Monday, March 28, 2016

The lady and the coin

A few days ago, I wanted an envelope to place a small gift in it and give it to a friend, at a farewell function. So, I went to a nearby gift store to get one.

On my return, after buying the envelope, just as I entered my apartment block, an elderly gentleman asked me which was the exit in the building. No sooner I had pointed at the door than he asked me where he could get an envelope. (It turned out that he too was heading for the same farewell function, and he too needed a gift envelope.) I told him there is a shop behind the apartment complex. And that I am just returning after buying one for myself.

While I walked a few steps towards the exit to show him the direction to the store, he popped a question: "Could you just come with me?"

The gentleman, who must be in his sixties, was very apologetic. I agreed to to go to the shop with him, but I also suggested he could use the envelope I had bought, and that I shall quickly go back to the store and get another one. Why should he walk all the way to the store, I thought.

But he said no, and cheerfully agreed to walk along with me. As we walked, I told me where he had worked in Bengaluru, and asked me where I lived, where I worked, how long I have been in the city etc. We just quickly got to know each other.

Back at the store, I asked the lady at the counter for anther envelope. The lady is the wife of the man owns the shop.

"Give me a simple cover," the man told the lady, who then offered one which cost Rs 3.

Seemingly satisfied, he took out his purse and offered her coins of Rs 2 and Re 1.

However, a few other coins too dropped on the desk, and the woman's eyes fell on a shining one.

"What is that coin?", she asked.

Before he could reply, came another question: "Can I see it?"

A bit taken aback, he put the coin hurriedly back in the purse.

But the woman was insistent and assured him that she won't take it, but only wants to just see it.

Then he took it out and handed it over to her. She examined it.

"Is it a silver coin?" she was curious.

"No, it's an American cent, a penny," he explained.

She didn't seem to have understood. So, I said, "It is a coin of a foreign country, and not ours."

Then in a sudden turn around, she asked, "Can I have it?"

Why she abruptly wanted to own it, I wondered.

I asked her, "I wonder if it's right to ask for something personal from a customer in this manner!"

She then turned a bit apologetic, and reasoned out. "When I go to Rajasthan, I can show my friends the foreign coin."

"But still, isn't it a personal thing?" I asked her.

She then quickly said, "Uncle might have more such coins at home."

The elderly man, probably not wanting to have with him something that someone is longing for, readily parted with the penny, saying there are many more such coins at home, and that his son works in the US.

As we walked back, the incident left both of us thinking why she suddenly wanted to have the coin for herself.


  1. I praise the old man for parting with the coin to accommodate the sales lady.

    1. Yes, that was generous. He could very well have stayed behind and let me go and buy that envelope.

  2. Elderly Uncle was very cool but the lady, indeed mannerless

    1. Ankita, even I thought she was a but short on etiquette. But I also wonder if only people like us label such behaviour a rude. To be fair to her, she probably was innocently asking for the coin to keep as a souvenir.

  3. It's a nice incident Uncle.
    In fact, the elderly Man seems quite kind and polite.

    But I guess the Lady at the shop was 'fascinated' with having something like a Souvenir of a foreign country.
    So she asked that Man for it :)

    1. Sure, Akshita, she was very fascinated. But what struck me was the way quickly expressed a desire to own the coin.

  4. At the cost of being branded an MCP I would like to say that women are indeed attracted to shining objects (objects that reflect light in an attractive manner). Eg: Precious metals, precious and semi-precious stones

    1. Well, well. I guess even men get attracted by shining objects.

  5. Pradeep, just a fancy, an attraction for something which caught the eye and she was bold enough. But what is more interesting is the way in which you narrated. Very simple incidents in our day to day life, some which we choose to ignore, some which makes us ponder.

  6. I too want that coin
    When I come to Bangalore next please introduce me that uncle.

  7. Good one. But why she wanted the coin? Probably to show off

  8. I liked the way she was open .. And I think innocent too ... She wanted something that she'd never seen before and was open about it. Probably to show off to her friends in Rajasthan like she admits.