Shopping at the Corner Minimart

Ibrahim Waheed “Kalaavehi”

“What a big bald head that guy has! Looks like a thousand-watt studio light!”

The young lady at the minimart said this to her sister. She was good with descriptions. She would have also described herself well: she was young and lively, modern and sophisticated. She used the right cosmetics and visited the right saloon. Ate the right foods, drank the right fluids. Did the correct exercises. Was trim. In shape. Chic!

The guy with the kilowatt head had heard her. But he was too busy choosing the right kind of high-fiber bread. Surely he knew the more important things in life.

Meanwhile the young lady…… was young, yes….. sort of. And this was said in great secrecy to her inner self. Because she was soon to reach that dreaded hump of thirty years of age. She knew that if she went over that hump, the rest would be a fast but smooth ride downhill. So smooth that all she would feel was that left-behind-on-the-shelf feeling. And so smooth she dreamt of marriage every waking moment of her life: marriage to her childhood sweetheart whom she had chased away because he was too poor; marriage to the guy who used to shuttle her on his bike between coffee shops; marriage to that friendly older guy with the car, the wife and the son.

And the guy with no hair had no major worries. And he had no time for rude young women with no manners. He was now at the more important soft drinks.

The young lady was modern all right. Modern in the sense that she belonged to the current time. But she was no fashion model. Her hair was too straight and too stringy. Probably done at home on a handheld curler-straightener by Sis. The remains of last month’s burgundy tint clashed with this month’s brown, but in a quiet, unassuming way. Parted down the middle of her head and running straight down the sides of her face, the hair lacked character. Like begot like, probably.

Mr.Kilowatt now had his shopping basket half full. He was an optimist after all. Otherwise, it would have been the traditional half-empty and he would have had a few words to say to the young harpy.

The young lady sure used the right cosmetics, but in her dreams. She yearned for Este’e Lauder but used Emeron. This was because of the economic recession she created for herself by not having a fixed, boring job. She ate the right foods. And that only if she was invited to Raanbaa or Symphony Garden by a boyfriend or a sugar daddy. Or if her stay-at-home, feminine-only sister cooked. Otherwise, a half-burnt tuna sandwich would do for breakfast, lunch or dinner. As for the fluids she drank, fresh papaya or mango juice or her choice of weak tea, depending on who she was with or where.

But the guy with the bald head did not know these details, or even care. But he had indeed heard the young woman’s remarks. He smiled to himself and even took a long look at the woman’s legs. Slim, spindly by unkind description. Shiny, with scales if one looked carefully. Perhaps an Epilady used beyond recommended date. But he was not one to look at outward appearances.

Because there was another description to her: a young woman with bad parents, bad upbringing, bad education, bad attitude, bad manners. These he saw. But he said nothing. As they said in the Hindi movies, you don’t face-off with the small folk.

“Yeah, Dhonthi! Maybe he should consider wearing a wig!” A giggly whisper from the sister who had to wear a black scarf on her head for reasons best known to her boyfriend.

And shopping continued at the corner minimart where no one owed anyone anything.

BACK to main page


  • shafynaz  On March 21, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    wow…this is great ….its as if i have seen the whole scenario “LIVE” ….

  • jinaa  On March 27, 2010 at 7:44 am

    very Interesting. it really stopped my work to read this 🙂 Waheed you are the man

    • ldive  On April 13, 2010 at 10:53 am

      Thank you! And how many times does this happen, you think?

  • Shamoon  On March 27, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Hey Waheed. This story is so interesting. While i was reading this i felt like i was the bold headed guy. You have described the scenario as much as a human can. Good one. Thanks.

    Mohamed Shamoon

  • John  On November 15, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Dear Waheed ,
    I do like your writings, but this story is bit atypical, No offense!

    • ldive  On November 21, 2010 at 10:11 am

      Do read the intro page.

  • John  On November 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Oh sure!

Leave a Reply to ldive Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: