I felt a very strange kind of sadness today. Maybe it is a kind of guilt.
I was at a small shop inside the DRDO complex where they sell Kesar Kulfi ice-cream. Lunged over the freezer were three little girls in some kind of an uniform – maybe school just got over. They had a ten rupee note. To be shared amongst them. They were trying to decide what to buy.
The chest was stashed with ice-cream and chocolates. They had to pass the Ferrero Rocher. They had to pass the Zee-cones. Not much that you can buy with 10 bucks nowadays, eh ? Only some thin strips of chocolate, the real slim Diary Milk bars – that could be theirs.
In the midst of all this comes in a pretty-well off, nevertheless always complaining about scarcity of fund kinda of a guy, thirty something, typical “IT types” and orders two kulfis. He is alone at home, but he’s going to have one now and one after dinner. Doesn’t even bother to ask the price.
“Thirty-Six”, says the shopkeeper. The guy looks into his well-built wallet. “Should I part with the 100 or the 50 ?”, he thinks. He has enough of both.
Meanwhile the kulfi has caught the attention of the three little girls. It’s unbranded, so probably affordable. Their eyes light up.
“How much ?”, their chirpy leader asks.
“Eighteen – for one”, comes the shopkeeper’s stiff reply, who has previously carefully measured the economic power of these three little women.
The ocean of excitement is quenched. Excitement that had built up over three odd seconds crash within half. The little girls resign their fate and go on looking at the smaller pieces of chocolate.
They guy in the green tee pays for his kulfi. Maybe he thinks of offering to buy the girls some kulfi, but knows that could be socially inappropriate. He walks out of the store, drives off in his car, juggling the wheel with one hand, trying to latch the seatbelt with his other while his teeth clenches his well-built wallet.
Maybe he is also feeling a strange kind of sadness today. Maybe he will also write a blog out of middle-classy guilt.