The Samosa Vendor - A Short Story by Meera Ravichandran


The Samosa Vendor

“Today in India its unbelievable .......
The numbers are a little difficult to swallow, ......
But interesting nevertheless.”

It was my regular train journey home from work.
I boarded the 18:50pm train from Paranur.
When the train was about to leave Guduvanchery,
A samosa vendor with an empty basket got on and took
the seat next to me.
As 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 God'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 .75 paise 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 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 .75 paise each,
He makes about 2,000 rupees daily, or 60,000 rupees a month.
That's Rs. 60,000 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 75 paise 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.
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
Urupakkam for 10 lakh rupees and I sold it a few months back for 60 lakhs.
Now I have bought land in Uthiramerur for 20 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."

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, 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
Millionaire! The train chugged into Chromepet station
And the samosa vendor got up from his seat.

Vendor: "Sir, this is my station...have a good day."
Me: "Take care."

What more is there to say...!

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