Monday, August 21, 2006

The ubiquitous "potti kadais"

Do you remember the ubiquitous potti kadais (Bunk shops) seen everywhere on Indian streets? They are found everywhere and sell all sorts of things like cigars, beedis, water packets, butter biscuits and other such life saving things. We never cared too much for these shops. They were supposed to be an eye sore of the localities compared to the new trendy malls and departmental stores.

Now after coming to US, I miss them in one unique way. They had always acted as our location markers. Any new town we enter or any new locality we visit, we first look at the name boards of these shops to identify the street name and the locality we are in. Even in the dead of night, while traveling to other localities, when the bus stops at a teashop in the highway, these name boards will tell us where we are. They had always been a part of our lives that we never thought of this. When we go to a new bus stop, we immediately go to a nearby potti kadai (which will definitely be there) to get details about the bus number, bus timings and so on. I remember the time when I went on a trip to Yercaud with my cousins. We got down at a station at around 3:00 am and were clueless about the location of the bus stop or the shortest route that we can take and so on. Then there was this potti kadai that came to our rescue. The people there gave us details about where the bus would stop, what are the possible routes we can take, what are the other places of interest in the region and so on.

All this comfort of the potti Kadai is not available in the US of A. A few days back, I went to a residential locality to search for an apartment. While returning back, I went and stood near a small board that proclaimed that stop to be a bus stop. But there was no one around to ask whether I'm standing at the right stop, whether the bus has already left etc. The street was very calm, beautiful with lots of lawns and stuff, but there was not a single soul in sight. This was when I wished there was a potti kadai nearby. Undoubtedly they are doing a great service. They are showing the people "their way".
Maybe we should export this potti kadai technology to these backward western nations too :)


venky said...

Mavane! Chancee illa da un last line! I literally shouted in exultation after reading this line!