In the middle of Diwali mania and the hustle bustle of the shoppers in the shopping arcade one needs either a might of Muhammad Ali or serenity of Buddha to stay sane. I too wasn’t an exception. I was desperately looking out for a quiet place, a moment of silence; my time. Ronald Reagan too would agree with me. To quote him, “A people free to choose will always choose peace.”
Honking of BMWs to show their prowess to the auto rickshaws, haggling with the shopkeepers, stern looks given by the wives to their husbands who seemed busy talking on their cell phones without lending their moral support to their wives to win the parley with the shop vendor and children trying to be play their best role of being extra obedient to their parents to buy them crackers, made the whole canvas of the ‘Diwali Bonanza’ very colorful.
In this whole chaos my eyes went to this old lady wearing a green color nine yard saree, sitting quietly on the pavement, unperturbed, selling rangoli packets, stickers along with other paraphernalia. A simple rustic with absolute no means either to market her goods as loud as others or to get into quarrel with the customers displayed extreme amount of tranquility.
Though buying the rangoli was on the list, but with an earnest desire and curiosity to know more, I went to her. She was already surrounded with too many people to handle. Hence I stood back patiently to wait for others to finish. Selling each packet for Rs.5 each and stencils for Rs. 15 each, her dedication and involvement in every customer seemed nothing short of an antic dealer selling antics prized few millions.
The customers too, as if to test her commitment in her trade, made her demonstrate every stencil they purchased; and only after their ‘satisfaction’, obliged her. Can’t blame them… Getting a test drive before buying the vehicle has kind of got into our buying habits!
Soon as the hovering crowd dispersed after conducting their respective ‘test rangoli stencils drive’ I came forward to meet this lady.
She welcomed me with a warm smile. The whole stress of the shopping, traffic, commotion and noise of few stray crackers which some of the impatient children had already begun to burst was wiped off. I was amazed to see how she could maintain the same smile and warmth in the middle of this pandemonium and after every irritating customer.
Before I could get answer to my question, she asked me very politely, “What I wanted to buy?” Listing out my order she got busy packing them. In the meanwhile, I inquired about her Diwali sales. She said, “It’s good… I am happy this year people are buying more colors than stickers.” Just to know more, I asked, why that made her happy. She replied, “Decorating rangoli with colors makes one more creative and diligent. It destroys the sense of attachment and possession. As one knows it’s not permanent.”
I was startled hearing that reply. I was lost in the depth of her statement. Taking back the balance money from her made me come back to my senses. Before leaving, I had to ask her the reason or the secret of her calmness. She said, “The building behind me will be demolished and constructed into a shopping mall. Probably next year I won’t be sitting here anymore.” “Is that bothering you Mai?”, I questioned. “No… Not at all. I will continue to sell elsewhere. How can I be angry and upset? I am thankful to this place, which has given me everything. Hence I am enjoying every moment of the time I am spending here, as it would be my last Diwali.”
©Copyright2015-2017. ameya pejawar. All rights reserved.