Posted in Anecdotes, Humour

You and me Locked up in a Room

This is how a famous Bollywood song goes:

Hum tum ek kamre mein bandh ho, aur chaabi kho jaay!

Such an ambiguous song it is. You and Me locked up in a room – which one? Bedroom or bathroom or the Kitchen or the store room? and the Keys are lost, what keys? You have keys for rooms? is it the House Key or is it your Car keys? or is it even your key! With so much ambiguity in the song, the Guy must be an idiot to expect romance from the girl and the girl must be “idioter” to romance him anyway!

But this is not the point of the post, this is just a pointless introduction of this pointless post.

People have weird experiences when they shop in weird Indian stores in US. Let me assure you that the Indian stores in India are a 100 times better than the Indian stores in US.

This particular Indian store is more like a Godown or a storage room. Seriously, I have stopped going there as I had a few bad experiences with Billing and Customer service. There are other Indian stores here that are not weird, packed with nice friendly people and a neat place. Coming back to this one weird store, it was sometime last year when I went there for regular weekend Grocery. My job as a husband was simple, drive the family to the store, hold the then 1.5 years old daughter in the arms and just randomly move around the store.

I like random, you can be at your will. You can have a sense of freedom. But in this particular store, there is only a few ways of being random. There are only 3 aisles with each aisle enough for just one half of a skinny person to move freely and that half is his lateral section and not his cross section. On the extreme left there will be a lot of varieties of bags of Rice and wheat stacked like a mountain. You will see people desperately trying to pull out a bag of rice, without impacting the balance of the bags placed one over the other. If you walk through this aisle, there are chances of bags accidentally falling on you. Perhaps they should have a sign that says “Falling Bags” like the ones you will find on the freeways through mountains that says “Falling Rocks”.

The walkways between the aisles are not left alone. They are stacked with more stuff that can be sold. It is a marketing technique. People don’t look down, so what happens is they very likely stumble upon the stuff on the floor and fall flat. Then all they have to do was see a nice shiny glowing Potato and go “Wow!” and then grab a pound or two of it. Trust me, it really works, even though you will see more people falling than walking, it is more business this way than having less stuff stacked around.

The best way to stock up the merchandise is during the peak hours of people shopping. How else you will see the store’s stock person goes around the aisle arranging and stacking up new merchandise. It is like the Old Hutch cellphone ad – wherever you go we follow. This guy is just like that, he will be there whereever you go, he is omnipresent. He can shout at the top of his pitch to the cashier when the cashier asks him the price of a certain item. He is usually a Middle aged Indian Uncle who is a partner in that store business, with neatly Dabur amla oiled hair, a belly with the shirt unable to cover it fully.

Sometimes it can be a check mate with all the stuff lying around. As I was trying to work my way randomly through these flow restricted aisles, I entered an aisle to look for some ready to eat stuff. It was a trap, I couldn’t get out of it one way as the stock person had left a bunch of items there blocking the way. He then walks through me literally and begins stocking things in the freezer on my other side. So you see now I am in a check mate position and I can’t move out of the aisle until he finishes stocking, and I am left there reading the expired expiry dates of freshly stacked Ready to eat items.

My worst nightmare came true. The stock person sang the famous ambiguous Bollywood song –

“Hum tum ek kamre mein bandh ho, aur chaabi kho jaay!”

This time, it wasn’t ambiguous. It was straight on. I started sweating profusely and was about to faint but my love for my 1.5 year old daughter held me up on my feet and reminded me that there is still room for hope in life. I looked around and I saw there was not even room for placing one bag of chips around me with all the things lying around, where would I keep hope. Besides, the Stock man was insisting on singing the next lines of the song.

I was saved by a ray of hope. Some guy walked from the side where he was stocking in the freezer and said “Ekskuse me” in a thick North Indian Accent. That’s it, the gap was made. It was enough for me to sneak through and get to the other side, like the South Indians who sneak through in the Tirumala Tirupathi queue for Dharshan of the deity.

