Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Paanwala point of life

Well, this isnt a post about paanwalas ( betel leaf sellers for the uninitiated, read more at for your choice of Paan), neither am I trying to make it impossible for them to live their lives in peace ( don’t want a mob of them attacking me, the next time I’m in India, for ruining their reputations). If I have to take one more step, I would go on the record and say that they have always been an integral part of my life when I was in India, the ever present human GPS (on-star ? Garmin? who needs that when you have “Lucky” paanwala at the intersection of main roads 1 and 2), and if I have to take the word of my college buddy Kunal, they even provide notary services ( well Kunal also said many other things that later were verified not to be true). They were always there when you needed them, if I was a TV serial producer in India, I would obv target them for a series like NYPD Blue (Paanwala red?)

But this isnt a post about them.

Its just about that point in life when you realize that where you are is probably what you’ll achieve in life, a realization that sinks in and you make a choice either to feel happy about how far ( or not) you’ve come or feel sad about how far you actually wanted to go. My guess is given a choice of lifelong happiness versus the other thing, most people would choose this, without a doubt.

But why the Paanwala.

Well, its just that in essence I don’t think Paanwalas come to different cities as career choices by themselves. They all start young with visions in their eyes, some to make it big in the movies, some to probably open a different sort of “dhandha”, they all start with a small paan store, and 10 years down the line, find themselves exactly at the same point, probably a bigger store and more customers. By then those movie or the “dhandha” dreams seem less as visions and more as the “dreams” they started out to be. But not that anyone of them is really miserable about how life turned out to be, they just feel comfortable in their places, probably some of them happy too.

And that my friends is what I mean by the Paanwala point of life.

But why this now?

If I were to tell you I’ve actually reached that point in my life, I would have to be lying not because I don’t envision that happening to me, I think even by Paanwala standards I’m just “chotu” for now. What fun is it when you cant even have the entire store for yourself?

Well, I saw this post forwarded to me by my friend Shilpa, which rambled on and on about how we should feel happy about what we have ( though was quite inspirational and I'm not being held at gunpoint to say that, check it out for yourselves, ), and the one thing that struck me at the end of it is, Paanwala.

So have you reached the Paanwala point in your lives?


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