Inspiration

Spreading Smiles

Spreading smiles Vidya Sury

We live quite close to the most famous market in our city. People from the farthest areas take pleasure in visiting this market – the Malleswaram Market. Here one can buy everything from the most obscure herb, to the most expensive diamond and everything in between. At a range of prices.

We have a wonderful vegetable market, flower market and supermarkets. There are silk saree shops, haute couture tailors and boutiques, electronic malls and just about every brand’s showroom you can think of.

Alongside are the street vendors who sell a version of everything you get in the shops, which, they playfully say, make you pay for their overheads.

The most affluent people who shop in the area have their own personal vegetable vendor. They may come to buy a saree worth several thousands, but they will not leave the area without doing business with the smiling vegetable vendor who knows exactly what their family prefers. She will pack the right quantities of various vegetables and greens and keep the bags ready for the customer to pick up when they finish their shopping and head back home.

Spreading Smiles Vidya Sury

She always has a smile on her face. She is a friend who cares.

As she packs each vegetable, she will tell you why it is good for health and give you tips on how to cook it.

So maybe she will use a couple of eggplants or onions or potatoes to weigh her produce, but who cares! Her vegetables are fresh, cleaned and ready to cook. For some of her favorite customers, she will also offer to shell peas, peel the onions and clean the bunch of coriander or other greens she might have brought for the day.

She has been in this area for the 18 years we’ve been here, and perhaps more. She looks ageless to me. I suspect it is because of her good nature.

Look at her smiling, so amused that I’d want her photo, and quite happy to look into the camera. That pouch in her hand? Shelled peas, especially for me. So kind. No extra charge.

She scolds me when I don’t buy greens and beans. They’re good for you, she’ll say. As I am paying her, she’ll ask how come I didn’t buy okra? “Your husband is fond of it, no?” she’ll ask. And I’ll add half a kilo, because she’s right.

“Why are you looking tired today? Did you have lunch” she’ll want to know.

“Why are you walking around in the sun? Go home and wash your face. At night, grind some sandalwood and apply the paste on your face. You are so beautiful!”

Any time I need a pick me up, I look at the photos of these women who are my friends, and who care.

She’s a woman at work, but she obviously enjoys doing what she does. And as her “regulars”, we are more than happy to buy from her. She always has a kind word.

I love her look of affection when I take her something – a saree, a bedsheet, a thick large sheet of plastic and bags she can use. She’ll just receive them, smiling, beckon me close and place her hand on my head.

She has a firm grip on my heart. She inspires me.

I feel blessed. She is a fine example of this quote.

“Be kind whenever possible. Kindness is always possible”

I am joining Parul at Happiness and Food for the #WomenAtWork bloghop. Please join us.

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Parul
    September 4, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    She is such a happy soul and wonderful of her to know those personal little things about her customers. Goes a long way in building relationships. Very sweet post, Vidya and left me smiling like this lady 🙂 thank you for joining the blog hop. I’m so grateful 🙂
    Parul recently posted…#WomenAtWork – A captainMy Profile

  • Reply
    Arti
    September 5, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Hi Vidya. It’s been a while since I visited your blog. But, boy I feel blessed to have started my reading day today with this post.
    “She has a firm grip on my heart. She inspires me.”
    Your words are as cooling as that sandalwood paste your friend recommends. Thank you for this lovely morsel of happiness today. Your love for her and hers for you is as palpable as that bag of shelled peas:)
    Arti recently posted…A trip to Cyprus and post holiday BLUES.My Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      September 5, 2016 at 11:10 am

      Aww, thank you Arti! You know you can come by anytime for a virtual cup of strong filter kaapi, or for a real one, too! Yes, I love my area’s vendors. So much love there!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Spreading SmilesMy Profile

  • Reply
    Rajlakshmi
    September 5, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    I love how she is giving out all the natural tips on health and beauty. She’s so adorable 😀 Thanks for sharing her story.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…5 Easy DIY Papercraft TutorialsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Vishal Bheeroo
    September 5, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    I remember having a veggie seller at the Pune market in DBC and she would be guiding me in buying the right veggies, asking why I didn’t come last time, Aap service mein hai Saab.’ Such humans with a smile give us strength:)
    Vishal Bheeroo recently posted…#TeachersDay: Beacon of knowledge and wisdomMy Profile

  • Reply
    Obsessivemom
    September 5, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    What a sweet post and what a wonderful lady. It is amazing how comfortable we become with people simply through the interaction of a few minutes every day. I love the connections you make Vidya – full of warmth just like you.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Celebrating Differences – A Book ReviewMy Profile

  • Reply
    Nabanita Dhar
    September 6, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    She is such a wonderful soul. These bonds at the unlikeliest of places make life so much better. The care from unexpected quarters, a complete stranger otherwise knowing something about you and in a way taking care of you, is so wonderful.
    Nabanita Dhar recently posted…#ViewFromMyWindow – A Father, A Daughter & A Peck On The CheeksMy Profile

  • Reply
    Birgit
    September 6, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    This is a beautiful story and a beautiful relationship. So many people here just buy what they want at the market and don’t smile at the vendor. This vendor needs a smile…many are older people who rely on this extra income to help them live and pay bills. Their produce tastes richer and better than what one buys in stores. I didn’t know this about sandalwood and I bet this lady knows a lot about herbal medicinal ways.
    Birgit recently posted…Thursday Movie Picks- World War 2My Profile

  • Reply
    Darla M Sands
    September 7, 2016 at 6:25 am

    Inspiring lady!
    Darla M Sands recently posted…Darla’s Helpful Household HintMy Profile

  • Reply
    Melissa Ruddy
    September 10, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Thank you so much for bringing us into a world we might have never known. I am in the US and might not have ever heard about your market or this interesting smiling vegetable vendor if not you your post. Thank you for expanding my horizons!

  • Reply
    Rachna
    September 10, 2016 at 11:38 am

    This post brought a smile to my face, Vidya. How well you both connect. I don’t have a vegetable vendor like that but there is my maid who shares a great rapport with me.
    Rachna recently posted…A Harrowing Experience that Turned a Routine Road Journey into a NightmareMy Profile

  • Reply
    Asha
    September 20, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Loved this one ! The warmth of that lady came all the way through your post:)
    Asha recently posted…That Day After EverydayMy Profile

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      September 20, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Thank you Asha! She’s a real sweety!

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