Baksheesh

Come Diwaali time, and free tips or “Baksheesh” become the order of the day. Suddenly so many people, many of whom you can bet – you’ve never seen in your life, come and start asking for it. In most of the cases you want to be politically correct, not act like a penny-pincher, and more often than not, pay for your goodwill.
The last part seems to play a major role in cases like mine, where I’m not a native of this part of the world, nor do I belong to the ‘majority community’, and I have none, whatsoever, political connections.
I, therefore, shouldn’t have any hassle paying up. And I don’t :); being the God-fearing person that I am. God fearing in the sense that I fear meeting God at such a tender age — the prime of my youth.

Anyway, so I was talking about tips. Different people have different ways of asking for it. For instance, we came across and auto-wallah (a bhaiyya from UP/Bihar — OK OK, person from the place I belong) and when the journey was over, he was the least bit modest:
Saab, diwaali ka time hai” (Sir, it’s _that_ time of the year), and an anxious face to show that we’re doing something majorly incorrect by asking for the change.
Little did he know that I’m traveling with a Mallu…and pat came the reply: “Diwaali time hai to aap paisa bhi mat lou” (if it’s _that_ time of the year, then why are you charging in the first place.) 😉
But then, I played the regionalism card (c’mon everyone does), and the auto-wallah’s wish was granted.

However, if you come across the auto-wallahs from Mumbai, then they have a psycho-analytical approach. They needn’t plead for a tip; instead, when the journey ends, and you pay-up, there is a delay in returning the change, with a studied non-chalance.
Those few seconds of silence speak more than the UP-bhaiyya’s “It’s that time of the year”. You can shoo it off and be adamant for your change, or you could give-in.
You’re made to be in those moments of tryst when you have Good and Bad angels on either side, and you’re in the middle, waiting for your ‘meager’ change. Just that, invariably, your Good angel has very cordial relations with the Bad angel of the auto-wallah. 🙂

Oh, how I love this place!