Thursday, 14 April 2016

Chutzpah Of Paanwalla

Photo: carola
Yesterday I had one of the most embarrassing moment of my life or at least the one in recent times. Today(Apr 14th) being Vishu - our new year (Kerala), I had gone to do some last moment shopping for "Vishu Kani". It's basically an assortment of auspicious things that is viewed when one opens one’s eyes on the day of Vishu festival. ‘Kani’ means ‘that which is seen first’ and this ritual is an indispensable part of the festival.

Everything went smoothly (maybe little sweaty) till the final item on the list had to be bought - betel leaves and betel nuts. I thought it should be a perfectly doable task, all I have to do is walk upto Paan stall and point at things I want (since I had no idea what is betel nuts called in Hindi!).

So I felt pretty confident walking up to the nearest Paan shop and asking, "Bhaiya, woh chaar pan ke patte, aur woh wali cheez dena" ( Could you give me four betel leaves and that thing over there?). The guy looked at me and asked what for? Now I was a little uneasy explaining our mallu rituals to this Bihari guy whilst all the other men (needless to say it was paan/cigarette shop) were staring at the girl who had come to a cigarette shop in a respectable residential area in the broad daylight!

Still, refusing to give up I tried explaining to him that it was for a "puja purpose". I mean that is valid explanation right? So I kept waiting for him to rush up and pack the damn thing. But the guy had the audacity to pretend as if he didn't hear me at all. By now I was loosing my cool, so asked him to hurry up and took out my purse because I couldn't wait to get rid of the place and be done with this whole awful business!

Finally guy turns to me and says, "No I can't sell it you. We don't sell it for such purposes". And in my mind I was like "????" preceded and succeeded by some decent amount of profanity! I mean just the shock of being refused to sell paan leaves by "paanwalla" made me melt faster than an ice cream on a stove!

Soon the shock subsided and now all I am filled with is embarrassment and often grumble about it. I have absolutely no clue what happened back there or why he refused to sell it to me. Unlike me, my husband thought it was pretty funny and although am little sour to laugh along with him right now, I hope in days to come I can.

After all, these awkward moments are what adds a slice of humor to our lives and sometimes all we can do is laugh at ourselves. Of course, that doesn't mean I have forgiven that madman! Will keep you guys posted if I get my revenge!

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