“Bye bachhas (Hindi word for kids)! Be my good girls and learn, play and have fun with your friends.
See you in the evening. Muaaaaahhhh!”
After the Good Bye kisses that I pass on every morning to the angels before leaving for work, I stepped down the stairs, almost pushing the first floor lady down the stairs. I pulled her back and apologized with a “Sorry Auntyji! Namaste!” garnished with my beautiful Colgate smile. 😀
She did try her best to smile back. 🙂
I hurriedly walked to my cab pick up point and finally settled in front of Srini Anna’s shop. Anna is a Tamil word for big brother.
“Good Morning, Srini Anna!”
“Good Morning! Kids ready for school?”
“Yes yes, getting ready!”
He then got immersed in his customary shop opening rituals…swept the vicinity with a broom, mixed some turmeric powder in a bucket of water and started sprinkling the same around his shop. He says, turmeric purifies the surroundings. A sight that I see every morning.
I saw two mynas and a few crows fly in from nowhere and Srini Anna offering them a few grains of rice. Then I saw Pappu, the street dog, come running for his share of biscuits that Anna offers him. There was also an army of ants marching slowly into Anna’s shop, because apart from the flower garlands, coconuts and other stuff, Anna also has some Vellam (Tamil word for jaggery) inside his shop. What a treat! 🙂
Jaggery (also transliterated as jaggeree) is a traditional uncentrifuged sugar consumed in Asia and Africa. It is a concentrated product of date, cane juice, or palmsap without separation of the molasses and crystals, and can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color. It contains up to 50% sucrose, up to 20% invert sugars, up to 20% moisture, and the remainder made up of other insoluble matter, such as wood ash, proteins, and bagasse fibers. Jaggery is mixed with other ingredients, such as peanuts, condensed milk, coconut, and white sugar, to produce several locally marketed and consumed delicacies.
Information Courtesy – Wikipedia
Srini Anna knows me since the time I have been visiting his shop with Amma, trying to cling onto her hands, while she was holding my one and half-year old sister. He has seen me as a teenager coming regularly for the tuition classes for Mathematics and Chemistry nearby his shop. He has seen my friendship with Sandhya and our long to-and-fro walks on the road in front of his shop. He has seen it all. Every time I go to his shop he would enquire about my sis, Renu, who’s now married and settled in Mid-East. He says,
“You both look good together. Alone, you look like a handicapped.“
He’s so true. Whenever Renu comes, I ensure to take her to Srini Anna, just to say a hello.
In all these years, never did I think that one day, we’ll be owning a flat so close to his shop, that I get to say, Good Morning and Good Evening to him.
God surely does play magics and make connections between unrelated human beings.
I am not related to Srini Anna in any way, other than buying South-Indian stuff from his shop regularly. Also, all the flowers I need for the Poojas that we arrange at our place twice in a year come from Anna’s shop…especially the Tulasi (Basil) that flies in from Bangalore during the winter season. But his humility and dedication towards his work inspires me a lot. There’s a slight smile and a kind of calmness on his face, which makes me feel life isn’t all that bad or hectic. May be it’s the effect of the beautiful flowers he plays around with whole day long. Tulsi (Basil), Gulab (Rose), Mogra (Jasmine), Ghende ka phool (Marygold), Lillies and so many more varieties.