Inspiration in a basket !

This woman is called Petchi. She sells vegetables, fruits and other flavours of nature to my mom at Madurai. She must be on the wrong side of 60. That’s my guess.

For the last 15 odd years or so, I have seen her bring her wares on the basket that she bears on her head. (The basket that she carries on her head, just sticks to her head when she walks.) It must easily weigh 5 – 10 kgs and hopefully, it would be empty by the time she completes her sale at the end of the day.

There was a time, when she used to be accompanied by her daughter in law or daughter. I don’t recall clearly. But these days, she is just alone. She will argue and squabble over the 2 or 3 rupees, and would meet her match in my mother ! They would argue, knowing fully well, that the sale was over, and it would be of no consequence whichever way it went.

I have noticed her selling skills. Extremely persuasive and a never say give up attitude. Some times the stuff that she has sold turned out to be plain rotten. At other times, they were divine treats. But then, she is there, the next day to sell some more !

What I like most about this woman is her spirit. Let me pose this question to you. When we are close to seventy, how many of us would have it in us to

1. Go to a wholesale market,

2. Pick up the choicest fruits and vegetables,

3. Catch a bus,

4. Travel across the city by road

5. Go house to house by foot

6. Shout out and sell

7. And fight for every rupee !

And more importantly, do this routine daily ! ! Whew ! (By the way, the climate in Madurai is not exactly the likes of the Bay area !)

Her face is wrinkled. Perhaps each wrinkle has a story to tell. For some strange reason the spirit in her wallops the wrinkle.

What drives her, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s the strong need for independence. Perhaps it is plain need for survival. Or perhaps the need to prove a point.

Or, perhaps, more simply to connect to people like my mom, who have a conversation about various things in life! This time around she was talking about her son who had a ‘love marriage’ with a girl of a different community!

This time around, I sat in a distance, listening to the conversation. She seemed to be worldly wise and knew a whole lot of things.

Am not sure, though, if she knew how much of an inspiration she is to people like me!

10 thoughts on “Inspiration in a basket !

  1. indianangel says:

    Excellent post kavi! your posts are day by day focusing on the societal notes. cool I guess u are allset to become a reporter! 🙂

  2. Kavi,

    We had few vendors like that visiting our house. My mom used to do the same and give them a glass of butter milk at the end. One lady used to bring two baskets full of vegetables, and stock one in our house and take the other one for sale. After finishing the first one, she used to come back to take the second one. I remember taking pictures of the old paper buyer, an old man who used to come home cycling 15 miles, on receiving our postcard to come and collect the newspapers. I have thought the same with him. Quite interesting to read your post.

  3. Swatantra says:

    Amazingly written!! It is full of inspiration!!

    I feel sad when we always talk about the great people from the upper part of society, there are so many great people like Petchi who struggle a lot ( still feel happy)only for the survival and to fulfill the basic needs!!

    Many regards to Petchi!!

  4. shruti says:

    lovly post,
    i think the need of survival makes us so strong that we are able to handle any situation..
    may be its the only means of her survival…
    but the best thing is that she has acceoted it and fighting with her life at that very age…
    may god bless her…

  5. priya says:

    You remind my vegetable lady at CBE. She have so much positive energy and keep going coz they need to survive.

  6. shark says:

    Nice post 🙂

    I think it’s the survival that drives them. We have had vendors like this too.

    They do everything they can do bring up their children. And just when the children are “supposed” to take care of them, daughter-in-law comes and lo! they are left to fend for themselves 🙁 Sometimes it is very sad to listen to their stories.

  7. Honestly Kavi, With the pace we are living our lives we have very little time for inspiration! Petchi & many more around us can be inspirations if only we have the inclination!

    Lovely post as usual & seems like you had a great Diwali!First one after marriage is it?


  8. V N says:

    What a awesome post, Kavi!!
    Truly inspirational and positive, I would say this is easily one of the best posts on ru blog that I have come across till now!

    Way to go!

  9. Kavi says:

    Balaji : I have understood that such ispirers are universally present ! We need to seek out to find the value in them.

    Prasann : Thanks ! At one time, i wanted to become a journalist in life ( Class three or four). Arun Shourie was my favourite idol ! But i guess i havent thought about it for a long time ! Your comment made me go back !!!!

    Swatantra : If you say its inspiring, well, i take a bow ! For you are the ultimate inspirer !

    Shruti : Well, said ! Yup, her head shakes with the weight. But then, the mind hasnt given up !

    Pria : Honestly, i think its more than the need to survive. Survival is bare minimal, which women like her can accomplish easily. Its more than that. Thats my guess, but i think i feel i am right too !!

    Shark: Yes, it can be tragic at times. But then, so is the inspirational side of them rising above all tragedies !

    Rashmi: Thanks ! And you are bang on ! They can inspire only if we are inclined. Many of us dont see them that way ! And no, i am well into marriage for a first Diwali ! Even though, i wouldnt mind reliving the experience of the first Diwali after marriage !

    Velu: Thanks for the appreciation ! I am just going with the flow !

  10. Jeevan says:

    Nice post kavi, even in my flat also a women comes with the a basket in his head by shouting the fruits name. much of the time i saw they return to there house with basket full of fruits, because many avoid buying form them thinking that’s will be good.

    your last post on Madhurai was super, nice pic:)

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