Sunday, 5 May 2013

A chauffered fisherwoman


Last week I was waiting for a bus (yes, I travel by public transport J especially after rickshaw fares became unaffordable) and saw an interesting exchange.
Saw a fisherwoman, gold and green bangles upto her elbows. I noticed her because she’d come on a chauffeur-driven bike. She’s also the lady from whom my husband buys fish. Apparently she’s quite the businesswoman. She’s installed her daughters-in-law in the fish market, spread out near her, and those na├»ve enough to do business on her turf are soon missing. Chased off with a sweet word, no doubt. For a few years now she’s been selling masala-coated fish, ready for the frying pan, or if you wish, already fried. All this probably explains her gold bangles. Or, as most of Mumbai’s masses do, they could be the Rs100 variety.

I’m guessing she ran out of fish at her stall and got on to the bike and scouted around for someone selling pomfrets. She stopped near me, zeroing on the guy with an aluminium tub on his head, asked him if he had pomfret (poplette) and proceeded to bargain him down for about 10-12 large ones. In frustration he finally agreed to her price. I’m not even sure he was aware she had a shop in the market! In any case, after she’d chose about 10 of his choice fare, she lowered the price even more… and I missed most of the exchange where she quietly explained why she was giving him less. After a look of shock, he started smiling and scratching his head. Then told her to take whatever she wanted.
I’m all admiration. She’s an impressive businesswoman.

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