Saturday, March 17, 2012

25? 40? 60?

It is too giant a leap from -3 degree C to 38 degree C for me to fathom. In order to keep myself hydrated, I can’t help but make sure I have abundant liquid intake.

It being a very sunny afternoon, I stopped at the tender coconut roadside trolley to quench my desperate thirst. I requested a sizable one with plenty of coconut water and the vendor gladly cut me one. I asked him how much I owed him and he said “30 rupees madam!” OK, does culture shock work the other way round? For I believe I was in for a shock when he said I owed him 30 rupees. There were a couple of others sipping their tender coconut in a straw that’s been left out in the open and that’s how it’s always been. I wondered if the straw was the passage to the goodness of coconut water, or was it a passage to the multitude of prehistorically accumulated unidentified unhealthy things?!!

I scanned across the road as I realized I have got more than I bargained for, with all the additional goodness the straw had to offer. This shop was located right outside the infamous ‘Café coffee day’ where the elite spend hours sipping their iced eskimos and tropical icebergs with endless conversation and irrepressible love for one another, unmindful, as if in the state of an addictive ‘caffeine high’.

Reeling back to reality, I coughed up when an unidentified tiny thing got stuck in my throat. I told myself, if I (yes, I wish I could say No to my friends who call me to this cursed place) could pay 200 rupees for a coffee that has more ice than coffee, and tastes nothing like coffee, I sure as hell could pay 30 rupees to this poor coconut water vendor. After all, economy is all about demand and supply. Content with my gesture, I carried on in my bike, peace be upon it!

About 30 – 40 minutes later I reached my intended destination feeling thirsty again. Chennai’s RUSSIAN CENTRE OF SCIENCE AND CULTURE was where I reached to watch a Hungarian film. There was a small coffee shop that served Nescafe and Nestea and also had a refrigerator that was stocked with cold drinks like Slice Pet Bottle, Pepsi Can and the like. While scanning the shop I also glanced their menu card that read as follows:

Coffee – Rs20

Tea – Rs20

Cold Drinks – Rs40; and other items that were available in the card but not in the shop.

I, like a genius thought the Rs40 cold drink would be the 1.5l ones and they didn’t seem to have those. I asked for the Slice pet bottle and gave him a 100-rupee note. The cap read: MAXIMUN RETAIL PRICE Rs25 so I was expecting a balance of Rs75. The man who took my money was not sure how much I owed him, which baffled me because the cap clearly says 25 rupees. Anyway I waited for him to double check with his colleague who said something that I am still angry about. He said the price of that tiny slice pet bottle which has an MRP of Rs25 is actually Rs60. Either he is trying to exploit me or he is plain stupid. Its like buying a 25 rupee note for rupees 60; it does not add up.

a) It is not Rs25

b) It is not Rs40 according to the menu card

It was infact Rs60. So I asked him how could it be as it says Rs25 on the product? He says: “Madam, restaurant madam.”

Obviously I did not buy it.

While on my way home, I stopped to recharge my mobile and spotted a cool drink fridge in the shop as I was hoping to buy one since I landed at RCSC. It was a bottle of pepsi and I asked him how much it was.

He says, “with cooling 5 rupees extra madam”

What the fuck!!

To hell with ‘maximum’ retail price then?