SURESH RAMPHUL

On a large piece of paper stuck on a stand, they have drawn a bottle. Just below it, in colour, you see the words “Vot 3 Bouteilles”. The paper is displayed in a place where everyone will see it. However, the next time you pass by the shop, something immediately attracts your attention.  Someone has mischievously added, in a different colour, and in bold, the word “Rhum”. It’s meant to be a piece of humour but the proprietor of the shop comments, “Pa fasil ek sa bann dimounn zordi zour la.”

“Pa gagn drwa kol lafis lor kolonn.” Someone has cut out the word “Pa”, making it possible for him to stick his “lafis lor kolonn”.

“Pa zet salte isi”. People are used to throwing rubbish in front of his yard. His message is clear. But someone has covered the word “Pa” with paint, which means that people continue to get rid of their rubbish there. Frustrated and helpless, the owner of the yard, shaking his head, says, “Dan Moris, ou kapav fer bourik konpran, me avan ou fer sertin morisien konpran, mari bez mo dir ou!”

Here’s a case of looking at a situation in two ways. One pound of pumpkin is sold at Rs 15.00. Two pounds would be Rs 30.00. The seller, to make a concession, offers two pounds at Rs 25.00. His intention is good. A buyer arrives, wants to have a pound and is immediately served. He hands over a coin of Rs 20.00. The seller gives him back Rs 5.00. The buyer is visibly shocked. Where is the rest? What rest are you talking about? the seller asks. An argument ensues. The buyer insists that he must be given an additional Rs 2.50 because half of Rs 25.00 is Rs 12.50. The buyer says he is being cheated. The argument gets hot. Onlookers are confused. Who are they going to side with? Finally, the buyer demands his money back. Pushing the piece of pumpkin towards the seller in his rage, he says, “gard ou kouyonad”.

A middle-aged woman arrives at the door of a shop. She seems to be at a loss. She has things to purchase but she cannot enter as she is not wearing a mask. The proprietor’s wife approaches her and inquires what she needs. The customer mentions a few items. The woman calculates the price. It’s about twenty or thirty rupees. If a customer is not wearing a mask, the rules must be applied. There’s no question of endangering her health.  You just wait here and I’ll bring the things for you, she says. But before she can leave, the customer pulls out a paper on which is a long list of things to buy. I need these things too, she says. In the other hand, she has a one-thousand rupee note. The proprietor’s wife has her eyes fixed on the note. She looks at the list of items and calculates that the amount would not be less than Rs 900.00.

The customer says she had better go to another shop. She takes her list and turns her back to go. The proprietor’s wife loses no time in stopping her.

“You can come in,” she says with utmost politeness.

“But it’s written over there that I cannot enter without a mask,” protests the customer.

“Don’t worry, don’t worry. Just walk in. For you, we make an exception.” She cannot take her eyes off the one-thousand rupee note still in the hand of the customer. “Walk around. Take your time. If you encounter any problem, just ask. We are here to help you.”

She appears enthusiastic and wrings her hands as a schoolgirl who has just received her first gift.

Who says money doesn’t talk?

One candidate for the coming election has stuck, a little bit everywhere in the village, pieces of printed paper, with his photo, inviting people to vote for him. Someone who obviously doesn’t like him has drawn a mustache and written with a marker certain words to make you believe that the person is a cheater. It’s character assassination and as such, it’s something to be discouraged.

Some old electronic materials are lying by the side of a road since months now. They are an eyesore apart from posing a real threat to the health of people living in the surroundings. A sensible message, with an appealing tone, meant for the scavenger, has been written on the wall, “Ramas mwa, matlo!”