Humor: Mumbai Retail Of The Sleepy Kind!



What happened was unbelievable for me—living in Mumbai for years. A sense of business or a drive for business is always palpable almost everywhere in this mega city that never goes to sleep—from the slum hutments to the luxurious high-rise enclaves. One has to be business minded here not only to survive, but also to earn the extra bucks to survive better or to amass millions to figure among the dirty rich. The business atmosphere is so friendly that at your local market you can shop even without having money in the pocket. The seller or vendor just fills your bag with the stock response ‘You won’t run away, would you!’ Therefore, what happened was just beyond me.

Today being Maha Shivratri apart from being a Sunday too, my wife had a sudden requirement for few things around 4.30 pm. I decided to visit the nearby society grocery store to save time. The residential credit society had a tough time finding a suitable business partner to run the store for them, and finally they found a business family who agreed to the terms and conditions. The society also agreed allowing them to live, eat and sleep in the store apart from doing business. Such an arrangement proved to be beneficial to the residents as the store remained open for long hours.

I found a kid guarding the shop and when I asked him to weigh the required things displayed outside he only smiled—maybe with a sense of helplessness, but I was sure about some amount of mischief too in that smile. I gathered that the elders were sleeping and the kid was not authorized to sell. As I tried to enter the store I found one of the elders sprawled up in the main doorway sleeping blissfully. Refusing to accept the situation I hollered over him to accomplish my ‘business’. He squeezed open his eyes and muttered without getting up, ‘All are sleeping, no business now please!’

‘Then why don’t you down your shutters?’ I demanded.

He ignored his ‘customer’ and just rolled over on his sides enjoying the bliss. I seethed out ‘Sweet dreams!’ and walked all the way to the main market area.

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