Friday, November 27, 2009

Penny wise Pound wise

When it comes to greed or avarice- one of the seven deadly sins- we Indians do not lag behind. We, as businessmen, small or big are out to fleece our customers/clients, especially foreign ones, throwing all morals and ethics to the winds. But things have changed now and the foreigner travellers have become wiser. Gone are the days when an Englishman or any European tourist for that matter, while eating at a dhaba or a restaurant would pay a tip of Rs. 80/- against a bill of Rs. 20/-, telling the waiter to “keep the change.”
The fact of foreigners having become wiser was brought home to me by an incident that occurred a few years back. One fine morning , when I was on way to Nalagarh from Bilaspur on official tour in a Govt. vehicle ,I stopped to have a cup of tea in a roadside dhaba. A foreigner, sensing that the dhaba walla was charging him more than he was supposed to, started a dialogue with me:
“ Excuse me please!”
“ What can I do for you ?” I said.
“ I think he is charging me more.”
“ What have you taken?”
“ Two chapattis , some vegetable, and a cup of tea.”
“ How much is he asking for ?”
“ Rs. Seventy.”

Visibly shocked, keeping in view the rates prevailing at that time, I made some mental calculations and asked him to pay Rs. 20/-.The guy was quite grateful and happy,and after making the payment, rode his bike and left for Manali.I gave a bit of my mind to the attendant at the dhaba- since the owner was not there- and advised him not to overcharge in future. All this left a bad taste in my mouth and I could not enjoy my cup of tea.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Moon or Chaand has different connotations for various people at different times. The beautiful face of the beloved has been often compared to Moon or Chaand and young men the world over have dreamed about having a moon-faced beauty for a life partner. It is another matter that the beloved who eventually becomes the darling wife is Chandramukhi for a brief while and as the charm wears off, turns into a Surajmukhi or Jwalamukhi. Again, since times immemorial this celestial body has been a witness to romance sprouting in young hearts. A moonlit night is the most suitable time for the lovers to take vows to live and die together. To a young mother, the newborn is her Chanda so good-looking that she has to put a dark spot on its face to ward off the evil eye. A finger is pointed towards Chandamama to divert the attention of a weeping child.

But this is in a different context that I am writing about Chandamama.A recent write-up in a prominent English Daily tells me that “Chandamama”, the most popular teenage magazine of our time has completed fifty years. I remember the good old days when as a school going kid I was introduced to this popular monthly magazine. At that time more than the stories, it was the illustrations that looked more appealing. The King and the Queen, the common man, a boy or a girl were typically drawn. I particularly remember Vikram & Baital, Paropkari Panna Lal- the good Samaritan, and the serialized story of Durgeshnandini. It was a family magazine and anyone of any age group could enjoy reading it.