The unknown salesman

After a long week, I was very excited about the weekend and the ensuing parties. It was Friday evening and as I was about to take off from office in my bike, my husband prompted me to get some hot snacks to complement the chilly evening. I was equally drooling over the idea and headed to our favourite eatery! Gosh! The sordid affairs of my city traffic! I deviated from the usual route and took the secondary long route to my home, missing our favourite snack shop. Nevertheless, I came across an equally good restaurant and stopped-by to take home our favourite ragada patties, samosa chaat and bhelpuri. The place was crowded and people swarmed around to satiate their taste buds.

As I stood in the long queue to get my order, I noticed an elderly man, who might be around 70 years old, intelligently stop a few people exiting the restaurant and trying to sell something. He appeared weak, was dressed up neatly, but his perfect clothing couldn’t hide his desperation. Over the next 15 minutes, he stopped a person every 2-3 minutes, briefed enthusiastically about the variety of products, showing the same from his bag. Like an unsaid rule, every person would listen to him fully, give all hopes of buying, but in the end, shake head in disagreement and move away.

I already started to feel guilty about his plight (as if I was responsible) and even more uncomfortable after looking at my hot take-away bag that was just handed over to me. I was walking towards my bike to continue my trip. But my uneasiness only grew stronger with every step i took away from him. I turned and walked up to him and asked what he sold. He was selling some kitchen staples like Turmeric powder, chilli powder etc. I didn’t have time to listen to his sales pitch (I had anyway decided to buy despite the fact that my kitchen was fully stocked). I wondered why none bought anything from him. It demands determination to not beg nor give-up, but fight for livelihood even at this age. After buying three packets, I just had to pay 60 bucks for the purchase. As I was about to leave, he looked at the 60 bucks and said “Idhunala inniki engalku sapadu kedaikum, Thanks” (Means – “Because of this money, we can get our dinner today , Thank you”)

I couldn’t believe the filmy dialogue, but I was touched. After all, it was reality! I rode back home with a single tear waiting at the corner of my eyes! For a change, I reached home without any regrets of the traffic and the detour. I felt privileged to make even a tiny bit of positive difference in someone else’s life.

Lesson learnt – When you are privileged, keep a check if people around you are also satisfied!

“Loka samastha sukino bavanthu”


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