Perhaps Clint Eastwood should make a movie with this “Escape from Indian Store”.

PS: “Dimple Kapadia” is in the tag list, just to increase the marketing value of this post.

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Author:

I am a Software Engineer by profession. My interests are in Computers, Science, Technology, Movies, Music, Photography and Writing. I love to do a lot of things, but am still searching for the ultimate thing that I can love to do. You will find here all the volcanic outbursts of my creative side as I explore the world through my perspective. Well, mainly fun, what's world without any fun!

31 thoughts on “You and me Locked up in a Room

  1. Haha.. I feel like I’ve been to the same store. I was standing there on my toes trying to reach the ready to eat stuff on the top shelf (says something about our cooking i guess), and this big old punjabi lady in a tight salwar tries to squeeze through behind me in the narrow aisle and almost tips me over. The result being a bunch of MTR ready to eat stuff lands on my head and all over me.
    But then.. when it is hard enough fitting all our different masalas and sambar podis in the neat little cabinets we have in our apartments, imagine how much more trouble it must be for him to fit all the masalas and podis and extras in one small store!

    1. I was standing there on my toes trying to reach the ready to eat stuff on the top shelf
      I think the Indian stores expect the customers wear High heel shoes as big as “poikal kudirai” shoes!

      imagine how much more trouble it must be for him to fit all the masalas and podis and extras in one small store!
      Exactly, sometimes when we ask for help, say “Please get me Pudina”, he can reach into far reaching corners and get those, we couldn’t even have located the fridge that contains that!

    1. That will be even more disgusting because he will have a photo to prove. He can put it on Flickr, or make a big poster and put it outside his shop to show the shop’s customer friendliness! I may have to move to a different city in case of poster and a different planet in case of Flickr!

  2. In mumbai the song is sung. Not out of romance but because of real estate !

    🙂

    All the best for the next in-store experience. I am sure your daughter is getting one heck of an education !

    😉

    1. In mumbai the song is sung. Not out of romance but because of real estate
      Exactly, Hum tum ek kamre mein bandh ho ($289.99 + Tax per night).

      I am sure your daughter is getting one heck of an education
      Yes, everything seems to be out of syllabus!

  3. “He is usually a Middle aged Indian Uncle who is a partner in that store business, with neatly Dabur amla oiled hair, a belly with the shirt unable to cover it fully.”

    Sometimes it is Keo Karpin oil!

  4. luckily, the indian store i used to frequent while a student had a pretty decent punjabi lady who used to let me bum free snack packets every now and then 🙂

  5. ‘Falling Bags’ was a right suggestion.

    Similarly, the following ‘In(dian)-store signage’ may be useful too:

    1. Dead End.
    2. Beware- Gujarati family shopping ahead.
    3. Caution: Wait floors.
    4. No right turn for vegetarians.
    5. In case of fire, use sunflower oil to fry.
    6. No Point beyond this Trolley.
    …..and finally
    7. Caution; Dinesh Babu in store roaming randomly @ 18000RPM.

    Cheers!
    ~uh~

    1. Ha ha … LOL at the sign post ideas! Point 7 is especially needed with an addendum “No singing of Bobby songs within 10 feet radius!” That means you will have to go outside the store and sing!

  6. //PS: “Dimple Kapadia” is in the tag list, just to increase the marketing value of this post.//

    LOL. Hahahaha!

    So it’s true – imprisonment does inspire writing!

    g

  7. Congrats on your BlogAdda pick! 🙂
    Hilarious and relate to it quite a bit!! Been there in such a shop.Though thankfully…not in quite the same situation!!!! 😀

  8. this one’s great! Yes, Indian stores in the USA can be intresting places and it’s true that Indian stores in India are far better. The only satisfaction that you get is seeing good ol Brown and Polson custard powder and spices that remind you of home.

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