I don’t remember how I met her. I have thought about it often. But I just can’t remember where or when I met her. I don’t remember her name either.
She had grey hair that she wore in a bun. she wore blue and white check print sarong and a blouse.
She would come home once every few weeks. I would have collected what she needed by then.
She would sit on the floor near the gate and wait for me to come back from school.
I never knew when she would turn up.
But always looked to see if she was outside, as I walked down the road to my house.
I loved her smile when she saw me coming. her face would light up.
She would ask me as soon as I came near her, how many?
and I would tell her how many I got.
You see, my job was to collect pakku (betel nuts) for her. We had few Areca trees and I would collect all the betel nuts for her.
She paid me 35 paise for 7 betel nuts. I don’t know how we worked out how much she should pay me. I was happy with the 35 paise and she was happy with 7 betel nuts. Sometimes I didn’t have 7 betel nuts and she would give me less money. Sometimes I had more than 7 and she would still give me 35 paise. It never bothered me.
she and I used to talk.
She told me about Konkani language and that it doesn’t have a script per se. I didn’t even know then that there was such a language!
She taught me the conversion of ana and kasu.
She always left before Amma came home.
The 35 paise she gave was enough for me to buy 2 bubble gum.
When I was in the 6th grade there was a new bubble gum in the market. Two coloured gum, wrapped in a waxy paper. There were rumours at that time that the gum was laced with narcotics to get the kids addicted. Ha!
As soon as she leaves, I used to run to the shop and buy 2 bubble gum ( 15 paise each) and it was such a treat. I didn’t have to share it with my sisters because I earned it.!
I also saved the 5 paise, which amma will take on the pretext of buying this or that with a promise that she will return it later!
Then one day my friend stopped coming.
I collected the betel nuts for her for a full year.
Amma threw them out one fine morning.
I figured she won’t be coming again.
Then I forgot all about her.
This morning I remembered her, but couldn’t remember the name of the bubble gum.
But he remembered!
He did remember the name.
“Big Fun”
Big fun bubble gum!

6 thoughts on “hmm

  1. Big Fun was only 15 paise? 😮 Must have been ages ago? It was 1Re when i was a kid 🙂
    Dint mean to make you feel old or anything, your stories are enough to prove your youth! 🙂

  2. phoenix; i kind of remember it as double coloured..
    I agree..big fun was a big deal at that time..more so for me as I was really curious to know what drugs would do to me..(i really believed the rumors about the gum being laced with narcotics and since my attempt to try smoking a cig failed miserably, I was all the more keen to eat the gum.. alas, the only kick it ever gave me was the knowledge that I didn't hv to share the gum with my sisters)

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