Last night, I was at the local paanwallah getting a ‘meetha paan’ for a friend.
The paanwallah was making the paan when suddenly a guy walks up and asks for two packets of cigarettes. The pw hands them over and the guy starts walking away. On being asked for payment, the guy replies that he is getting the money, pointing to an idling autorickshaw where his friend is waiting.
Now this paanshop is about 30 feet away from the road and the paanwallah and I watch as this guy goes to his friend and they both pretend to look for money in the glove box.
And just as I was beginning to get a bad feeling about it, the guy gets in and they drive off.
The paanwallah is too shocked to react and frankly, there is nothing he could have done. He has the most painful expression on his face and asks me, “Kya kare bhaisaab” which sort of catches me offguard.
I reply that there is nothing he can do about it and that he should treat is as a learning experience, and in the future, refrain from giving stuff without payment first.
The guy almost seems ready to cry and I am tempted to give him an extra 100 bucks but something stops me from doing it.( I reason it out in my head that it will probably help him in ‘internalizing’ the learning if he suffers the loss)
Such is life in Gurgaon (and i guess in a lot of other places).

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