Monday, August 4, 2014

Counting in India, part, II

Last week the siblings, Sagar, eight-years-old, and Sapna, four-years-old, went with their Grandmother in India for vegetables-fruits shopping at the local market.
They continued their counting, from where they left off.
Counting in India, part II 

Lorry = truck. Accepted in most Indian languages
Baer = a little fruit with an oblong or a round pit, depending on the variety
Chiku = a fleshy sweet fruit with brown skin

SIX women sat on the sidewalk with huge cane baskets.
One woman sold big squash-like papayas. She cut one open and offered a bright colored orange piece to Sapna. The girl shook her head and moved on.  Mummy had said: don’t accept food from strangers or ever eat an unwashed fruit, and in especially in India, never eat uncooked food.
The second lady separated guavas from an oblong as well as round fruits called baer.
The third woman offered a kiwi like fruit with a smooth-skin to Sagar. “Take, take, very sweet chiku, for you.” Sagar hid behind Granny and pulled Sapna with him.
The fourth woman had ripe mangos. Sapna stood by the basket and sniffed. “Granny, can we buy some mangos?”
“Absolutely, summer's the mango season.” They bought one dozen mangoes.                
Sagar whispered to Granny, “What, no custard apples?” 
Granny smiled and answered before moving on, “They come only in winter.” 
Sagar frowned. "Oh, too bad, I love those.” 
The fifth lady was rolling newspaper sheets to make packets of salted peanuts, roasted chickpeas and crispy rice, all mixed together.
The sixth lady sat with a basket full of bright marigolds, fragrant roses and jasmine. She strung them in garlands for women to wear in their hair.
SEVEN kinds of vegetables sat in neat piles in an old, beaten cart.
fresh, fresh, very fresh vegetables, just for you,” a man shouted.
Sagar and Sapna helped Granny pick some green beans, okra, sweet potatoes, carrots, eggplant and bunch of leafy coriander and spinach.
"Hey, Sagar, check out those ladies in beautiful saris.”
“Sorries? Oh, saris.”
EIGHT women wore colorful saris.
"But Mummy rarely wears one.” Sapna whispered to Sagar. 
“I think she finds shirts ‘n slacks more comfortable.”
“I guess so.”
At last they were out of the market. Sagar grinned and touched the two mangos in his shopping bag. Sapna had some vegetables in a bigger bag while Granny carried the biggest bag with the rest of the items.
Granny sighed, “Oh my, it’s hot and the bags are getting heavier by the minute.” She wiped her brows with her sari. “Let’s take a rickshaw.”
“We love rickshaws.” Sagar and Sapna said together.
They walked past NINE yellow-black three wheelers and stepped into the first one. Sapna sat in the middle, Sagar and Granny took the sides.
Once again the they weaved through the crazy traffic and reached near granny's bungalow. They stopped.
Sapna opened her eyes wide, "Look at those fat, black cows, Bhaiya."
Sagar laughed, "They are not cows, but Indian buffaloes. How about you count them?"
Sapna counted TEN buffaloes that kept their rickshaw from entering the bungalow.
At last the rickshaw stopped in the porch. Granny paid the driver his charges and they went in the house. Granny put different sized stainless steel bowls on the dining table and they emptied their wares into the empty bowls.
Sapna looked up at her grandmother, “That was so much fun.  I can’t wait till tomorrow to go out and count some more things.”

The End

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah

6: six: chheh: छह:  ६    O O O O O O

7: seven: saat: सात: ७   O O O O O O O

8:  eight: aath: आठ: ८    O O O O O O O O

9: nine: nou: नौ: ९         O O O O O O O O O

10: ten: das: दस: १०      O O O O O O O O O O

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