The Medical Shop

I am a bad shopper when it comes to buying sanitary napkins. For years, I used the brand which Mom recommended in our home town. Then guess what? They stopped making that brand of sanitary napkins. I was stuck now. I never knew what else to buy. There was this huge struggle at trying all possible brands newer, cheaper or more advanced. I am not a tv watcher so i never understand what comes in new. A chemist shop is so crowded that it is not a place to browse thru variuos coloured packets. AT a supermarket, some vague salesgirl is trying to palm off some equally unheard of brand. I am wondering if the stuff is made in hygenic conditions. So i keep trying and almost always never remember which one was a good one on my last buy.

Then we had a new medical shop opened by two young looking brothers. They were smart, knew their medicines and what the medicine did and spoke in English. Sometimes English is my comfort language with strangers. I can’t talk about the brands in Gujrati or Hindi or Kutchi. Now please don’t try to wonder what my mother tongue is.I could call them at any hour of the day or night and they would send the correct stuff home. Even on one odd day, when we had load shedding in our area, they managed to send my stuff at ten pm and left it with the watchman, all well packed with an old newspaper. I went to their shop yesterday. Ever since we ve moved house, I hardly ever call them for home delivery and I am always lost as to what to buy. So in their shop, I asked them to show me various colored packets. I looked n could not make out. Promptly, the shopkeeper said, you use these two always. I was pleased, shocked and stunned. How can the brother duo remember that ? Especially when they must be having a whole lot of customers and a whole lot of home deliveries being done by their delivery boys, who change every few months. I was impressed and flabbergasted. He read my expression as to how does this guy remember it ? He cracked an innane joke about how I can start a political party now that I stay amidst some politicians. We laughed together and the moment passed. Phew !

I am always going to order all my personal hygiene stuff and medicines from them. They sure have found a loyal customer.


Ad = Advertising

Child came from school and told me Mamma it is Bharat Bandh on 8th may. I asked her what was the source of her information and prompt came the answer that there are hoardings all over . My child, all of eight years, thought this was such a big thing that’s why they were hoardings being put up with the Bandh information. This was the misleading ad of DLF IPL. Some time back Matrix a mobile phone company which promises to give lower rates on international roaming said in their ad…A cheap Indian phone company blah blah. For long no one noticed it and it was ok. People like me who notice these things and are upset, do not know how to proceed in such matters. I was not even ok with the ONe Day mataram tagline. Please , cant our creative guys leave a few national things sacrosanct.
The ads are so weird with their promises. The children cant distinguish the reality from the fiction. The teachers are teaching some real out dated stuff. Hindi book has a depressing story about death. The Hindi is taught in school in English. Marathi is taught with English translations. The child is only thinking in English and then tryting to translate to the local Indian language. No more the ad is about a child studying, it is about group politics and bullying. The tone of the ad is so menacing. The client servicing people would be so vindictive to sell this kind of stuff for a child s product and look at the marketing heads of companies approving the stuff. Just read an interview by tv serial editors and all each one had to say was “We give what the audience wants”.
Is this the kind of audience we have become ?

The National Flag

Till now,I had only held the National flag made of paper. That too after I owned a car, the Indian flag was bought on Republic and Independence day. The children at the traffic signals who were selling the flags were so adorable and that is about as patriotic as I got. Post marriage, the husband made sure we all saw the republic day parade on tv. That was about it. Then on the day of the World cup finals all my patriotic instincts were awakened. After we lost the first two wickets of Sehwag and Sachin, for me the game was over. I decided to take the children to Shivaji Park to play. It was a quiet evening, and I saw a couple from the building also stepping out. I barely know them and in India we do not say hello to strangers. I still thought of them as not interested in the game , just like me.

Shivaji park is actually a stone s throw away from where we live. As we crossed the road which is pretty difficult to do with children on other days, we were stunned. The by lane which leads to the park was full of people. There was a giant screen put up at the chauraha or the junction of the four by lanes. The people were glued to the screen. They were mostly in the blue Indian team s t shirts. Lots of them had the national flag painted on their face, hands. Nothing brash like full body painted but just a small flag.
I had to wade through the crowd to go to the park. The atmosphere was a bit tense. The men made way for me and the children. Lots of bikes were parked where people and ahead people were all standing. The whole sea of humanity was singing Ma Tujhe Salaam. The DJ was playing it but that was drowned in the crowd shouting Dhak Dhak Bol India Bol. I had goose bumps, which I feel when I go to watch a film. Before every film, the national anthem is played and we don’t just stand, we sing along. There were about thirty forty national flags made of cloth flying around. Even when we made two runs , the crowd was chanting, Ganpati Bappa Morya. In between , when the match could go either ways, the DJ played the Ganpati arti of Jaidev Jaidev Jai Mangal Murti. It was a divine atmosphere. Everyone young and old clapping to rhythm.
There was a small inconspicuous stage made by a political party. The couple from my building was on that stage. Did not know of there political affiliations till now. The lady called me to stand with her on the stage. I promptly went and sat near her feet. That’s the only limelight I would ever get and that was the only place available on that stage. Now every time there was a four or a six being scored by the Indian team, the guys around the stage would pass the National flag to a Member of the legislative assembly. He would then wave it and later the guys would hold the flag. I found myself passing the National flag from the volunteers to the leader. The long wooden post, the Khadi of the National flag in its true colours was something I had never experienced. I would hold it a fraction of a second longer before I passed the flag to the volunteers. That was my moment of glory, even before India won the world cup.