For now just oil, the rest of the list we will see tomorrow! The list that mom gave was very clear and easy to understand. Rani took the list and a big shopping bag and left. Her real name was Purva but her pet name was Rani, everyone called her Rani. Rani was very strong-headed, actually, her tantrums were always fulfilled even before she expressed them. But still, she was very adamant. The store was just a few yards behind Rani’s house while walking towards the store she had a million thoughts in her mind. ‘Mom things that I hardly do any work around the house, now see how I will complete all the tasks at and prove her wrong’.

 She reached the store but got a little too overwhelmed there were 3-4 storekeepers and 8-10 customers. Rani tried to call out to the storekeepers but nothing. She was not used to this. She had never ever been to a store before, and if she ever went she always had their servant with her. He used to make sure all the things on the list are bought. All Rani used to do is, point at the things she wanted. But today the servant was on a holiday and her mom wanted to make some fritters. It was Rani’s tantrum to eat fritters 

She felt a little humiliated, whenever she used to go out with her father she used to get water, a chair to sit. Here she was ignored and standing under the scorching sun. She saw the store’s owner sitting at the cash register. He was sitting idle, playing games on his mobile phone. If by chance someone asked him for anything he would look at one of the storekeepers his employees with apathy in his eyes ignoring the customer. Rani went ahead and approached him and said “Hey I need all these items that are there in this list and a little quickly I am in a hurry”. The owner was as rude as her. To tell the owner to get things for her and that too with so much arrogance. “ Why is it that you have to be in such a hurry? And by the way who are you?” Rani ran her fingers through her hair and told him about her father and his shop along with his annual financial transaction details. “ and not just that as soon as I get the things on this list mom is going to make fritters with the oil that is there in this list” The owner got angrier now not as much at the girl but more her father’s money more. He spat at her saying “Go get lost come in the evening”. By this sentence Rani was a bit taken aback, she didn’t expect him to say anything like this her father treated customers so well and he is a big man, and this man who has such a small shop how dare he treats me like this “Get lost, is that how you talk with me, I was going to be a profitable customer for you, I wanted to buy things of at least Rs. 1000 from you!” The owners smirked a little and went back to playing his game. 

  Rani in a feat of rage started walking away from the shop now without buying any oil. She never liked it when her father used to be all humble towards a customer but she had understood the reason why he did it. She now didn’t know how to control her anger. If she went home without the oil then this would be a battle lost. There was no other shop nearby that was open she knew. And rest she knew if she wanted another shop she would have to walk a lot. It was a really hot sunny day. She in her mind decided something and went again to the same shop, this time she went right inside. The owner yelled at her “ are you out of your mind?” Rani ignored him more than he was ignoring other customers before, and she started taking out things that were on her list. She could not differentiate between the lentils so she started out with the simpler items like dry coconut, peanuts, etc. in a few seconds she could hear people murmur behind her, people from the locality knew her as the gold store owner’s daughter. Rani was having fun. She was used to these people praising her even if she sneezes. Now her confidence rose and she turned to the lentils and the legumes. The store owner now wanted her out of his store. It didn’t bother her if the quantity was correct for the things that she was picking. He told is employees to get her out of the store, “If you keep acting this way, I will call the police.” He said. Rani stopped. Became a little composed went close to him looked into his eyes and said, “Your employees were busy so I told you to get my list, what did I do wrong? But you didn’t bother to pay any heed, you told a genuine customer to get lost. You have such a big ego. So I helped myself, what did I do wrong”. She took her stuff put it in her bag and started leaving. “My dad will pay you for the things that I took, you can collect it later from my home” the store owner was speechless. 

Barely managing the weight of the shopping bag Rani entered the door and she was greeted with a big hug by her father, “today daddy made sure that he is home early just for his princess Rani”. Rani was super happy she wanted to tell her father what happened today but the mood of the hour was different. Her father made her sit next to him and asked her what she wanted for her birthday!!  The house was filled with delicious fritter aroma. Yesterday she was gonna ask for a car just for herself with a chauffeur, but today her mind was changed. 

The doorbell rang and today mom had given the maid Resham a day off too so that it will be just the family together. Hence daddy opened the door. “Oh, sir come in please, what gets you here today?” Rani peeped through the door and she saw the store owner standing in the living room. Daddy made him sit down offered him fritters, water, and the teapot was also made to put on the gas for tea. The owner was a bit surprised and told that Rani had visited the shop today and said the bill was Rs.1800, Rani thought this was trouble. But daddy paid him the money and didnt say a word. Mom gave the store owner sweet and the owner asked “What is sweet for?” “It’s our daughter Rani’s birthday today.” My father very happily started telling him the sweets are not just for her birthday but also for a new business that I am starting today.” “I had bought the commercial space next to your shop a long time back and today Rani has asked me to set up a grocery store in that spot. Today was the first time she had gone grocery shopping, she must have loved the experience!”. The store owner was a bit disappointed with himself when he heard this statement. He wanted to get out of the house as soon as possible. He stepped out of the door when he overheard Rani’s dad say “See what I always say, the customer is your god, we should keep his example in mind, such a good man he came by himself to take money from us when he could have just sent his employees over. This brings success!!”.

You just read the translated version of Marathi article ‘Malak’, written by Sayali Kedar.

Translation by – Mrunmayee Bhave.

Apart from writing I love to go on bike rides and have coffee with unending conversations.

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