May 5, 2013

Happy Apple

Lunches were always eventful at the Pandey residence. That afternoon was no different.Some debates,some observations,some jokes and some plans as always.

‘Listen son,I have found out the details.Its a superb deal – a steal perhaps.’
‘What is it Papa?’
‘Its Happle – The Happy Apple’
‘Now what is that?’
‘It’s the local Apple juice – it sells like hot cakes. I am going to start a business selling those. Maybe I’ll reduce some of your burden.’
‘Thanks Pa,but there isn’t such a need, why don’t you relax at home,I will figure something out soon.’
‘Listen to me,its not a big investment,hassle free trading, buy from the dealer and sell it in the apartment complex, and perhaps the park in the neighborhood.’

Mom snapped ‘uff how long will you be absurd? Why don’t you go inside and write or read newspaper- something you do best’.
‘Don’t be negative,don’t criticize me all the time’Papa said raising his voice.
Mom went inside the bedroom dismissing the comment.

‘So, as I was saying,I went and researched the brand, and at Rs.10 a pack, its not costly, and works wonders in the summer’ Papa continued undeterred.

‘Listen Pa,just because I am going through a tough phase at work,does’nt mean we don’t have food to eat,its ok – I will manage.Besides ,I need you to be healthy and fit – that will be a bigger support.’

‘You are not understanding my son.Its not such a complicated thing. You see,I did a pilot project with sandwiches earlier, remember,and that was a learning experience.It taught me that people feel thirsty, or more thirsty than hungry. Ah – such a simple thing.We can get started with 10 cartons.’

‘Yes but how would you do inventory control, supply ,deliver and what if it does’nt work? What will you do with all those Happy Apple cartons?

‘Oh they will sell I tell you – people get thirsty don’t they?But be careful not to share this with anybody,I mean why attract competition when we can rule the market?’

Exasperated, Sameer Pandey,got up and went to his room,leaving his father alone in the dinning hall.

‘I don’t get it, I think he’s shy, or maybe its his ego,I’ll have to try and explain it to him again,after all I am his father,if I don’t help him, who will?I will have to show it to him.’

That sunny afternoon Nirmal Pandey, went out for a walk.Wore his favorite red cap,took his walking stick,and trotted out quietly while the house was sleeping.He had decided to surprise his son.
He walked in the hot sun,till he reached the local grocery shop.
Careful not to give away his business secret,he asked ‘Errm how many Happy Apple cartons do you have?
‘How many do you want?’the shopkeeper retorted.
Restricting his frown he asked ‘if I ask for 100 will you give me 100?’
The shopkeeper looked at him without an expression.

Mr.Pandey thought ‘this guy is wily, he is trying to get my business plan’ his forehead frowned.After a brief moment of silence,he finally spoke‘Uh mm, actually we re having a party at home,so let me call and check’.

The shopkeeper did not respond again.

Nirmal Pandey turned his back, pretended to dial his mobile phone.
‘Hello, Hello who’s this, Sameer? Listen son, how many people will come home tonight?’ 
What?  B-but what about the rest? Hmm ok ok, now keep the phone’.

He turned around and said ‘give me 20 for now, looks like some guests dropped out’.

‘How much will it cost?’

‘Rs.15 but I will give it to you at Rs10’ the shopkeeper lowered his voice.

‘Oh really?’he said, clearly taken aback.

‘But Mr.Pandey, since 20 cartons will get too heavy for you,why don’t you take these 2 in your hand,and I will send the rest to your residence.’the shopkeeper said.

‘Ah that swine is trying to cheat me, eh,but I am not falling for that, I think he’s realised that he’s making a mistake selling this to me at Rs.10’ Nirmal Pandey smirked quietly.

‘Errm No,I will push it in the trolley’he announced.

The shopkeeper did as he was told. Nirmal Pandey took those cartons in the trolley from the shop and headed towards the park.Nirmal pandey walked along the roadside muttering to himself along the way ‘This is good,I got a good deal.Now I will show to Sameer that all of these will sell in no time –then he will realise my worth’.

