Tag Archives: supermarket

And then there were none….

It is a lazy afternoon, and I am at the supermarket doing my usual grocery shopping (why do we run out of milk, bread and veggies so often ?) Anyway, here I am walking down one aisle and skipping the next, and then remembering some long forgotten thing, which I had wanted to buy two weeks ago (and obviously still haven’t), and rushing back to the said skipped aisle. And that’s how it goes, pushing the huge shopping cart, and loading it with stuff, nodding at people, exchanging polite smiles with others.

I feel thirsty, and take out my waterbottle from my handbag. I drink too much water, too soon. And then it starts, a sudden hiccup that startles me with its arrival…’EYHICK’…the weird sound comes out in a short, loud burst. I look around. Thankfully there’s no one in my aisle.

Picture courtesy – Clipground

Now I have to plan my next move as I am not sure when hiccup two…’EYHICK’….. oops! Much as I try to control them, the hiccups play truant. Just when I think they have subsided, out comes another EYHICK!

A lady who sees me EYHICK suddenly, smiles knowingly, probably looking at my startled expression. I walk the aisles shopping between EYHICKS that are not rhythmic.

When I finally make it to the cashier, there is a small queue of around six people. I join the line, all the time praying that I shouldn’t have another hiccup. People join behind me too! In just two minutes, another loud EYHICK launches itself on unsuspecting members of the queue. The lady before me stands unruffled. I see a few smiles and a few indifferent stares.

I hiccup two more times before I leave the supermarket. Ten metres outside the supermarket, the hiccups seem to have left me and moved on to another person.

Aaachooooo…..!

I am standing at the checkout line in the local supermarket. The line snakes both in front of me and behind me.  It is the weekend after all, and people are here to stock up.

I check my phone repeatedly for want of anything better to do. I keep refreshing my facebook page, my whatsapp and the news application.  The world is quiet, no ‘breaking news’. I resign myself to the long, boring wait.

I am soon distracted by a little baby in a pram. The baby is probably just a year and a half old.  She is so pretty – chubby cheeks and huge eyes that look like black grapes. She is gurgling, and chewing on a watermelon teething toy.

She smiles at her mom, hits the pram, and babbles on.

I am totally engrossed now, my body automatically moving along the line.

And as I watch, the little girl’s face suddenly contracts in preparation for a sneeze. And before she realizes it, the baby sneeze explodes out of her tiny frame.

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       Courtesy – http://www.gettyimages.in

The startled look on the baby’s face is priceless. She looks wonderingly as if saying, “Hey, what was that now?”

She continues her chewing, and I see it, and she senses it – a second sneeze is on its way. “Aaaachoooo”, she sneezes.

Now she laughs in wonder at what just happened. She claps her hands.

She is now prepared for the next one, but the sneeze quota seems to have dried up. The baby forgets and is soon rubbing her eyes.

I finally manage to reach the cashier. As I carry my bags and walk out I look back to see that the little girl has fallen asleep.

Sometimes there are more interesting things to observe than constantly refreshing one’s phone.

Exchanging Notes – A Short Story

Ted covered his ears with the blanket, as the clanking of pots and pans from the kitchen started. According to the WMS (Wife Mood Scale), the clanking pans indicated that she was very angry. The verbal assault would start soon.

He pulled his tired body out from the warm bed, and ambled to the bathroom to shower in peace, before he faced the tirade.

Breakfast was just two slices of bread with some cheese thrown in. They were struggling to make ends meet and his lassitude was not helping any.

His wife worked as a part time nanny and part time domestic help in a few houses, but with both of them in their sixties and no savings, things were not looking great.

He had arthritis and struggled with knee pain. So, he did not last too long in any job.

Today was Friday, and the local supermarket received goods from all its suppliers on Fridays, so extra hands to unload were always required. Ted usually managed to get there early and earn a few hours of pay from the unloading and wheeling.

His knees hurt as he walked to the supermarket. It took him a good twenty minutes to get there, but he was in good time and signed up for the day.

