Kalpaania Grapes

As I was walking down to get an auto, there stepped out of a gate on Barathiar Street a man carrying a basket on his head. I could hear a woman shouting at him from inside the house, and he had a broad grin on his face as he let himself out of the gate.

He was an oldish man, early fifties, and he had a three-day stubble thrusting whitely through his dark leathery skin. He was dressed in an old faded blue shirt and a blue checked lungi. The grin on his face made him look the quintessential friendly stranger you encounter on travels to the less citified parts of Tamilnadu.

He saw me looking at him and his eyes lit up, as he went, “And how are you today?” I managed a “Not too bad” as I walked on.

He then went away, shouting at the top of his voice, “Grapes! Seedless Grapes! Seedless Kalpaania Grapes!”

It was then that I could put the glance I had had of the top of a box of imported grapes peeping out of his basket and his “kalpaania” together.

He was happily hawking seedless grapes from California!

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