Yesterday, I was surprised when I found the three shops closed in the morning. These shops are located alongside my office and offer tea and light snacks to the employees of the various organizations on our side of the road. There is also a coconut seller with a bunch of coconuts placed on the ground and all coconut remnants on a makeshift cart catering to the thirsty passersby. He was closed too.
Suspecting a bandh or hartal(Pardon me for I haven’t yet learnt to distinguish between the both. Both are speed breakers to the normal routine of life and also major spoilsports.), On examining the surroundings further, I was even more surprised to find hotels and other stores functioning across the road. On surveying these closed shops again, I found the shopkeepers in the vicinity of their shops. They were restlessly walking past their shops.
I asked one of them about the reason for closing their shops. Then, he replied, “ A new inspector has taken charge in this area. He is coming for an inspection of the street side sellers. So, we are waiting for him to finish his inspection”. The shopkeeper seemed to be well informed. To satisfy my curiosity, I asked again, “So, how do you know about this inspection?”. With a sly smile, the shopkeeper replied, “We give mamool(bribe) to the cops. They informed us!”. I walked away shaking my head in disgust.
In the afternoon, the shopkeepers were back in business. I enquired the same shopkeeper whom I had stuck a conversation with earlier, “Did the inspector come?”. He gave me wide grin and replied, “It is over. He came. He saw. He returned”.
I’m still unclear about what the inspector was trying to find out. Was he trying to see if there were any street side sellers? If so, doesn’t he possess the bare minimum common sense to understand the logic behind these closed shops? Did he wanted to take a count of all shops so as to estimate the area’s worth (monthly mamool)?Tags: Musings,Bangalore,Bribe,Cops,Mamool