Dec 4, 2006

Daily visit

It was a sultry summer evening. My classes got over and I was returning home, holding the soft hands of my 70 year old grandma. My school was about 500 metres from my house and my grandma used to pick me up from school everyday. There was no concept of autos or cycle rickshaws in my little village. I was in the 3rd grade and loved the trip back home. My grandma and I used to walk slowly and we stop as soon as we reach my favourite hangout spot "Thaatha kadai" (shop of an old man). I loved the visits to his shop every evening.

I never knew his name till this date. All I knew was that he was a very old man with a long white beard, wearing a dirty dhoti. We always call him "Thaatha" (grandfather). His shop was nothing but a small box of space (around 4 * 4 feet), packed with lots of goodies - colourful candies, little animal shaped dolls made out of plastic, cute notebooks and old colouring books. Thaatha used to sit in the centre of his shop, waiting for the school bell to ring.

I used to buy those colourful round candies that cost nothing more than 10 paise. It was a joyful walk, stuffing the candies in my little palm and tasting them one by one till I reach my house. On some occasions, all I wanted to do was just stare at the items in his shop. How is it possible to have so many goodies in such a small shop, I used to wonder.

Summer vacations were the best. After lunch, I liked to roam around in the streets that were deserted, with the hot humid winds blowing. I took long routes to the shop and bought those little dolls and colouring books for 25 paise. Thaatha always had a gentle smile and used to give us a couple more candies than we actually had paid for. He was a simple man who brought joy to many children in my village.

I don't know if the shop still exists. But I'm very certain that those were the wonderful shopping experiences I had till today.

PS : There is a shop named "Grandpa's" on my way to work that reminded me of "Thaatha kadai" this morning.

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