“BHOP. Don’t you dare to talk in between while I am talking to my son” my friend’s father suddenly roared at the salesman.
“BHOP” is not a word which could probably be found in the dictionary of any language, it is a sound commonly made to chase dogs when they bark in the middle of the night or to chase two fighting cats away.
It was just before Durga Puja, the most important festival of West Bengal. My friend with his two brothers, three sisters and their mother went with his father to a shop at a place called Khidderpore in Calcutta. In the shop, clothes and dresses were sold at a discounted price. His father wanted to buy something for everyone before the festival. While selecting pants and shirts for his sons, the father decided to buy very large sized dresses, almost two sizes bigger than what should ideally fit his sons, thinking that his sons, who were very young and growing should be able to wear them for a long time. But my friend and his brothers were very displeased with their father’s decision to buy dresses which were so large thinking that no sooner would they go out wearing those pants and shirts than other boys would start making fun of them and would spoil the mood of the festival. But they had no courage to tell anything to their father. But they looked so sad that anybody, looking at their faces would realize that they were almost crying. The salesman, who was helping my friend’s family in choosing their dresses had perceived this and politely suggested his father to buy dresses which would fit his sons. My friend’s father shouted so loud and it was so sudden that the salesman shuddered, other customers turned their heads towards them, the owner of the store, who was keeping an eye on every customer, standing at a distance came running; after listening to his customer’s grievance and the reason for him to get upset and probably also realizing the business potential from the customer, he apologized on behalf of the salesman, asked the salesman to remain quiet and not to talk in between unless he was asked. The salesman felt so embarrassed and humiliated that he did not utter a single word as long as my friend and his family were in the shop.
Lesson learnt: When it roars it can make people shiver and also quiet them down.
One of my big brothers, out of three, had his unique way of buying shoes. As the first step he would select the design and the right size. Then he would ask the salesman to show him a pair of shoes having the same design but just one size bigger. “Is this one a little tight?” the salesman would ask. “No, I am just curious to know how one size bigger would fit” my brother would reply. When the salesman would show him the next size, without even wearing it for once he would check the price, which would be printed somewhere in the shoe. In most cases the prices of shoes having the same design, remains unchanged for two to three consecutive sizes. If the price of the one size bigger shoe were the same as the one which had perfectly fitted my brother, which always used to be, my brother would ask for the next size. By that time the salesman would go out of his wit, completely; just like a robot he would go and get the next size. In this way my brother would get hold of the largest sized pair for the same price and without any exception he would buy the largest one. His idea was very simple and convincing, not to others, of course. If for the same price he could buy a larger sized pair having more material, why should he buy a smaller one? When he walked wearing the shoes he looked like a person walking with a gait.
Probably that is one of its side effects.
Author: Mintu Ghoshal
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