I've celebrated Deepavali in India, specifically in Madras, for most of my life. Waking up at the crack of dawn, oil bath, new clothes, sweets and the all the rest of it are still fresh in my mind. Funnily though, the one thing that I've never done is to go shopping for the crackers. Maybe because I've never been very keen on the different bombs or other noisy things. The task of buying even sparklers and flower pots was always outsourced to dad, uncle, brother, driver etc..
What a shock I got when I saw at a 'Discount Firecrackers Store' here in Bangalore that the cost of 1 box of 10 flower pots was Rupees 700! I realized that I may walk out with just that and a box of sparklers. Thinking that I need to return with more cash, I was on my way out but was stopped by the owner.
Yenna madam, what do you want?
Illai, I don't have enough money, I'll come back. (He prob thought that this was a precursor to a long drawn out haggling session)!
No, we give a 70% discount on the printed prices and I'll give you more discount if you buy a lot.
Ok, so now this kind of made sense...or did it?! That meant that for the printed price on 1 box, I would actually get 5! And this applied across the board, on whatever kind of firecracker one wanted to buy. 5 boxes of flower pots and chakras each, 10 boxes of sparklers and 5 boxes of 'shaatai' later, I was at the billing counter feeling mighty thrilled about my first ever 'pattaas' purchase! My joy was short-lived because the bill presented to me was for Rupees 1850. I was figuring out what I should return to the shelf when he said, 'it's ok madam, you please take this for 1500'.
Was his generosity because this is the season for giving and sharing, because I was probably the first 'boni' for the day or because he still made a killing on the sale because I suck at bargaining????