The 1940’s movie mentioned in the title of my post stands for one of my all time fav classics about a strange love story that brews between two people who on the face cannot stand each other. The entire narration about shop that witnesses their wrath and also their love as they secretly read each others letters, in the garb of pen friendship, is quite a fairy tale.

But then again this post is not about any fairy tale brewing in my neighborhood shop. It is all about that Mota seth sitting on the white gadda with a exam board clipping lots of snippets of white papers and that age old “Reynolds” pen as he takes down my order.

Ya there’s no super mall ambience over there, there are no posh interiors. It’s a rather small shop cramped with spices, condiments and other retail goods, sans all lavish aisles and modern amenities, yet I prefer this to my neighborhood hyper mart and the Mota seth still wins over my heart.

I stand there and patiently hand over the slip that enlists my requirements. There is no need of any trolley tugging. Nor there are events of any cursing at the parents who seek to amuse themselves more than their toddlers by placing them on the car shaped trolleys, that consume half of the aisle space at the marts! There are no irritating attendants who will make you run from pillar to post when you ask for a particular item and when furious will calmly explain that even they are confused owing to constant rearrangement of aisles! Here’s there’s a Bhaiya who exactly knows which item is there in which rack and shall diligently pull it out in two minutes, while you decide to eavesdrop on a neighborhood aunty bitching about her daughter-in-law over phone to somebody, or enjoying your smoke with fresh sugarcane juice by the road side. There are also no long queues and tedious bag checking and luggage deposits, which make you tired even before you set your foot in the shop, here you stand where you wish and as you wish!

If you seek to hint at availability of exotic items, well there to the man amuses me. He stocks the fruit loops (yea I still love them!), which are not available at the mart and his refrigerator (which I assume was purchased much before my parents decided to conceive me!) stocks the best Kraft cheese which even the “imported selections” of the mart at times misses.

Nobody stares at you here, when you ask if the paneer is fresh and it’s perfectly normal to sniff it and a taste a bit of the same before deciding on your purchase. You can easily communicate to him what your mother said about the stale spices he provided last week and while he vehemently might disagree, he shall put in a sample of freshly ground spices as proof of his word, even if you don’t need it assuring you that he wont charge you for it!

There’s no register here that notes down your special requirements (which only lie there and never reach your kitchen shelves), but a Chotu who would be sent scurrying to the stock yard to cull out your requirements and would also be sent home later, just to deliver that. Oh did I mention there is no fixed amount for ‘free home delivery’ over here and just as 1 packet of salt is sent on priority when you have the curry on the burner, your monthly stock are also sent over if you need them in multiple bags!
There are no separate counters to collect your free gifts, and neither do you have to ‘prove’ over here if the guy at the counter missed packing in an item which you discovered only later at home! Just a call to the seth in a sweet voice and Lo! There’s Chotu at your doorstep with the ‘free’ gift or ‘missed’ item!

There are no queues at the counter, nor are there irritating customers who insist that 5 packets of a single brand of biscuit is actually one item when you point out the same to them standing under the ‘express counter’ board! Here you mainly hand over the slip, go roam about the market to finish other chores and come to merely pay (and yes change is always readily available) and walk off.

Aah, just before leaving there are no lavish floorings, just are there no mind-boggling car park where trolleys are not allowed. Here you park your car just bang opposite the shop and if parking is not available there’s always a Chotu available! Oh yea, there’s also an additional 10% discount, when you remind him that he’s not taking care of old customers ;p!

He might not know English, his shop might still lay Bhojpuri songs and he still might be confused whether to call you Behneji or Bhabhiji (I have seen it depends on his mood and the number of customers he is dealing with at the moment). There also might not be long aisles with lavish things on display, but he still wins my heart!

The Shop around the Corner is still my favorite. I wish I could right now go and hug Mota seth, but then I am learning to listen to Y when he says I need to control my emotions at times!

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21 thoughts on “The Shop Around the Corner

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  1. First 😀 Will go read it now!

  2. @DI: Lolz… ya first!! you are on a roll today 🙂 …. hopefully you'll also let me know how u liked it!!!

