7PM. It had just stopped raining and I was driving towards the Vegetable shop with my mom. Just as I dropped her off in front of the shop, I drove off to look for a parking spot. Unusually, there was hardly any place to park my car, so, I stopped by a spot which was occupied by two (Cycle) Rickshaws parked next to each other. While still in the car, I called out to the Rickshaw driver,
(The conversation was partly in Hindi and partly in my pathetic Bengali, but for the sake of respect for Bengali, I’ll use English)
‘Dada (Bengali for Elder Brother), Can you please move your rickshaws a bit so that I can park my car here…’
The young rickshaw driver resisted and called the older rickshaw driver, who was even more stubborn, to convince me to drive away. But, as the younger guy got a customer, he cycled away on his rickshaw, which gave me enough space to park my car. It took me about 5 minutes to reach the shop, from the time I had dropped off my mom there. By the time I reached the shop, my mom had already purchased the vegetables. As she moved towards the Fruit shop, I stood there in front of the fruit shop with the vegetable packets.
About a minute later, I see a man, in his fifties, walking through the mud pool which was in front of the shop. He stopped by the carton which had Litchis in it and picked up around 5 of them. He looked around and found that I was looking at him. He removed the skin of one of the litchis, those that he had picked up, and started eating it while walking towards the shop. With his casual attitude and walk, one would say that he part-owned that shop. My mom stood in front of the fruit shop with a lady standing close to her. The fruit seller was engaged in calculating the amount of money that my mom was supposed to pay for those fruits. The old guy stopped when he was just behind my mom. I looked away to keep a check on my car, which was parked some distance away. When I looked back, towards my mom, she was handing over the cash to the fruit seller. The old guy, as he ate the last litchi he had picked up, walked back towards the litchi carton and picked up 3 more, keeping 2 of them in his pocket. He looked up, and saw me looking at him again. Still confident, he simply walked away in the opposite direction as he ate the last litchi.
As I walked back towards our car, with my mom, I pointed towards the Cycle Rickshaw which was still parked behind my car.
‘Mom, The driver of that rickshaw just came to the fruit shop and took away more than a hundred grams of Litchi without paying for them..!’
and you thought that every person pays for what they consume??
Poverty, as seen above, is one of the main reasons of corruption at the grass root level.
( 1kg litchi = 100 Rupees (as of now) = 35 Litchis. You can do the rest of the Maths.)
Featured Images – Rickshaw
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— Prakhar (@genobz) June 22, 2011
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