I shouldn’t be surprised by now, when something out of the ordinary happens to me. But then again, a renewed sense of wonder is not a bad thing at all.
A few months ago, mum and I were at our neighbourhood tailor. We had some clothes that needed adjusting: a seam needed taking in, some buttonholes needed to be made, and so on. I happened to be chewing on a bit of candy, Pulse, at the time. I love Pulse candy, especially the raw mango one with the spicy powder centre. [Here is the craptastic page on the company site with a better description.]
In our family, there is a tradition: one never eats alone. So, as per tradition, I offered the tailor and the two other people in his kiosk a piece of candy each. To my mild surprise, they accepted. [Generally, orthodox Muslims do not accept food or drink from Hindus. I guess they weren’t that orthodox. Also, rarely does someone from the service stratum accept food from me. I am not being classist. Just an observation. Never stopped me from offering at any rate.]
Anyway, this evening mum and I had some more work at the tailor’s. We handed over the top, and he asked us to pass by again in 15 minutes to collect it. Sure thing, and we sauntered off.
On our return, I ask him for the top. He then silently hands the bag to me. As my mum is checking it out, I ask him how much I owed him. After paying him, I was putting my wallet into my bag. And he says:
Tailor: “Madam, you don’t carry chocolate around with you any more? That day you had some with you. It was really very nice!”
I was so surprised at this, because even though I have been friendly with the dude, he has rarely responded in kind. I wouldn’t say he was surly, just uncommunicative.
So this salvo was entirely out of the left field. I blinked in surprise, and laughed a little. My mum was also very amused, and she suggested I get the sweets from a neighbouring kiosk. I trotted off and bought a few for him.
I came back, and poured 10 candies into his hands, and he laughed saying he didn’t want so many. I took one, and told him to keep the rest. It was a pleasant, light-hearted moment, and it made me feel really good.
As we walked away, my mum started chuckling. When I asked her why, she said that he was surprised that the sweets were available here in India. He had thought they were ‘imported’.
Another nut, who despite seeing me practically every few weeks, thinks I am from abroad. And I speak to him in HINDI!