Chronicles of PA#1
This is were PA turns into a 50′s style housewife.
And sings Raag Bhayankar.
PA needs to go and buy vegetables from the bhaaji market. Something that she has never done before. She has been to the bhaaji market a couple of times before, albeit hardly ever alone. It’s usually with Mom. But she is petrified of going alone. But she has to. What needs to be done, needs to be done. She also needs to run other errands and accomplish other gharelu tasks which albeit need to be accomplished outside the house, like getting milk, going to the temple and giving daan/donation, etc.
PA being PA needs a chronological order in which she needs to do all this. Some sort of a flowchart would rather be preferable, she thinks. However Mom refuses to fulfill this wish of hers, instead offers her a chronological order which PA needs to mentally make a note of, so insists the mother.
The mother also gives PA important pointers which will help her in doing the task at hand efficiently.
Instructions given to PA:
1. Take a wallet which has the required cash handy in it. Keep chutta/chillar/loose cash/coins separately. (Tips from PA – Yes, PA also gives tips – Chillar plays an important part if you intend to play the household types, the 50′s style)
2. Carry wallet, shopping bag (as plastic bags of the flimsy kinds are banned) and some other food items in a separate bag which need to be donated at the temple.
3. Once outside the house – Go to ABC bania shop and buy x number of y packets of biscuits. How much would each cost, PA asks just so that she knows where she is heading in life err… in her mission. Well, PA needs to know the cost implications beforehand, nah? Anyways, z is the amount that she needs to pay the bania for the said number of biscuit packets. Good, PA thinks, now she won’t have to do mathematical calculations in front of the bania else she might forget the other gharelu-shopping instructions.
4. Place the packets of biscuits in the bag containing the other food items which need to be donated.
5. Go to the temple and give the donation wala bag – basically anna daan to any needy person or beggar sitting outside the temple. Important pointer by Mom – Make sure you give this donation to a needy person outside the temple and NOT to any visitor who is visiting the temple for darshan and certainly not to any passer-by. Knowing PA’s lost-mindedness, this is indeed a very important and crucial point. Imagine what would happen if you give daan to any random person??? Also another important point, make sure that you don’t stand there for long as other beggars would mob you and take care of your wallet and mobile at this time. Beggars would mob PA?!!! Kya din aa gaye hain!
6. Once done with Step 5, walk a few steps ahead of the temple, you will notice a nariyal-wala… err coconut wala. Next to it would be OUR bhaajiwala – the baajiwala that we usually buy fresh vegetables from and next to it would be the fruitwala. PA tries to ratofy, so our bhaajiwala is basically between the nariyal-wala and the fruit-wala. Repeat thrice. Done.
7. Go to OUR bhaajiwala and tell him to give you 1 Kilo of Tomatoes, Half Kilo Dhoodhi and Pao Kilo Bhindi. Tell him you are xyz Aunty’s daughter and he will recollect, so says the mom. You can then choose the required vegetables from the lot yourself or tell the bhaajiwala to do the needful in case you are confused. PA anyways prefers the later. Tell him to keep the stuff ready while you do the rest of the shopping. Haan, we are anyways his regular customer. Itna toh karna hee chahiye, nah? And tell him to sort the tomatoes, dhoodhi and bhindi of the kinds that xyz aunty usually buys.
Question time for PA: Whats Dhoodhi? Whats Pao? She gets a demonstration for Dhoodhi. Now whats Pao?! 250gms, my lovelies Now ratofication time: Tomatoes, Dhoodhi, Bhindi – One, Half, Pao… that’s the order. Important pointer by Mom – Make sure that you call ‘dhoodhi’ a ‘dhoodhi’ only in front of the bhaajiwala, he wouldn’t understand otherwise. Don’t call it by the various other names or nick names that you have bestowed on it. Pointed to be noted, mere aakaa. PA also makes a mental note of the approximate amount that she would need to pay the bhaajiwala depending on the current market price of the said vegetables.
8. Once you’ve placed the order with the Bhaajiwala and instructed him to do the needful, its then time to buy Potatoes from the potatao-wala. Now where the hell is the potato wala??? PA wonders aloud. Behind the Fruit-wala. Oh ya, refer step6. Behind the fruitwala is MNO shop… Alright I need to buy Potatoes from MNO shop, PA interrupts. Noooooooooooo, says Mom… MNO is a salon!!! The Potato wala is behind the fruitwala and infront of this MNO shop. Okay, don’t go in to this MNO salon asking for potatoes, PA tells herself.
How much do I need to pay the potato wala, PA asks.
Rs. X, says Mom.
Rs. X per potato?
Noooooooooooo, Rs. X for the one kilo of potatoes, NOT PER POTATO. Else people around the city would be eating vada-pavs for a 100!!!!
9. Once you go to the potato-wala, you will see two varieties of potatoes. Here manual sorting is required. Choose potatoes from the better of the two qualities, the one which is slightly more expensive than the other. Well, how do I do the manual sorting, so asks PA. How may potatoes do I need to choose via this manual sorting, asks PA. One kilo. How much will be one kilo potato? You’ll know by andaaza. Err… what is andaaza… you tell me by quantity. Approximately n number of potatoes. Good I can never get this andaaza thingy ever!!!
Here there is a three step process in choosing the right potato: 1. It shouldn’t be too soft else it will go bad easily and soon. 2. It shouldn’t have too many holes in it. 3. It shouldn’t have green patches in it else it will be too kacca. Rehearsed -1,2,3… done. Sort and put these potatoes in a tokri and get 1 Kg of these. Okay.
