….!! FYI, I do buy vegetables….!! I love to…!! I get them from the supermarket. It’s very easy out there. You have transparent plastic sheets and you collect how much of each vegetable you like…and at the end you are charged for the bulk at the counter. You need not bargain at all…!
Today, all I know is, the approx. price for a 16 or 32 GB pen-drive, the online and market price for a slim back up plus external hard drive, the price difference between Hitachi and Optoma projector, the price difference between LED and power saver bulbs, etc etc…
Now how would I know the price of a country banana, which had the size of an inch more than my palm. All I have heard is that ‘banana’ is a poor man’s fruit. So, I was there standing with all these questions in my mind.
I don’t know why …yet I asked him..
‘ Oru Vaazhaparam ? ‘ ( 5 rupees for one banana ?)
The shopkeeper bursted out with laughter. I stood there silent….. He said to me “Then what…was I telling you the price for – ‘half a banana’ ??” and he began laughing again…!!
What could I do…. I joined in his laughter…became a partaker of his joy…!! 😉 ha ha ha !!
So, I finally bought the two items…( coconut + 3 bananas) safely wrapped in a single newspaper. I rode back home and slyly placed the coconut on the kitchen rack. Prepared the curry with coconut milk extract and left no clue about the Rs 5 ..ohh sorry… Rs 6 coconut..!!
THE END … paah !!! phew…!!