I was standing in the queue at a book store in Melbourne. The cashier was attending an old customer, probably in his 80s. The cashier looked like a South East Asian woman. He was talking about his reading habits, his hobbies and so many different things. I always find it fascinating the way Australians speak, they got such a heavy accent. I was listening to their conversation. The way he was talking it appeared to me that they knew each other for a long time. During the conversation she was not showing any sign of hurry and was listening to every word of him and was acknowledging wherever necessary. The entire conversation lasted not less than 15 minutes. Finally he thanked her and bade her good bye.
As soon as he left she attended me. She apologized for keeping me waiting for such a long time. When I told that there was no reason for her to apologize because she was attending a customer after all, she mentioned that there are many old people like that gentleman, who often visit their store and buy books only because they want to talk. They have nobody to talk to in their homes, they live alone, all by themselves. She could not help them in any way other than listening to them as long as they wanted to talk. When I inquired about their children she mentioned that their children probably visit them once a year or could be even less.
Author: Mintu Ghoshal
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