You have been reading the papers too. In the hurry of the morning minute. Somethings register. Many things dont. But today you are in the market. The missus has brought you here. By force. It doesnt take long for you to realise whats been lurking in the dark corridors of the mind.
That you are far removed from the reality of the real world.
You wonder if you are part of the burgeoning numbers of escapists. Not for long. For you know. Educated. Desk worker. Working out of cubicles cleaned by contracted organisations to the sound of noiseless air conditioners.
Lost in a mirage filled canopy of busy ness. In perpetual quest of aggrandisement of self-importance. All under the garb of work !! Attending meetings, making presentations, sending mail, seeking approvals and giving feedback ! ofcourse, all over many cups of tea.
Today, you hear the missus bargain with the vegetable vendor. In marathi. For obvious reasons, you feel safe in her company. You hold the bag. She bargains. Brinjal. Cauliflower. Onions. You hear the prices. And baulk.
You remember reading in the papers about inflation and such else. But arent quite prepared for this.
You remember going to the market as a young boy. Shopping for the family. At these prices, you think you could have bought out every chap out there. You are still reeling from the surprise. Of the prices.
And, you realise, what irks you more is how distant you are from the masses.You follow the missus. Shop after shop. Carrying that bag. Wondering, how people make a living at these prices.
The security gaurd who perhaps would make as much as your monthly grocery bill. The chap who cleans the car who perhaps would make half of that. The maid who mops the floor. The shop boy who fetches the product. You wonder.
The weight of the bag of vegetables isnt as heavy as the thoughts that run past you. You wince.
That night, long after your trip to the market, you are in bed. A book in hand. Reading lamp on. The book that usually sets some thoughts afire is miles away from a strand of a spark. Restless thoughts still roam the market that you went to.
You realise how fortunate and cocooned you are. You make resolutions about sharing. About awareness. About staying light. You feel better. Slightly.
The missus senses something amiss. You sense she has sensed something too. The air stays quiet. Interrupted by honks and wailing sirens faded by the distance. This city isnt called maximum city for nothing. Making a living despite all odds is what gets you by.
She clears her throat. And says, ‘you know in some time we can apply for a new loan’. You sit up. Half in trepidation. For you dont know where this is headed. ‘I have the collaterals ready’.
Your ears perk up. Like a deer who hears the rustle of dead leaves as the cheetah gallops towards it. “In some time the collateral will have enough value to make the bank chap sit up” …..
In the silence. You sit up. Half a tremor seeps through as you mutter ‘and what is that’
‘Two bags of cauliflowers. At current prices….’. Her voice trails.
You smile. Close the book. Say your prayer to the lord up there. And thank him for his large mercies.