A very funny experience,
Written By: Bhavana Lalwani
Those days papa was posted at Jaisalmer Air Force station and after completion of my graduation final year exams in the first week of may, my father brought us (me and my mom) to Jaisalmer. Jaisalmer. As people think about Jaisalmer, is a huge attraction for tourists, because of its Desert and lofty sand dunes. Therefore, I was also excited about my holidays in the Golden City of Rajasthan. However, if one has to stay in this city for some time, say for 2-3 years, then it is a very boring place. A sleeping town that wake up only with the noise of military trucks and with the rush of foreigners, who usually come after august. There were no cinema halls, no gardens, no good restaurants and the markets were not much attractive for my kind of shopping lovers. Obviously, life was very dull and boring
The one example I can mention here about its dullness is my Rasmalai treat. At 8:15pm on a June evening I asked for a ice cream in one of the popular restaurant of city called “Bikaner House” and the waiter said, “sorry no ice creams, its dinner time”. He told me that all I can have this time as dessert is Rasmalai. Later on I came to know that you can’t find ice creams, pizza or any other CONTINENTAL dish after 7pm in evening, until the tourist season don’t get started up. As if, the locals are not that much importance.
With this fine welcome in the city, one morning I was watching television as usual and getting bore, mom was washing cloths in washing machine and papa was in office. May be something clicked in mom’s mind and she called me, “Monu, come here.”
“Yessss mamma.. What…?”
”Listen I want you to go to the shopping complex and purchase few things.”
“What things? “
Get the list from the bedside.”
I found the list on the bedside and started reading, okkk..some grocery items, a couple of dairy products and a few other households, total 15 items were in the list.
“ but why did not you ask papa to buy them I have never purchased items like basmati rice, butter oil and what’s that”, I asked while reading the list…”kalounji, jaavitri…?”
“Your father has a busy day today, therefore he almost forget to carry the list and I am busy here as you can see. I need these items urgently as we have some guests for dinner. So go and purchase them. Don’t worry, it would be an experience for you to get the knowledge of such kind of shopping”.
I thought it is a better option rather then watching television. This way I can get some ice cream and chocolates for me in this hot summer. I took the shopping bag and mom’s purse and was about to step out of the house, suddenly mom called me from inside and I turned back.
“Monu read the list once again; I think I am forgetting something.”
I read the list and tried to name a few things that could be added, but she said no to them and then came the bouncer.
“A broom, don’t forget to purchase a broom”.
“WHATTT….BROOM….A BROOM”. I repeated my words. “Yes, she replied, why are you so surprised or reacting like this?”
“I can’t purchase a broom. Is it a thing to purchase !!!!!..moreover how funny I will look carrying a broom with me all the way from shopping complex to home? No, I will not purchase broom”.
“Why not, broom is a necessary and useful domestic item, can you imagine a house without a broom, and then what is so bad about purchasing a broom?” All her arguments were unbeatable.
“But I have never purchased a broom before and I do not know anything about a broom” I tried to escape.
“So what, this way you will learn how to shop a good useful broom”.
“Ok”, as if broom is such an important object, I thought and surrendered. Besides a thought came in to my mind, it is almost 11:30 am, ladies are busy with their household work, men are in their offices, kids are in school – colleges, that means roads would be empty, who will notice me ? So finally, I started for shopping complex.
Shopping complex was a small market kind of place; it was at some 15-20 minutes walking distance from my house. There were a couple of grocery shops, a vegetable shop, a dairy, a bakery and a couple of such shops.
I reached there in 15 minutes, I did not meet a single person all the way to the shopping complex and at complex, and there were only a couple of women roaming from one shop to another. Obviously, this scenario relaxed me and I purchased all listed items including broom, had an ice cream and bought a five star and two kitkats. Now I was ready to go back home. However, carrying the broom was a problem, some how I adjusted it in the shopping bag, now the down side was in the bag and the upper side could be seen out of the bag so it was some what looking like, I am participating in a woman rally and carrying the “Symbol of Protest” kind of thing. However, I sympathize myself that no one will notice, I will walk fast and within ten minutes I will be in home.
I started walking speedily towards home but I found the shopping bag was a bit heavy for me so I thought ohh, who have time to look for my jhaadoo, so let’s walk easily.
Now the story began…as I first crossed the MES (Military Engineer Service) office building where my father worked. As most people working there, knew me by name or by face so I took a speedy run and luckily nobody was out side the building to see my shopping adventure.
After the MES building, there was another official building, and I saw a man in uniform standing by his bike.
