One Saturday, my uncle had to go outstations urgently. Since there was no
one to take his place at his little provision shop in the village, I was
asked to help out for the day.
Early in the morning, at around 7.00 a.m., a newspaper van brought in
several copies of the daily local newspapers. I took delivery of the papers
and arranged them neatly on the stands in front of the shop.
Then, came two office workers who bought a newspaper and a packet of
cigarettes each. I attended to their needs and gave them the correct change.
They were friendly men.
Next, I dusted the glass shelves and rested. Soon, a housewife dropped in
to buy onions, potatoes and sugar. I weighed each item carefully and packed
the provisions for her. Other housewives followed and I was kept busy
Later, while I was having a drink of coffee, three unruly boys from the
village walked in briskly. They were rough and noisy, yelling at me to serve
them. I quickly put down my cup to see what they needed. They asked for
peanuts, chewing gum, biscuits and toffees which I packed hastily for them.
As they were leaving, I discovered they had given me forty cents short. I
rushed out after them but they ran so fast that I soon lost trace of them. I
returned to the shop, panting and sweating. I was really annoyed with them
but waited patiently for the next customer.
He was an old man from the village. He came on a bicycle and stopped by
to get rice, sugar and milk. He sat down and chatted with me kindly for a
while, asking about me and my uncle. Then, after smoking his pipe, he cycled
off slowly, giving me a warm smile.
By now, it was 7.00 p.m. and I was feeling very tired. Just then, I saw
my uncle returning in a taxi. I was truly relieved and happy to see him. I
knew he would take over till 9.00 p.m. and I would be free. I stayed on for
a few minutes reporting to him the day's business. Then I went home, totally
exhausted after an unusual day of playing the role of a shopkeeper.