The other day, I went to a standup comedy show at Canvas Laugh Factory, Mumbai, to bring in my birthday in a laughing mode. It was the best start to my special day. As much as you enjoy laughing your guts out, the acts boost your creative juices as well.
So one of the comedians had a take on the way Indians can bargain things and get freebies and it got me thinking. Yeah, right...we are the best in this, and proudly so! The height of coincidence was this - We went for the 8.30 show and it was so awesome I was wondering if we could watch the 10.30 Sketchy Behaviour show as well. But then, we came all the way from Panvel to Lower Parel, a 45-km drive, 2.30 hours to reach in traffic. Driving back post midnight was a concern. And of course, the fact that we would have to shell out another INR 1500. Oops, it was a tough decision.
And as luck would have it, at the end of the show they announced that the audience gets to attend the next show for free. FREE. Pinch me. I waited for them to repeat it. They did. After they said it for the third time, I realised it was not a joke. I wanted to jump on to the stage and scream Yippee, but then we Indians know how to get something for free and hide the excitement with our eyes saying, "No big deal, I would have bought it anyway!"
The fact is, as much as I would have been tempted to, I wouldn't have. Coz deep within my heart I knew that with those 'saved' INR 1500 I could have done so much. Bought a new top even if there was no discount. A few drinks. 18.5 litres of Pertol (again, glad that it is cheaper here in Navi Mumbai, go be jealous!). 125 Samosa pavs. 1500 Cadbury eclairs.
See, I said it was a tough decision. What would you have done? Don't tell me, "Oh of course, I would have bought the tickets. It's not about money all the time. One must have fun too. I am not kanjoos." Yeah, right! We all are the personification of the phrase Muft ka chandan ghis mere nandan! Meaning - we love to get something free of cost!
But I was not always like this. Seriously. While in college, I was the one to look down upon aunties who would bargain incessantly with the shopkeepers. I found the idea of asking for free curry leaves with coriander really cheap. But now I have grown up. You call me aunty, now give me free curry leaves! Throw in a couple of mirchi and a piece of ginger too. How about a lemon? What's the harm in trying ; )
I guess age does that to you. Or the home loan EMIs. And then the deep realisation that by getting something free you are not being inconsiderate to the poor vendor. He will not agree to bargain or give something for free if he's not making profit, right?