My Dad has a bit of a reputation of being casual on the financial front, almost gifting away money when it came down to mundane activities like bargaining and price-comparisons on the same product much to the frequently voiced irritation of my Mom. I too have taken up this trait to a very large extent but it took just one trip to the bazaar with Dad to realize how far behind I was in the game.
Dad had been away from Bharuch for close to two-three weeks on work assignments then and therefore kept away from his favourite activity of trawling the bazaars of our little town at the hottest hours of the day, shopping bag in hand, returning loaded with supplies of fruits and vegetables and meat and fish and whatever else may have been for sale on that day. Purchase of food items is the one activity that he never tires of and a whiff of an excuse for him to go towards his favoured Dholukui Bazaar sees him get ready in an instant, cap on head and feet ready to walk the crowded alleys of a typical Indian marketplace. I on the other hand hate all shopping (food or otherwise) although I have inherited my Dad's tendency of royal disregard for anything which looked like budgeting or bill calculations trusting the seller's original quoted price as the final word. I was rather irritated when due to certain pressing reasons I was forced to accompany him on this trip to his version of heaven.
Dad as I said was entering the bazaar after a long period of time and I could literally hear the buzz growing through the market as we approached. From near and far, vegetable sellers, fruit sellers, fish sellers, meat sellers, potato sellers, onion sellers be they men, women or children - all faces lit up with a big, broad smile when they caught glimpse of my dad join the milling crowds of customers already haggling on the bazaar's narrow streets. "Saheb, here! Here! Fresh cauliflowers", "Saheb! You won't believe how tasty this fish which came in is!", "Babu! I am sure you want the best quality of onions!" - The rising clamour of all the sellers shouting for the attention of one bazaar shopper must have made the other customers feel rather ignored. Dad strode about waving and smiling to all, a benevolent king back in his kingdom after a couple of weeks of being away at war. Before then I had thought that I had seen all that there was to see about my Dad. Little did I know that I was the son of a rockstar!