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!