Pragmatic Punni

Half a dozen customers were seated/standing around me when I heard a sharp whispher. Few of us looked around.

“Pssst! Madam !! Pssssst” , a 4 or 5 year old Punni hissed from somewhere below my table.

One burly farmer pulled her up and almost threw her on my keyboard. She quickly regained her balance and modesty, adjusting her tiny frame between these angry impatient grown-ups.

“Where is Kaka Saa? ” I enquired of her usual companion to the bank, who delivers lunch for one of my staff.

“Asleep.” She said with urgency.

“You came alone? Wh..” I was getting ready to reprimand her. A woman nearby lifted her veil just to glare and scare her away.

“What will you get me from Sankranti Mela?” She had no time for small talk. Straight to business.

“Chocolates? Toys? Frock?”

“No.. not that.” Punni clearly had dreams and ambitions of her own. She bit her lip, sniffed up her snot and knitted her eyebrows.


“A braided woollen ponytail for my camel. It should be black with gold and pink at bottom. No green. It should have 14 small bells and one big bell.” She announced with confidence. Other matters of consequence can wait.

I wrote that down meticulously, adding another item to my shopping list.

“Don’t tell Kaka Saa.” She thundered a final instruction and disappeared in the crowd.


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