Mani

When I had first arrived in Mumbai on a work assignment…..I was overwhelmed by the size and the ‘organised’ madness of the city.I know you would be wondering……I am an Indian and I should be used to the ‘chaotic’ way of living…..but even for us Indians our so called chaotic way of living experience falls flat….when it comes  to experiencing the mammoth city of contradictions called: Mumbai.

I like to call myself a writer, however in my initial days in Mumbai….I was mostly at loss for words.The crowded trains,never ending traffic jams,the pushing and shoveling,queues for queues……..and then among all this; I would hear loud pearls of laughter and celebration.I would turn around and see so many happy faces in the 24 x 7 rush hours of the city.One such day, when I was racking my small head to get some words out of it………..to make sense of this new disorder…, I met Mani.Mani was nine years old.

I was walking on the Marine Drive.Marine Drive is approximately five kilometers long boulevard along the coast of the Arabian sea in south of Mumbai.It’s a popular hang out among Mumbaikars .I sat on one of the chairs at the Marine Drive when young Mani came walking to me.He was wearing dirty white vest and grey torn pants.He was selling Tea to people.He came to me and asked if I would like to buy some tea.I said I don’t drink Tea.He gave me a puzzled look(yes..you would rarely come across an Indian who would say..they don’t drink Tea).He sat next to me and counted his earnings.I didn’t want to look like I was prying, so I looked from the corner of my eye and counted with him.He had about ninety five rupees.He caught me looking at his savings and gave me a wide grin.

“What are you going to do with the money?”(stupid question!…. but I wanted to talk)

Mani gave me a long stare then said that half of the money he would give to his elder sister and rest would go in his box.

“ah,is that your saving box?”

He grinned again.

“How much have you saved?”

He smiled and kept his earnings in his pant’s inner pocket and asked, ” How come you don’t drink Tea?”

Now, I gave him a wide smile.He picked his aluminium tea kettle and got up to leave and then he turned around and said, ” In mornings I deliver Tea at B and B stock brokers firm.I know all about bullish and bearish markets.I know the inside information of market.I know which companies stock will be going up tomorrow……………”

I stared at his face foolishly.He grinned and said, ” I am saving to invest.When I turn eighteen, I will invest in the share market and have my own stock brokers firm..till then I will learn all the information I need to know about investing.”

My mouth goes dry searching for words and Mani goImagees about selling his tea to people.

I wonder how many future financial investment bankers are selling tea today!?

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