In no particular hurry to get anywhere the mind didn’t need any effort to get enticed to alight and set afoot to do some picking. Strawberry picking !
It’s got some level of physical activity for all in the family. For the kids to run around. For the adults to run after the kids. For adults to become kids. And for kids to chase the new found adult kids. In between, of course, plucking and heaping up strawberries in small containers.
There were very few instructions to follow. This board illustrated all that was needed to be done. Which was as elaborate as : Come here : Go pick : Come back & Weigh : Pay up : Go !
Soon we were done. There was enough energy left in the nieces to pluck the entire strawberry. It was us adults, who were tired. And folks like me still calibrating the dollar-rupee equation and wondering how much we would have plucked for !
That brought me face to face with the ‘honour till’ as they call it. The concept is simple again. It goes like this.
a. You bring in the strawberries that you have plucked
b. You weigh them yourself
c. You calculate how much to pay
d. You open the till ( ‘cash box’, as is better known in our part of the world )
e. You pay the money
There is no ‘cashier’. In fact, no one from the store is around. There are no cameras. Nothing. The folks just trust you to weigh correctly and pay appropriately. Guess what, we lived up to their trust, in right earnest. Paying to the last dime. That perhaps is the model. Trust people to pay and they will ! That was interesting. To say the least.
Its about a month ago that we did all of this. The rain drenched Mumbai air provides a distinctly different flavor to the senses. Much different and much enjoyable too. Yet, dipping into memories of red berry dotted rows of green, is done with no difficulty.
The days when adults became kids and kids remained kids are not days that are forgettable. The expanse of nature and the fresh clean best complimented by an expanse in the trust of the ‘honour till’. The clean blue skies and the fresh stillness of farmland only to be punctuated by those shouts of joy from such adorable nieces.
Well, some memories are truly priceless.