Nirmal Pandey reached the park and spotted a strategic location – the park bench.He dragged the trolley and parked it behind the bench and sat down with an air of accomplishment.

He looked around,strained his neck to find a pair of eyes he could connect with.He only saw the security guard and park in charge looking at him. He chose to ignore them.

Nirmal Pandey was getting a bit worried.It was almost 5PM and there was no sight of any customer.Some kids played cricket in the distance and some toddlers babbled with their nanies.

Just then a bunch of young boys walked into the park with a football in hand.They looked tired.Nirmal Pandey was overjoyed – he knew he had found his customer.He turned back to take a glance at his business and adjusted his shirt and cap quickly.

‘Boys come here’he shouted.
‘What is it uncle?’one of them said.
‘How was the game?’
‘Oh it was great-we ran a lot and now we are tired’
‘and thirsty?’Nirmal Pandey interrupted.

‘Yes yes,we are- do you have something to drink?’
Nirmal Pandey couldn’t believe his luck , ecstatic he said ‘I have just the right thing for you –but it is going to cost you money’

‘Oh uncle, we only have Rs.20 on each of us,our playing allowance – will that help?’
Nirmal Pandey calculated mentally – ‘Rs.10 for each pack, add profit of Rs.5 and sell it for Rs.15 bucks.Bingo!’

He looked up and said ‘ah don’t worry just pay Rs.15 and I will give each of you Happy Apple juices’.

Soon the cartons was empty and Nirmal Pandey had earned enough money to go back and talk to Sameer.He cleaned up the park bench of wrappers and litter.Dragged the trolley out of the park and walked home upbeat with a spring in his stride.

It was 7PM when he reached home and called out ‘Sameer come here my boy,let me show you something’.

Sameer was standing in the corridor ‘Yes Papa what is it?’

Nirmal Pandey took out a bunch of notes from his pocket and gave it to his son ‘here take this – and guess where I got this from ? My business idea of selling Happy Apple juices worked! Come sit here,let me tell you all about it’

Sameer interrupted ‘Oh Papa, please sit down first,relax and I will listen.But first its time for your medicine.’

Mrs.Pandey came out of the kitchen and gave the medicine. Mr.Pandey promptly obeyed and sat back on the rocking chair.
‘Give me your cap and stick, I will keep it safely, you might need it tomorrow’said Mrs.Pandey.
The rocking chair relaxed him and slowly he closed his eyes.

Seeing him sleep Sameer said ‘Ma please be here,and take care of him,I’ll be back soon’ Mrs. Pandey nodded with a hint of sadness. 

‘Thank you so much all of you – here’s your money Ramu kaka,please keep your happy Apple stocks handy – and don’t overact’

‘Oh you should’ve seen me, I did just fine’he said.

‘Bahadur and Pinto you guys need to keep a closer watch – those boys were playing cricket,the ball could hit him no?’
‘Arrey Saheb, we are there, has anything happened ? No ? Then don’t worry.’
Sameer pursed his lips and said ‘Anyways here’s your money and be alert’

‘Thank you Sameer sir’ they said in unison and left.

‘And Joobi – you better look more convincing’

‘Arrey Sameer Bhaiya,I told you Tennis team would be better,one does get thirsty after playing those cross courts ?

‘Nothing can beat football – that’s it. Here’s your money,and next time pick up my phone a bit early ok?’

‘Yes Bhaiya’

Sameer smiled with a lump in his throat. It was 5 years since Nirmal Pandey had Alzheimer's,and he didn’t have the heart to break the news to him.

Gyanban Thoughts - Some relationships are so delicate that they have to be handled with extra care.While it is tough for the patient,it is probably tougher for the people around him or her.This story attempts to touch the sentiment of people who give unconditional love and support,years together,just to keep someone they love,happy and smiling.Salut.


  1. Eyes got blurry while reading......:-) very touching Gb

  2. WONDERFUL READ : ) I know someone who lives this life sure is beautiful how people carry around such a noble side of theirs only to keep the close ones happy..

  3. remarkable one. sent you an email - do check the junk folders.


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