Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Thatha from Mylapore Part - III

"Paypaaaree , boootiyaareeeee"

"Paypaaaree , boootiyaareeeee"

The loud noise woke up our thatha. It was the Old Newspaper ,Old bottle collector screaming at the top of his voice.

"Hey paper walla", shouted thatha. The newspaper daily Dinamalar had accumulated over the last few months and thatha wanted to cash it in.

"Yes, sir. Coming over..." replied the scrap paper salesman.

"How much do you pay for a kilo of Dinamalar (the local news daily)" asked thatha.

"Sir, 3.5 rupees" he replied.

"What? How come the inflation never affects the rates of the old newspapers. All the pricesseem to increase but you people never pay more than a meagre amount for old newspapers. I will let it go at 5 rupees a kilo and nothing less" said thatha firmly.

" has been bad these days. Let us agree to 4 rupees a kilo. Please donot bargainfor the one or two rupee profit I get sir. I am but a poor man" he replied

At this point thatha had to let go as he could not haggle with the poor man who was all tired from screaming at the top of his voice just to pick old newspapers.

"Sir, please check the weights" he said as he started to weigh the newspapers.

Thatha was well aware of all the tricks that these guys pulled such as having an improper weightand pressing one hand on the handle bar to push the weights to one side and the best trick of all wasto use an already weighed paper to weigh more papers and that way you keep gaining incrementallythe more the newspapers. He was not going to be fooled by this man.

Thatha bought a kilo of potatos he had just bought and ensured that the weights were indeed as they specify and he carefully overlooked the entire procedure. Finally he was convinced that the lot he hadweighed 10 kilos. The man paid thatha 40 rupees and left.

Thatha was just finished with the newspaper seller when he heard the neighborhood boy Gopalcome in.

Gopal was a tall bespectacled boy. Face full of freckles from adolescence. Wavy hair.

He had promised that he would help to teach the thatha how to use the computer to check emails.

"Dey Gopal, " shouted thatha, " when are you coming over to teach me about checking emails da. "

"Coming thatha. Let me first change and have my snacks" he retorted.

Thatha then switched on the computer and waited for the flower he drew to come up. But instead, he got some other screen. He was worried and tried to open the same paint brush software he had used thinking that it may be stored there. After half an hour of futile attempts thatha was quite annoyed and started to curse modern inventions just as Gopal came in.

-- to be contd.