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The fruit seller

It was the summer of 2011. The rising mercury in Bangalore gave business opportunities to juice parlours and “cut-fruit” vendors. “Cut-fruit” reminds me of a person who used to do business on the street adjacent to my office.

He was one of the pioneers in my locality who did this business. Our locality had numerous Pink Poui trees (they are a treat to the eyes and the soul, during summer), and he had a small cart with a glass box set up under one; a variety of fruits including bananas, sapota, watermelon and others that you get in plenty during the season. He took great care while serving his customers — he had a clean apron tied to his neck and wore a glove while he prepared the bowl, with your chosen fruits. You could ask him to top it with a little honey and/or a pinch of chaat masala. All this, and the joy of relishing a healthy snack, at just ₹10! There was my office and an adjoining college at one end of the street, and he used to do good business. You rarely found him without at least two or three customers enjoying his bowl.

Time passed and he had another cart besides his old one where he started selling whole papayas and watermelons separately and his wife was now supporting him in the daily activities. The sight of the lady cleaning the few square feet of the footpath where they put up their stall while her husband unloaded fresh fruits from a rickshaw, was a daily sight while I walked to work.

Then fate struck. Another person copied our man’s business idea and opened his own fruit stall a few metres closer to the college and my office. He put up a huge umbrella too, for his customers to avoid the hot sun. Construction work started on the vacant plot behind the fruit stall which forced the first man to shift his business to the other side of the road where there was no shade. Slowly, the number of customers began to reduce and one fine day, I saw that the stall disappeared.

Maybe, he was able to locate a better place where he shifted his business to (which I hope is what happened). Maybe, he succumbed to the trials life threw at him because he was not strong enough to win over them. Reminds me about Darwin’s theory of ‘survival of the fittest’ and how relevant it is in the lives of each one of us.

krishnan.dev@gmail.com

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 5:54:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/the-fruit-seller/article33200471.ece

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