Pay the potato-wala. Get these potatoes in the shopping bag you that you have taken from home.
10. Once done with the potatoes, come back to the bhaajiwala and collect the vegetables that you has told him to keep ready. Make sure that you tell him to put extra masala. Err… masala? Whats that? Free dhaniya, ginger, mirchi etc. He knows ‘masala’. You don’t need to explain him that. Good.
11. Then go to DEF milk shop. If that is closed go to PQR milk shop. And get half a litre of milk for giving it in the temple tomorrow morning.
12. And then come back home.
And this is what eventually transpired when PA was out on her gharelu mission:
Step1: As instructed. Ekdum.
Step2: As instructed. Ekdum ekdum.
Step3: At the bania shop – PA sees a man taking a walk inside the shop. She wonders if he is a customer or is he The Bania. She thinks of the repercussions if she asks the man for biscuits and he turns out to be a customer. Aap owner… err dukandaar ho kya, PA asks just to be on the safer side. Yes, he says. Good. And buys the biscuits.
Step4: As instructed. Ekdum *multiply by* 4
Step5: PA was petrified of this Step. The word M.O.B was playing Raag Bhayankar in her mind. Also PA had to be extra careful and cautious that she doesn’t give the daan to a temple visitor or a passer-by. It had to be a needy person. PA had scenes cropping up in her mind of giving daan to a temple visitor and the embarrassing looks on either faces. What if the other person uttered some not so nice words. PA needs to be extraaaa careful. Very careful. She carefully scans the crowd outside the temple. Locates and urchin kid and hands him the entire bag of daan. And moves away swiftly before the other beggars and urchin locate her and pounce on her! Done with Step5 safely.
Step6: Locates OUR bhaajiwala and grins at herself.
Step7: PA walks up to the bhaaji wala, smiles at him (why did PA smile at him, even I wonder) and tells him – ek kilo tamatar, aadha kilo dhoodhi aur pao kilo bhindi in the tone of an expert. Bhaaji wala smiles back at her. Err too many smile exchanges. Why do I need to smile so much in the bhaaji market… Its after all just a bhaaji market. Need to keep a check on that. Aap yeh sab bhaaji nikal ke rakho… main xyx aunty ki beti hoon… unke regular tarah se pack kar ke rakho… tamatar ache aur lal, bhindi choti size ki aur dhoodhi ummmm…. errr…. acchi wali. Aaap yeh sab nikal ke rakho main paanch minute mein aati hoon. Done with Step7, finally!!!!
Step8 & 9: Located potato-wala. Thankfully didn’t go inside the salon and ask for potatoes! Thank God for that! At the potato wala, a lot of women in their 40′s were sorting and choosing potatoes. Err… why am I here? Anyways, PA tries to see if she can squeeze in somewhere, stand aaramse and sort+choose potatoes. Par aisa toh hota nahin hai, PA observes. So, she squeezes herself and stands between two 40-ish women who were totally engrossed with the sorting and choosing. PA looks at each one of them. They look back at her. Well by now they had guessed that PA was about to take baby steps in the art of potato sorting-choosing-buying. PA observed their procedure and along with the 3 pointers given by mom, did the sorting and choosing and kept the potatoes in the tokri. And hands over the tokri to the dukhandaar. Ek kilo, she says. Do kilo, he says. Nahin nahin mujhe ek kilo hee chahiye, PA says. Par aapne tokri mein do kilo daala hai, toh de doon kya? Nahin, PA says. Takes one kilo, pays him and does away with Step8
Quantity ‘n’ went for a toss as that depends on the potato size. Lesson1 of the day. A woman pushed PA with her bums at the potato wala and didn’t even say sorry. There is no time for sorries in the bhaaji market. Lesson2. Bhaaji market mein bhi koi sorry bolta hai kya!
Step10: Went back to the bhaaji wala and collected the vegetables. Told him to add masala. Dhaniya daala? Ginger daala? Hari mirch daala? Err…. baaki sab daal, PA asks. Yes he says and waves a green jhaadi at me. Yeh bhi daalon kya? Haan haan daal do. PA didn’t have any clue as to what that small green jhaadi was until she came home. It was the kari patta, by the way. I get confused with all these pattas!
I ask him how much only to realize that he has also accounted for the ‘masala’ instead of giving it free. PA should have asked for the free ‘masala’ AFTER doing the payment. Very important lesson of the day. The great indian housewife is someone who is able to extract these freebies from bhaajiwalas. Aha! Pleasures of doing grocery shopping in the bhaaji market. Something that you can never experience in the malls. A first for me… even though I failed at it miserably.
And blunder of blunders – I snap back at the bhaajiwala… OUR bhaajiwala and tell him in front of some 7-8 other customers of his that yeh masala toh aap hamesha bhaaji ke saath free dete ho! He grinned back sheepishly at me. He had no other choice. PA realized that thsi is actually an art… the art of vegetable buying and the art of getting the best deal as well as freebies. Never ever talk about best prices and freebies in front of other customers. Never ever. Thats harakiri. Good that the bhaajiwala didn’t murder me!
Step11: Thankfully milk is available at DEF milk shop else she would have had to walk down to the other one! Doodh hai? Aadha litre wala? (PA was about to aadha kilo dhoodh… thankfully she realized before the words could reach the shop-wala’s ears. Haan madam. Kaunsa chahiye? Koi bhi de do. He keeps 2-3 packets in front of me. All were of the same price so PA choses the one which was more fancier looking. Err… what else! Pays him, places the milk packet aaramse in the shopping bag and heads home.
Step12: PA reaches home safely.
Thus ends PA’s maiden gharelu maha-puraan.