16 Mar 2009

How to be a 100% dilliwalah (Suggestion No. 9)

Never have change.

When the shopkeeper or autowalah or the petrol pump attendant asks you for that one rupee just shake your head. You can pretend to look in your pocket or inside the car and then shake your head again. Then he might ask you for two rupees. Shake your head again. By this time he will give up. However if he is die hard dilliwalah, here is your challenge. Who will blink first? Fish out the change? Or will you give it up and walk away?

When the entire country is using coins of all kinds - 50p, one ruppee etc - this is the only city where everyone claims he has no change. In any other place you will be returned the change. But not here. Where does all the loose change disappear in this city? Is there some guy stacking it all up in a basement in Tilak Nagar and becoming a millionaire every year? Or is it being gobbled by the black hole of Dilli?

First they will look for it and when they cannot find it they will tell you that they will adjust it in the next sale. Or they will ask you to forget it. If you get angry they will empty their pockets or their purse or their cash box. Be it morning, afternoon or even closing time no one has change.

I understand that due to inflation most of the small change is worthless to you and me. But in many countries in Europe in the US this change is given as tip or to charity. That way it remains in circulation. But not according to Dilli. Good change is change that remains with you and does not roam freely in the city.

In case you are desperate there are two places to go for change. The panwalah and the Mother Dairy booth. But they will insist that you buy something. Unless you do that they will pretend they have no change either. So what will it be? A cigarette or some flavoured milk?

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