Last month I put up an innocuous piece of information on the notice board in office.
A wardrobe for sale. Those interested, please contact me (email id and mobile number provided).
My intentions were naive. I wanted to do away with my three-year-old, Malaysian-made four-door almirah. Why dump something that is functional.
In less than 10 minutes, I get an email from one of my colleagues: “I need it. What price?”
“Dh100,” I replied.
Immediately, the reply. “Pass me the photo na. Will show my hus.”
Meanwhile, a male colleague came up to me. Asked how old the piece was, what make and what cost. No sooner I gave the three answers than he forwarded me Dh100 saying he would collect the item that evening.
But on afterthought, I put him off saying another person has already contacted me. Gracefully he exited. No qualms what so ever. Men are indeed from Mars!
During lunch hour, my potential client joins me and my friends…
“Arre, you’re here. Went looking for you at your desk. Well, my hus liked the photo…” she said leaving her sentence incomplete to stare at my plate.
“So what have you decided?” I reminded lest she forgets the purpose of her visit.
“Bus ek sandwhich! How will you survive until evening,” she squealed.
“I’m used to this. So are you interested,” I repeated.
“Yeaaah, hus ko tho pasand aa gaye. Tell me how long do you people take for lunch?”
“We are done,” I said matter-of-factly. “So what do you say,” I pursued.
“Arre, frankly speaking. We don’t like buying such stuff. Our priorities are all right…” she started off, pulling a chair for herself.
“Used stuff tho bilkul nahi. But kya kare, both of us are so busy these days. No time for shopping. My husband is the IT Director at the American cargo firm and they want him in California every month…”
“Why don’t you take a part-time job then,” quipped one of my friends who was visibly irked by her bragging.
“Kya part-time? My hus tells me to sit at home. And what shit salary here, I say. Not even sufficient for my pocket money! But time-pass hai, isliye aati hoon.”
“It’s time for us to get back,” I said determined to call up the gentleman colleague.
“Chalti hoon. Bye!”
We sighed a collective oof! Though a mere three-minute visit, it was akin to a tornado passing over.
As I was about to pick up the phone to place the call, I see my inbox blinking. “We couldn’t speak as you’ll finished lunch time. What I came to say actually was bahut mehnga hai re. U used it for three years na. So tell me the best price. Aur mahogany be nahi, its malaysia only…”
As if anything that starts with m is a piece of wood!
I replied as graciously as possible. “No worries. Thanks for taking interest.” Added a PS to curb any further communication: “The piece has just been taken.”
In less than five minutes I receive a seemingly threatening mail. “Arre how can u just sell it off, when I came to speak to u? Let me put things in perspective. We are very decent people. We live for our children’s future. So please settle it for Dh90. Reasonable na. Dh10 mein kya rakha hai. I’ll come down now.”
How my finger’s itched to write Dh10 mein your kids future rakha hain. But took in a deep breath and keyed in: “Sorry. But the deal is finalised with another person. Regards.”
I sat staring at the screen for whole 10 minutes. Relieved she got the message, I got about with my work, when I hear her.
Oh my, not again!
“Aree, everything settled.” I see her coming towards me, pulling along the gentleman colleague as if like a sheep to abattoir. “He has absolutely no problem. Bol na,” she nudged him more with her eyes.
“Here,” she said and placed Dh90 on my table.
“She needs it more than me. I’m ok,” he said before taking leave.
And madam started…”Actually all my furniture are from Home Centre or Home R Us. So I was confused in my mind. Do you shop from Ikea. Na baba, I don’t like. Rates thoda cum hai lekin all things look same. I hate that. Arre lena hai tho brand lo, isn’t it…”
Luckily I received a call…
“Chalo bye,” she said as I walked off.
Returned to my seat to see a mail…”Pls find below my home address. Delivery Friday ko karna. And yes, after 11am please. Only one day to catch up on sleep na.” Thanks