  3. 😀 Just finished it, and loved it! Totally reminded me of 'Mottai kadai' in Meerut, which stands for 'Baldie's shop' in tamil :)Even when we were really little, mom would hand over the list, and tell us, 'he will know what to give' and he always did! It was awesome!Just day before at yper city, the guy refused to give us the chicken frankfurters (which I love) 'cos the system would not pick up the right amount to bill 😦 I was like , 'type it in', but no, it doesn't work that way apparently!And ofcourse, the kirana store would also drop in a couple of candies in the bag when we left! 😀

  4. @DI: He he… 😀 Thanks.. and yes they still know what to give to each customer… Don’t even talk of hyper marts.. big sham places I feel! And yes can totally recollect the candy scene myself… although the cheek pulls by the owner used to bug me, but I kept quiet let he didn’t give me candies or the colorful rubber bands (yea I used to love them n use them as a catapult for my sis’s bum ;p)

  5. Hehe. Now I know what you meant by your comment at Piyu's blog. ;)Nice post this was. I know what you mean. Our Kirana shop guy is SO damn efficient. One glance at the basket, and he has the bill ready.Something's never change. It's for the best! 🙂

  6. @Preeti: *sigh* yes brevity is not for me.. size does matter for me ;p …. Welcome and thanks so much… yup truly said ‘some things never change’ and strangely we are glad so glad for it!!!

  7. I luvvvv fruit loops too. Gng to read the rest of the post 😛

  8. LOL .. So, u hv controlled ur emotions nw eh :PI luvvv the shop arnd the corner too :DHe used to hv so many varieties of chikkis and other such things which these stupid malls dnt!!! So fresh @ that 😀

  9. @Swaram: Fruit loops 😀 Really? N I thought I would sound so demented n weird!!! As for the controlled emotions – ahem of course!!! Lolz… I think I blew a kiss in the direction of mota seth’s shop while driving to work and thinking of this post today 😛

  10. I too feel that sometimes Sagarika, if I want to buy just bread and eggs, why should walk 5 aisles, get confused by the options, buy muffins(which I dont need) then stand in a queue to pay. Why can't I just say 'Bhaiya ek Wibbs aur 6 ande' and get over with it? :DAwesome comparisons 😀

  11. @CR: Thanks 🙂 even I wonder at time as to how we claim that innovation has simplified lives…. Wish Mota Seth read this to realize how much he is loved! 😛

  12. Mine too. We had a baniya ka dukaan right next door back in Patna. And a couple of others the names of which I now forget. But they were always so much more personal and warm than the grocery malls of our times. The one I hate the most is the one most people go to – Big Bazaar.Thank God for the small pleasures. Grocery and visual merchandising and impeccable manners (in places like HyperCiti) don't necessarily go together. I just need some rice and oil and vegetables for heaven's sake! P.S. That said, I quite like HyperCiti. Better than the other departmental stores like More and Big Bazaar and Total for sure.

  13. @Tamanna: True true true … {{{{hugs}}} and me too hates More and Big Bazaar {{{{double hugs}} … Spencer’s does ok for me if only the guys over there actually knew where things are kept and the tags above the shelves actually guided you to the correct shelf!!!

  14. That was a wonderful post. I so very agree with the ease and convenience of the street corner shops and bakeries as compared to the super-markets. Divz raised a wonderful point, we often buy unwanted goods once we step in the supermarket.

  15. I read "fruit loops" and just can't process anything else. I want. Now!Frands? 😛

  16. @CB: Thanks …. yup we think it's for better what actually sums up to be 'for worse"… and yes {{{{hugs}}}} :P@Chinkurli: Pukka Fraands… let's meet over a bowl of fruit loops and discuss our new found fraandship…Swar would also loooveee to join I think… I mention this in my good night mail to her tonight Lolzzzzz 😛

  17. I am not a fan of More of Big Bazar either, but we do not have such lovely shops around the corner where I live :(In the situation you are describing, I wouldn't dream of buying from a supermarket 🙂

  18. @Piyu: Awww poor you … But thanks for agreeing with me *blows one more kiss in the direction of Mota Seth’s shop on behalf of Piyu* 😀

  19. Just here too see how genius my fellow genius is .. and btw I am yet to read single line on your blog! :p

  20. I love the shop around the corner…The old motha seth u sits there, does pooja at 6 and lights a nice frangrant agarbathi all the time and plays some nice hindi old classics and gives me bottles of big babbool and halls for free, for he knows my love for stacking in similar looking bottles in the kitchen and of course, the goodies u get to taste while at the shop, the cieling fan that runs full time near the counter, and chottu of course… and the other bhaiya who knows exactly what I'm looking for…Fruit loops, I love fruit loops too… 🙂

  21. @Sourav: Welcome Welcome fella genius 😀 .. hope to see you around often and yes go ahead discover the only companion u have on the lonely planet tyhrough not much .. merely 96 posts ;p@PNA: I think Ur Motu seth and my Mota Seth are the bichara hua twins whom we need to once again take to kumbh mela … and say what.. while they reunite .. we shall watch the entire proceeding with bowls of fruit loops in our hands :D.. wat say?? 😉

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