We made a new friend recently, a real self-made businessman. He is short, has a moustache, very high voice and loves laughing at his own jokes. He comes to the institute to sell yoga props and clothes (as do many others), waiting outside on the street, next to his bike, huge smile on his face, T-shirts on display on the handle bar of the bike, greeting everybody who passes by.
My Hungarian colleagues knew him from before and wanted to buy shorts and props but before we could discuss this with him, he came to our apartment one Sunday afternoon. It was somewhat frightening that he knew our home address without us giving it to him (I guess it must have been our landlady letting him know) but on the other hand we wanted to buy many things so we were happy that he came.
As soon as he entered the apartment, he opened his pretty green backpack and placed a whole range of clothes and objects on the floor. He was doing it better than Mary Poppins pulling out objects from her bag, made of carpet.
When it dawned on him that we want to buy a bunch of things, he said that he would come back the following day and together we would take a rickshaw to his home where he has the whole selection of his goods. So this is what we did and we arrived to a very, very modest one-bedroom flat where his whole family (wife and daughter) were at home and they assisted to the whole business affair.
The men went into the inner room, which did not seem to have any beds in it (I guess they use a mat that they put aside for the day. The wife, daughter and me stayed in the living that is outer room. When we arrived, everything was nicely arranged, T-shirts neatly folded away on a shelf but soon the whole floor was covered in shorts and T-shirts, they took out new plastic bags full of clothes every two minutes, no apparent logic in them. (Is it by size, colour or pattern? Who knows...)
Meanwhile the same thing happened in the inner room just with yoga props. The whole surface of the floor covered in objects and the father asking his daughter to calculate the total of our orders instead of doing her homework.
Once we made all the orders, we wanted to pay. I didn't have enough rupees on me, so promised to give it to him the following day when he would deliver my colleague's big order. By the time he came again to our house, he forgot that I still owed him two thirds of the money. I was thinking if this is how he is conducting business, he won't get very far with it. And yet it was a really uplifting feeling that somebody trusted his fellow human beings so much that he could afford to do business like this. I really hope he never has to be disappointed in his life!
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My month in Pune, India