A Short Story
Warning: Suggested expletives. Reader discretion is advised.
“You people are fuc**** stupid” A raised angry voice in the store prompted everyone to look in that direction.
She also tiptoed and strained her head to see who had raised his voice. She could not see him because of some baby food cans. But the person on the other side was surely pissed off.
She always preferred the afternoon time for shopping in these new superstores which had come all over Mumbai. You get so much variety with obviously the cost factor played an important role for her decision. Afternoons were when the crowd was less and she could shop for everything she wanted. She was filling her shopping cart with all the eatables.
“Saala Ch*****” the voice boomed again but this time the person was laughing.
There were not many people on that floor. The store had three floors in all. Some bored housewives, some shop assistants and some male who were either single or accompanying their wives. It was just a boring afternoon with people shopping for regular house essential.
“You are all ga***s” The voice shouted again. Actually the person did not shout but the almost quiet surrounding made the voice louder. She tiptoed again to see him this time. Actually he just entered her lane as she was selecting the 0% cholesterol vegetable oil.
He was dressed in faded jeans with a black t-shirt which said “Metalica”. She lowered her gaze to look at the products on the shelf. He was constantly blabbering on the phone with the choicest of expletives. She found such people disgusting.
He was oblivious of the surrounding and was instructing the person on the other end about something he wanted to be done.
“You press that fucking button re!” He was blabbering “two days in the office I set everything up and the moment I leave, you gho**** had to screw everything up”
The elder lady in the same lane was visibly upset at his choice of language. She moved into the next lane. It did not matter to him as he continued with his onslaught.
“Ok! Now look up the manual. What are the codes for fucking kick that machine?”
She wanted to escape to the next shelf but did not want to make obvious. She did not know how he will react. A person with a cool designer necktie entered the lane. She was relived. Finally a descent person to see.
“These looks like a person who is well-behaved and decent unlike this fool here who does not even know how to behave in a public place” She thought to herself “No manners this people have. They should not be allowed to come to a place like this.”
“You fuc*** idiot, get Raghav on the line” He was in full force now. “I am not going to stay in that shit office for a day. I have already spent 2 days in that shit-hole.”
She couldn’t take it anymore. She wanted to walk to him and give him an earful but looking at his size, decided against it. She noticed none of the shop assistant dared to challenge him. She moved to the next lane but his voice had started irritating her. She wanted to finish her shopping and get out this place as fast as she could. She spotted a 20 Kg wheat floor packet at a discount.
“Wow! Finally something good today” She smiled at herself as she asked an assistant to haul the heavy sack into the trolley.
The man with the designer necktie passed her and saw her smiling. He gave her a polite smile. She smiled back.
“See! This is what we call manners, an educated individual” She thought to herself “Look at that monkey still making so much sound out there”
Checking again with her list, she decided that she had got what she had come for. Cross checking the contents, she proceeded to the cash counter. The man in the jeans was behind her still talking but now in a better mood. She wished the counter girl could hurry up and she could just get out of here.
“Abe saala, I tell you our manager is a maha chu****” He was still loud but did he care “He is a big haramzada. Cannot take responsibility yaar. I am gonna fuc**** leave this job one day”
“Oh god! This person is the limit of indecency” She was getting angry by the minute “God! Let me control my anger. He has no sense of manners. Absolutely manner less monkey”
She paid the bill and hurried outside with the cart. She walked toward her car fuming with anger. She was disgusted with the crude language she had just heard. No sense of courtesy has remained in this world.
She got to her car and started offloading stuff into the car all the time thinking of the disgusting jeanswala. Finally she came to the Floor sack. She hadn’t thought of the 20 Kg sack and how she was going to load that into the car. She got the sack from the end and tried pulling it. This was going to be difficult than she had thought. She tried pulling the sack again pulling the cart toward her. She let out a cry in pain as the metal cart dug into her waist. She noticed the designer tie man looking at her and then hurrying up to his car.
“bloody men!” She exclaimed under her breath.
She tried to pull the sack again with more force this time. She was so engrossed that she did not notice the sound of footsteps behind her.
“Just a minute” the voice was familiar. She looked back to find the jeanswala behind her. Her anger was at the boiling point and she certainly did not need to talk to him now.
“Abe ek min! Ga*** hold kar” He told somebody on the phone then turning to her he held out the phone to her. “Just hold this”
She was amazed with his rudeness. This man did not even have the courtesy to say “Please” and why is he talking to her like that? She wanted to refuse but the look on his face made her accept the phone.
The jeanswala looked at the big sack, shook his head and then pulled the sack with all his might. The sack was obviously heavy because he did not have a easy task lifting it. He carried the sack to the car. Stacking it, he turned around. He held out his hand to ask for the phone. She handed him the phone.
“Ha bol! How much time are you chu***** going to take out there” He started walking away from her without even glancing at her. An arrogant man who had just helped her load the sack into her car.
She saw him disappear into the crowd with his bag of groceries when she realized that she had not even said a decent “Thank You”. She looked back to see that the ‘jeanswala’ had completely disappeared. She walked to the driver seat of the car to notice the ‘designer tie’ man speed away in his Opel.
That was when she realized that she was not angry with the ‘jeanswala’ even with his crude language and arrogant attitude. She put the keys in and started the engine.
She looked back if she could still spot the ‘jeanswala’ but he was nowhere to be seen
“Manners!” she smiled at herself before she started to drive back home.
Note:- Loosely Inspired by a true incident I witnessed and on this report which describes Bombay as the rudest city in the world.
I guess we ‘Mumbaikar’ are proud of this type of ‘rudeness’