Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid
In the age of 2G spectrum and Padmanabhaswamy temple treasure, Rs.10 indeed seems to be more insignificant than it normally does. I was negotiating a deal with an auto kaaran to go from Tiruvanmiyur to Besant Nagar. You have to do it to know how difficult it is!
If petrol increases by Rs.5 per litre, Chennai autos raise their fare to a place by Rs.20. I have lived in times when Rs.20 used to be the maximum charge from Tmyur to Besant Nr – a 2km stretch of road. Typical conversation in bargaining with a Chennai auto driver goes like this:
Besant Nagar vareengala?
Aan polaam ma. Ukkaru madam.
Nee sollu. Maamoola evlo kudupeenga ?
Normalaa 40 dhaan kudukaren….
40 kattupadi aagadhu ma…. 60 kudunga….
40 dhaanga normalaa kudukarom….
Petrol velai ellam eri pochu ma…. Naal fullaa otardhu petrol ke seriya irukku….
Petrol velai 3 rooba erinadhuku neenga 20 rooba ethinaa epdi nga….
Daily police kaaranukkum owner kum kuduthadhu poga enaku onnum minjardhu illa ma…. LB road lendhe naan 60 dhaan kekaren….
60 ellam illai nga…. Neenga kelambunga…. Naan bus la pioikaren….
Besant nagar la enga ponum ?
Beach varaikum poitu naan return empty yaa dhaan maa varanum…. Paathu potu kudu maa….
40 ku mela enna nga kudukardhu ingendhu besant nagar ku….. naanga inga irukaravanga dhaan…..
Unnoda periya rodhanaya pochu ma…. Seekram eru….. 50 kudu….
Illainga 40 dhaan…..
Enna ma 10 rooba ku ivolo yosikara….
50 ellam illainga….
Seeing that I am a girl, he used his last weapon.
Safety yaa kondu poi vitudaren…. 10 rooba paakaadhe maa…. 50 kudu…. Ukkaaru polaam….
Due to many factors like darkness creeping in, no other autoes in sight and sort of in a hurry to reach home, I thought 50 was a decent bargain and climbed in.
Both of us had a mental satisfaction of sorts; me having saved Rs.10 and the auto driver of having got an extra Rs.10. As the auto waded through traffic, he suddenly asked me “software company aa?” I said “aama”.
“edhuku nga 10 rooba ku ivlo argue panreenga? Ungalukku dhaan samblam adhigam varudhe.”
“vara samblathuku mela selavu irukku la”
“pathu rooba ku enna ma kedaikkum?”
“pathu rooba ku onnum kedakaadhu aana iniki naan 60 ku ok sonna neenga naalaiku 80 kepeenga. 40 ku mela aagadhu nu ungalukke theriyum.”
He murmured something after this and kept quiet. But I was thinking, really, what do we get for Rs.10 now a days? 10 boomers, OR one Cadbury DairyMilk or 5 Star (ity bity lil ones) OR one veg puff OR javvu mittaai OR a chota recharge pack from Vodafone OR travel to and from Besant Nagar to Parry’s on a normal White Board MTC bus OR one keethu of maangaai with molagai podi at Elliots Beach on it OR two coffees or teas (at road side stalls) OR one mozham malli poo (half arm length jasmine flowers) – on non-festive days.
Come to think of it, you could get a slice of cake for Rs.6 from Bangalore Iyengar’s Bakery, one candle from a pack of cheap birthday candles and a matchbox – enough to celebrate your birthday with!! All this in retail, think of the bargain you can strike wholesale!!
And, imagine what you can get for Rs.32. Ofcourse, you should be able to get food, education and healthcare in India for Rs.32 a day!! And that is urban, mind you. If you live rural, you could even stash the remaining in a savings account at SBI! They might help fund your children’s college education! After all, you ought to save for the rainy day! If you are not the save money kind, you could buy yourself some insurance under Kalaignar Kaapeettu Thittam! May be worth the investment.
Montek Ahluwahlia Singh is right!! How stupid I must be to bargain for Rs.10 with an autokaaran!!