Frust"Ration" Shop ...

After nearly 18 years I happen to visit the nearby ration shop to buy ration for this month, I will explain you the reason of why an "upper middle-class" family needs to go to a ration at the end of this post. I used to go to this place very regularly when I was in college, though 18 years have passed by, this ration shop has not changed even a bit. Still that evil billing guy is doing his duty of billing with the same intensity of evil. The building has not changed even a bit, with the addition of few more cracks on the wall. My experience of getting Rice, Palm oil and few grains turned out to be a cinematic experience...

I went there by 10:00 and with absolutely no experience in standing in a queue for a long time, I chose to stand a bit deviated from the main queue by excusing myself from those huge mass of ladies, I could see everyone standing in that ration shop looking me differently, later I realized that my Blackberry is the center of attraction there, so I kept it back into my holster and continued to give a blank stare on the floor, time crawled to 10:30 and I noticed that most of the people who were standing behind me have already gone ahead of me. I somehow managed to find a slot in the queue and by 11:15 I reached the billing spot. The same evil guy who used to threaten me 18 years back, still with the same ferocity barked at me "Enna venum sollu", I whispered "Rice 10KG, Palm oil, Thur Dhal and Keroscene".

He asked my ration card and the moment he saw the color of my ration card he threw that on my face screaming "Idhu adutha counter, kannu irruku la, number paarthu nikka maatta?", it took a while for me to get over that insult and I seriously don't know which queue to stand, as there were no signs or board which would indicate my queue, I yelled back at him "Endha counter la nikkanum nu enakku enna josiyamaa teriyum, enga yaa poturuka en queue idhu thaan nu ?", the fearing college boy is no more in me, this is a 31 year old "Performance Architect". I think he has not got back a furious reply from anyone for years, he stood up from his chari and closed all his bill book and went off, saying, he is not ready to bill anymore, as I have insulted him.

The entire gang standing behind me looked at me as if I did a big crime, I yelled back at him "Yov, ippo enakku bill podaati, ration officer kitta complaint panniduven, mariyaadhayaa podu". He came out of the room and looked at me like "Nambiyaar", I retaliated with a look like "Rajinikanth" ;-). He took me to a counter where they have pasted a small piece of paper which says "Mylapore - 3" and asked me if I am educated enough to read that. I gave him back by saying I am educated enough reading that, but the size of the board is more like "Kosu kusu vitta size la irukku", there was a roar of laughter in the ration shop including the guy who is sitting inside the "3" counter.

After this drama, I stood in the new queue, which is relatively empty. I asked him the same list of items and he prepared the bill, and finally he asked me 88.35, I was for a moment baffled after hearing that amount and produced him a 100 rupee note, he told me that he has no change and he asked me to tender the exact fare, I told him that I don't have change, he then asked me to wait till he gets the change and asked me to stand aside, I for a moment felt the needless use of all my credit cards, debit cards, cheque books etc etc, none can pay me that 88.35 rupee bill. I stood next to an electric meter which is well protected from shock by multiple layers of spider webs and there was an ugly big lizard which has its tounge stick out to catch some insect :-(

After nearly 20 minutes of waiting, the guy gave me the change of 12.50 paise, he has swallowed 15 paise by then. I proceeded to the next half of the building where they deliver the goods, I gave him my bill which read 10kg Rice, he pinned my bill in that traditional bill hook which has been the same way for 18 years now. It has a sharp needle such to a wooden plank and its edges have gone blunt. The guy placed a un-marked weight on the right hand side and poured a tin of rice on the left hand side, I asked him what is the metric of that iron weight, he gave me a nasty stare and told me "I don’t know", that answer really pissed me off and the "Anniyan" inside me came out, I shouted back at him asking "Weight evalo nu teriyaama thaan nee velai pannariyaa ?, Idhu enakku 5 kg maadhiri irukku, nee enna daa naa 10kg nu sollara, naa unna eppadi nambaradhu ?"

This argument brought back that old evil billing guy and he asked me "Enna prechana pannarathuku kadaiku vandhurukiyaa, unna thooki veliya potuduven, ozhungaa kdukaradha vaangikitu po, illaati avalothaan mavane", I told myself that he is digging his own grave, "Nee veliya thooki podarathuku naa enna un pinju pona bill book nu nenachiyaa, magane mela kai vechu paaru, apporam iruku di unakku kutcheri", usually I raise my voice when it comes to "fighting" which I am not used to very often, suddenly the in charge of that ration shop came to me and then inquired what happened, I explained him the sequence of the events and he gave his employees a nice dose and he himself gave me the things I wanted.

I warned that billing guy saying "Innoru vaati customer kitta ippadi karaaraa pesina, apporam un velai ku naa guarantee illa di, paarthu nadandhuka" even though I don’t have any contacts in the govt sector and I cannot do anything from my purview, I gave him this "udhaar" and came off running to my house, I got scared that he might gather some gundas and attack me :-)))))), see how bold I am ;-)

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