Around 11 a.m. they were given a tea break. As he went to the wash room and ambled to the vending machine, he saw someone waving in his direction. He walked over. The man was tall and thin, wearing faded jeans and a black t-shirt.

“What?” asked Ted.

“Need a quick favour. I am one of the truck drivers who’s brought in supplies. I need small change to buy cigarettes, could you get me change for $50 from the cashier. I will give you a pack of cigarettes in return. I would go myself, but I need to be here to supervise the unloading. Company rules, you know?” he said.

Ted hadn’t smoked in a long time. He suddenly ached for a smoke. The old woman had taken away all these simple pleasures from his life by keeping track of every single penny.

The truck driver gave him the $50. Ted nodded and walked towards the cash counter. He knew Jenny very well and winked at her as he joined the short queue. When he reached the counter, he asked her for change. She asked after his health and gave him five ten dollar notes.

He went back and gave it to the truck driver, who came back in a few minutes, thrust a cigarette pack in Ted’s hand and walked away.

Ted was very happy as he imagined how it would feel to smoke after such a long time.

In the evenings, usually peace reigned in Ted’s home, as the day’s tensions ebbed away and both husband and wife sat down in companionable silence, to watch the news and a couple of other programs that were available for free.

As they watched the local news, Ted’s heart nearly stopped, when he heard that the police had traced some counterfeit notes circulating in the town, and that they had hit upon the gang’s modus operandi –  they exchanged counterfeit notes for smaller change. The supermarket where Ted worked was mentioned. The report said that the police would soon start finger-printing workers at all these locations, to help them with the case.

Ted’s blood ran cold as he suddenly remembered that he had touched the note. There was another thing that had struck him as odd, when the driver had given him the $50 – he had been wearing a pair of gloves. Now it made complete sense.

Ted decided to be sick with unbearable knee pain for the next few days. Metal pots clanking in the kitchen and facing a 100 on the WMS was an infinitely better choice than spending time behind metal bars.

He braced himself.

Frenemies!

I was in the supermarket last week doing my shopping. As I walked down the aisle that contained baking items, I saw two teenagers, a girl, who was around 15  and a boy, presumably her brother,  around 13.

They were deeply engrossed in reading a long list of items, which they had presumably come to buy. I smiled and went back to my shopping list.

Suddenly, I heard hoarse whispers and some heavy shuffling. I turned back to see the siblings engaged in a silent argument, they were wrestling with the shopping cart and then, the boy tried to snatch the shopping list from his sister.

There was the sound of tearing paper as the list gave-in to the pressure of being pulled at from two sides. It split exactly at the middle, probably because it had been folded there.

The boy walked away, with his half of the list, to get another shopping cart. The girl turned away in a huff, with her half of the list and the shopping cart.

I was quite amused by now and as I did my shopping, I kept bumping into them, in turns. After sometime, I caught the girl staring at the list and moving it away from her face, and then bringing it close and inspecting it. At that moment the brother  walked into the same aisle. He also looked puzzled.

Curious now, I watched. Both of them did not want to give in. They stared at each other for a while.

Finally, the girl said, “Give me the list, the paper is torn midway, and I can’t figure the item written, where it tore.”

The boy smirked and refused.  The girl assumed her elder sisterly tone and said, “Suit yourself, you will have no part to play in this treat for mom then.”

The little brother watched and suddenly, he walked up to her with the cart, threw all the items from his cart into hers, and took out $ 20 from his pocket and shoved it into her hands.

He said, “Take that. I am doing this for mom and not for you ok?”  He walked away.

The sister smiled in victory, she joined the two pieces and said, “Oh! It was cinnamon.”

Now with her ego appeased, she ran after her brother and said, “Ok, I’m sorry. Please? It’s no fun without you.”

The boy slowly nodded, they high-fived, and then walked away with their shopping cart.

After about twenty minutes, as I stood in line to pay, I saw those siblings leave the supermarket, laughing and talking.

I smiled. Brothers and sisters, now friends, now enemies.