“What he is doing out there, why don’t he goes inside?” I asked my self. As I was getting closer to him, I transferred the shopping bag from left hand to right hand, so at least he could not notice the broom easily. However, that try went in vain because when I passed from his side I noticed that he was keep looking to the bag in my right hand. (“Ok, smarty you can laugh but one day when your wife will send you to buy a broom then you too will be a centre point of public attraction”. I thought in my mind)
But that was just a start up of the whole exercise. I hardly walked a couple of steps then I heard some noise of a vehicle, I turned my face to see. It was a Scooty driven by a girl, that time bag was in right hand, the moment she passed by me, she gave me a funny smile while looking at the broom. Need not to explain that it raised my anger (“ok, now don’t pretend as if you have never used a broom in your house”). But I was helpless. She did not go much far when I heard another voice of a vehicle and this time it was a Gypsy.
“God!!! what all these people are doing on road at this time, when I am carrying this stupid broom?” Obviously, the gypsy passenger too noticed when they crossed me and came in front of me. (“What’s the big deal guys, aren’t you ever saw a lady with a broom”). Anyway, somehow I sympathize myself that now I am close to my home. Because the turn from where my colony would start had came. Now confusion entered in my mind, should I take this turn or escape? My house was at the end of the colony, so if I escape this one and take the last turn then I would be at home in few seconds. But for that I have to walk through the road and until that time it wasn’t proven a good idea. I applied my logic of women inside the house and children in schools and took the turn; I did not want more embarrassment.
Before starting walk to my house, I took a sharp glance of the colony, it was calm, and no one was outside of his/her house, the whole path was clean. I felt relaxed and started moving fast to my house. But I wasn’t aware that many people were eagerly waiting for me.
I was surprised, who is this!! I turned my face to see…ok that is Suman, my friend in colony, but she is supposed to be in collage at this time. Anyway, I tried to smile and replied, “Hi, what are you doing at home, you should be at college? “
“No I escaped it today?”
“Awe, why you did it today why not postponed it for tomorrow?”
“So, what’s this in your hand?”
“Aumm …Nothing just went for some house hold shopping…”
“…ohkk..and you shopped a broom too…” you seem good in such household shopping…” she gave me a teasing smile. Me too smiled and tried to cover my embarrassment, “actually I used to purchase household items and sometimes that include a broom too, you know it is not easy to buy a good broom you need experience to choose a right one” I spoke with an emphasis on the word ‘Right’.
“Oh I see, is it”? Suman was still smiling as if she caught my lie but without expressing it from her voice and facial expressions.
“but I never saw you doing any household shopping”, she asked, without changing the tone of her voice.
“Grrrrr…look at this girl, how simple and sweet, she pretends herself”, I thought but replied with a smile “may be you never noticed, I…I used to go for such shoppings, Ok bye, see you in evening.” With these words I started moving fast towards home. I hardly had taken a few steps when I heard another voice, “hey Monu didi wait”…
Now who is this, I turned my neck in the direction of voice…”ohh that is Shikha..What she wants?” Shikha ran towards me and asked, “Why are you carrying this broom?”
“I went for some purchasing and I bought this broom too”.
But she did not seem satisfied with my short answer, so she asked again,” really!!! From where you bought it?”
Awwwww why she is stretching the conversation, once again I thought in my mind. While she continued her question, “so, do you often purchase brooms and such things?”
“Yes I do, it is my hobby, do you have any problem” I wanted to shout but some how I swallowed my words and tried to smile,” Shikha I am getting late ..Catch you in evening, bye”. By saying these words, I almost ran to my home.
“Be careful didi, your broom is falling out of the bag”. She shouted form behind.
“Who cares”, I wanted to say.
As I opened the gate of my home, I felt relaxed and took a sigh of relief, as if I have climbed Mount Everest. I was about to enter inside the gate. When my curious neighbor Mrs. Rathi suddenly appeared at the boundary wall…” oh god I had enough for the day now please spare me” I prayed, when I saw her.
“Monu, where did you go in this hot afternoon, and what is this in your hand?”
“I went for some household purchasing”.
“So you are learning domestic work, is it …Hummm… Good”. “By-the-way, how much you paid for the broom? may I see this? It looks very thin, I guess, you haven’t bought a good one”.
So many questions and statements at a time, only she can do this, between, what is good and bad about a broom, all brooms are same. However, I did not want to stand there for more, so I smiled at her and replied in a polite way, “aunty, mummy is waiting, I will show you the broom later on, bye.”
I ran into the house, and put the shopping bag along with broom on the table with a bang. I was about to shout that I will never shop a broom again, but before I said so, mom came from inside with a broom in her hands. She looked at me with a mysterious smile and said,
“Look Monu what I found in storeroom. We do not need a new broom, because I bought a new one a couple of weeks ago and then I forgot about it. I found this when you left home for shopping.”
“So you don’t need this one which I have brought????” I was still confused and unable to understand!!! “You don’t need this broom which I carried whole way as if I am a cartoon???!!!!!”
“Don’t worry we can use it later, when this one, (directing towards the broom in her hand), would be broken.” With saying these words, she went into the kitchen, leaving me with the broom; irritated, angry and confused. I was still thinking and waiting for some one to explain me the whole thing.