A flash back to my life takes me back to 1998. After experimenting with various business options, I had decided to do what I knew fairly well.
I made a survey of tea shops and canteens in various establishments in and around the city, I launched into it, vigorously. It was a one man show. I used to get branded packed teas from the stockists and sold to hot tea shops and canteens keeping a margin of Rs.7/- per kg. The demand was stupendous, not because there were no other tea seller, but because of the variety of brands I had. The advantage for me in the bargain was that ensuring quality of the product was the responsibility of the company and on my part was to ensure timely supply, rain or shine. I used to load my Tvs scooty with tea packets upto my neck and rode cautiously, an exercise that kept me very busy from 8 am to 8 pm.
I had lot of clients, about 70 hot tea shops and canteens around the city who too were, fortunately, very prompt in settling my bills.
One old man around 70, native of Chirayinkeezh, was running a canteen near the Museum and as everybody, a prompt settler and very regular, consuming 5 kgs a week. Our relation ship was strong and I took him for granted and shared small jokes with him, as he too relished such leafy talks. One fine morning, when I was about to spread his weekly requirement on his table, he looked up and told, " swamy, I buy all my provisions, except tea, from a shop near by since I started this venture. He has offered to supply my brand of tea below your price." Concealing my disappointment but keeping my limitless source of smooth smile, I told him my cost and the profit margin I enjoy, my promptness in supply and among many other things, I highlighted, I have only tea to sell and added, he is free to buy tea from his regular shop. I too would have done that only. I took back my tea packets and thanked his profusely, and reminded I would only be happy to serve him, and gave him my business card for use in future, I took leave of him.
Two or three weeks passed. No call came to me from him and I too was busy with other clients. I took that into my stride, as nothing is permanent; philosophy too I added, my loss is somebody's gain and vice versa.
One evening I went to Railway station for advance booking of tickets for a short journey. As usual the counter was very busy and I had to stand at the end of a long que.
I counted the number of persons in front. More than twenty. None to follow me. It will take a minimum of 45 minutes to reach the summit. So many thoughts flew. I turned around to see some colors. A lady in pink saree was advancing to my line. A great comfort enveloped me. She inquired immediately, whether this que is for reservation in Madras mail. I nodded yes.To prolong the conversation, i told, it would take another hour for reaching the other end. She just smiled. Now I am in no hurry. I would even allow two or three intruders if i can get along with with some sweet nothings.See how the world has changed for me in a trifle. All of a sudden, a hefty man appeared from nowhere, her husband, and he replaced her, thrashing my nice hopes.
Instantly I felt a hand tapping on my shoulder. I did not look back, as I thought , somebody would have accidentally touched me. Then I heard a trembling voice, "swamy". I turned and looked back. The old man who had declined tea from me was standing. He was chocking and was miserable. I thought sombody would have picked his pocket. Such was his desperation. Anything can I do for you? I asked him politely. what is the problem? I continued. He was literally crying. "swamiyde phone no. kallunju poiye. enikku urnagan pattunilla. swamyikke theyila mathra malle ullu. Swamy, theyila thannal mathi. Nale thanne venam." (I lost your mob.no. I can't sleep.You have only tea to sell. I want tea only from you. I want it tommorrow onwards).I was pleasantly taken aback. I am sentimentally weaker than the fairer sex. I almost broke down. Some how I managed. I thanked him and assured him of supply next morning.
When I type this also, my eyes are getting wet. Some incidents get etched in memory some get erased from memory depending on the strength of the incident.