Samosa vendor

by Michelle Fortes

‚Äč’The Samosa Vendor’

At Mumbai it was my regular train journey home from work. I boarded the 18:50pm train from ChurchGate. When the train was about to leave the next station, MarineLines, a samosa vendor with an empty basket got on and took the seat next to me. The compartment was sparsely occupied and my destination was still far away. I got into a conversation with him.

Me: “Seems like you’ve sold all your samosas today.”

Vendor (smiling): “Yes, by Almighty’s grace, full sales today.”

Me: “I really feel sorry for you people. Don’t you get tired doing this tiresome job the whole day?”

Vendor: “What to do, Sir? Only by selling samosas like this every day do we get a commission of 1 rupee for each samosa that we sell.”

Me: “Oh, is that so? How many samosas do you sell on an average each day?”

Vendor: “On peak week days, we sell 4,000 to 5,000 samosas per day.

On an average, we sell about 3,000 samosas a day.”

I was speechless for a few seconds. The guy says he sells 3,000 samosas a day; at 1 rupee each, he makes about 3,000 rupees daily, or 90,000 rupees a month. OMG! I intensified my questioning and this time it was not for time pass.

Me: “Do you make the samosas yourself?”

Vendor: “No Sir, we gets the samosas through a samosa manufacturer and we just sell them. After selling we give him the money and gives us 1 rupee for each samosa that we sell.”

I was unable to speak a single word more but the vendor continued …

“But one thing, most of our earnings are spent on living expenses here at Bombay. Only with the remaining money are we able to take care of other business.”

Me: “Other business? What is that?”

Vendor: “It is a land business. In 2007 I bought 1.5 acres in Palghar for 10 lakh rupees and I sold it a few months back for 80 lakhs. Now I have bought land in Umroli for 40 lakh rupees.”

Me: “What did you do with the remaining amount?

Vendor: “Of the remaining amount,

I have set aside 20 lakhs for my daughter’s wedding. I have deposited the other 20 lakhs in the bank, post office, mutual funds, gold and bought cash back insurance.”

Me: “How much schooling have you had?”

Vendor: “I studied up to third standard; I stopped my studies when I was in the 4th standard.

But I know how to read and write. Sir, there are many people like yourself, who dress well, wear a tie and suit, wear shoes, speak English fluently and work in air-conditioned rooms. But I don’t think you guys earn as much as we do wearing dirty clothes and selling samosas.”

At this point, what could I reply. After all, I was talking to a True Indian Millionaire! 

The train chugged into Bandra  station and the samosa vendor got up from his seat.

Vendor: “Sir, this is my station, I have a flat here. Have a good day.”

Me: “Take care.” 

And the train chugged on to my station where I had a flat, 20 kms further up north. 

Welcome To The Real India !!!

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