Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Homemade marmalade anyone?

yesterday, while a colleague and i were struggling to wrap things up for the day, we were startled out of our work-trance by a man who was, you will NEVER believe it, selling aam papad and churan! yes, smack dab in the heart of this great establishment, the hallowed portals of which are guarded against intruders by smart card entry-points, important looking securitymen and the forbiddingly brooding hangdog expressions that accompany most journos (FYI: since i'm a wannabe scribe, it don't apply to moi, and i manage to look charming, starry-eyed and altogether lovely, thank you!), my first thought was, how did the poor bugger get in?

so he asked us if we wanted to buy any of his premium homemade concoctions, from a huge bag, the mere sighting of which would've spurred most American offices to declare an istant code orange, or whatever suitably alarming colour is the Dept. of Homeland Securty's fave these days. aghast, i imagined myself in a dusty sarkari office in Bapu Chowk (there must be someplace in every city that's called that), where such an intrusion might be the highlight of one's day. but here, sitting in a semblance of corporate plush, my finer sensibilities were somewhat short-circuited.

now, i have nothing against flatulence-inducing tid-bits, and enjoy the odd anardana bombs that some colleagues chew all day (a revered indian post-meal tradition, mind you), absolutely love to hungrily wolf down all forms of Indian street food, and am a sucker for good bargains out of the bag. but having a jholawala salesman come up to my workstation to offer me gastronomical delights is a bit much to digest, won't you say?

so, we politely said no, thanks and the man moved on to entice someone with far better taste, i guess. upon which we mutely exchanged puzzled, semi-horrified glances and got on with the insipid tying-the-loose-ends routine of a not-at-all-insipid job. (and this ain't a pitch for a raise since the boss ain't on my mailing list!)

but, in retrospect, in this day and age when door-to-door selling is fast giving way to desktop-to-tabletop ordering in and mean looking coffee-machines spewing large lattes to go, i thought about this cute little tradition of peddling home made wares and felt a bit guilty about ditching my small-town persona (of the little girl who simply waited all week for the malai kulfi guy to come ringing his bell in the summers - most AWESOME treat ever!), in favour of the Delhiite's corporate starchiness, and felt kinda' bad that i didn't peek inside that bag.

let's just hope he got a few hits to make another pitch sometime soon. this time i'll be waiting with a few scrunched up notes from my pocket money :)

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