With the onion prices in India touching the lower levels of the atmosphere and aiming to break the planet’s escape velocity, its only fair that people resort to innovative methods of making money. This will follow the typical Darwinian principle of strong-eat-weak and rich-screw-over-poor. Come to think of it, I think Darwin deserves a Nobel Prize in economics – I’m sure a lot of people think that his ‘Origin of Species’ was a metaphorical work describing the economic recession.
I went to the supermarket last evening to pick up some vegetables for the empty fridge, and after spending some time near the onion counter contemplating the steeply rising prices, my attention was diverted to two people who were fighting close to me.
Here’s how the conversation went, roughly:
Fat Guy With Ponytail: What did you call me?
Thin Guy With Ribs Sticking Out: Nothing, sir. I did not say anything.
FGWP: No, you called me fat!
TGWRSO: No, No! I did not!
FGWP: Admit it. You were stealing onions from my basket and then when I caught you, you called me fat!
TGWRSO: Sir, you got me wrong. I was not stealing. I was just looking at them. Please sir, I am not a thief!
FGWP: Likely story! You should be flogged!
At this, the thin guy with ribs sticking out started pleading with folded arms in a typically Indian and totally pathetic manner. This brought the store manager rushing towards the commotion.
Store Manager: What is happening here? What’s the racket about? Stop fighting, sir (addressing the Fat Guy).
FGWP: Good you came! Are you the manager?
SM: Yes sir! I am. What is the problem here?
FGWP: This guy was stealing my onions! Trash him!
SM: (Looking at the thin guy and then back to the Fat Guy) Sir, he was not stealing your onions.
FGWP: What?? I tell you, this guy was stealing! Are you calling me a liar? I saw him reach out and pick up two onions from my basket while was about to turn around!
SM: Sir, that’s not possible. This fellow works here at the store. He is in charge of the onion section.
At this, the Fat Guy was somewhat flabbergasted, but he held his position and continued his tirade.
FGWP: You hire thieves in your store! Do you know how much these onions cost? An arm and a leg! He was stealing it!
SM: Sir, give him a chance to explain. (Looking now at the thin guy) Rama, explain yourself. Did you pick up two onions from this man’s basket?
TGWRSO: Yes sir…
TGWRSO: …but I wasn’t stealing!
SM: Then why did you pick them up?
TGWRSO: They dropped into his basket by mistake. These onions belong to this man here.
And he pointed at me.
I looked into my own basket, and true enough, I was two onions short. The Fat Guy looked at me, then at the thin guy, then at the store manager and then back at me, trying to figure out how I fit into his whole onion-thievery theory. Apparently I didn’t. He just handed me back my onions and mutered, “Sorry” under his breath to all three of us and walked away.