‘The shopkeeper will buy whatever you wish to dispose off’, informed my cousin who had a first hand experience of unwillingly parting with her large utensils and other sundry items for want of space in her small apartment complex. ‘You can exchange all your old things for new stainless steel ware or any other kitchen ware you may require’, she added most emphatically.
Thanking her profusely for mentioning the name of the shop I immediately started taking stock of all the unwanted things in my house which I had
gathered over the years. They constituted an array of things—Bread toasters which had conked off, Electric rice cookers which stopped doing their job, my cute little imported sewing machine and knife sharpener (which proved looks are deceptive) for which I paid eight pounds each in a shop in London during our first visit there and a few brass lamps which looked pathetic for want of regular washing or polishing and old leather handbags and pouches which had no use for me anymore. Placing all these in three oversized cloth bags ,I headed to the store taking an auto rickshaw. Noticing me bearing down on their weight, the auto driver was kind enough to cart my ‘baggage’ till the entrance of the large store. I was quite stunned at the sight that greeted me- there was a small queue of ladies surrounded by extra large vessels made of different metals—brass, aluminum, stainless steel and copper. There were a few items of the ‘cook and serve’ variety besides a couple of non stick pans, all looking brand new!
I noticed a man deftly placing one item after another and noting down its weight on a piece of paper. After he was done he turned round to me and drew the three cloth bags towards him and had a cursory look at the contents. When my imported sewing machine and the knife sharpener placed at the top of the two bags caught his eye , he almost grunted saying he had no use for such things and shouted ‘ next’ which meant he expected me to clear out. Quite cheesed off by his abrupt dismissal, I made a hasty exit cursing myself for taking my cousin at her word. More than the problem of carrying a weight of four or five kilos till I could spot an auto to return home, the prospect of facing my husband’s comments when he would know I couldn’t exchange old for the new didn’t appeal to me. Before I had set out he had suggested we call the old paperwala home and give away all the unwanted things for what ever price he would offer and I wanted to prove I was wiser than my husband in such matters.
As I was on my way home in the auto, on the spur of the moment I told the driver to stop at the nearest old newspaper mart and asked the man sitting there what price he would offer for ‘imported’ plastic items. ‘we don’t differentiate between foreign and Indian, all plastic is two rs. a kilo madam’, he replied promptly.
‘What about brass?’, I asked.
Rs.250/a kilo, he said. He weighed the stuff, scribbled something on a piece of old paper.
It read: Plastic –five kilos-rs.10; Brass: 500grams:rs.125/
I collected rs.135/ and came home with a profit of rs.10, (balance left after deducting rs.120/ towards auto fare to and fro.)
(published in Eve’s Touch, February 2012 issue)
n.meera raghavendra rao