What is soft-drink to me? The elixir of life. What is MRP to me? The maximum retail price… or that is what I thought until I started living in NCR because here the MRP is the price jis par koi cold-drink nai bechta. (MRP is the price at which a cold-drink bottle is not sold)
It wasn’t till a few weeks back that my first fight happened with a shopkeeper about the price of a soft-drink bottle. After college, I felt this sudden hunger pang. I was famished given the cafeteria food is shit on
some most days. So, after I had my outpass in my hand (I was leaving for Agra, more on that later) I left the gate with Kunal, a friend of mine. After we had some Shawarma, we were thirsty and we had gas (yes, not my proudest moment, I know) so there goes Kunal suggesting we should buy a bottle of Limca, a lime flavoured soft-drink for those who don’t know about it knowingly deny it’s existence given the shit taste and there we were, buying a bottle of Limca. A forbidden act in the land of people who only have good soft-drinks.
“Kitna hua?” (How much?) we asked.
Because the last time I bought a bottle of Limca was in 10000 BC so I had lost track as to what the current price would be.
“₹40”, said the shopkeeper.
Not in numbers. In words. I wrote it in numbers because I’m lazy and I don’t feel like translating each line.
“Ye lo”, (Here you go) I said handing him two rotten bills of 20.
Not mine. They’re the cafeteria’s. That’s what I tell everyone.
After we took the bottle. Tried opening it. Twice. Each of us. 3 bulldozers and 2 cranes later we finally managed to get it open and it wasn’t quite like a soft-drink. It was flat…
Flat /flat/ adjective – The Delhi-NCR term for a soft-drink bottle that has no fizz.
…or that was what Kunal told me. I got the meaning from the above text hovering over his head.
“Ye to wapis hoegi”, (We’ll get this bottle replaced) said Kunal in a super-confident tone and so we went, traversing each step of stairs and poop as a mountain, moving toward our goal of returning one bad (shit) soft-drink bottle to the mad baron of Gate Number 2.
1000 seconds later…
“Bhaiya ye purani hai bottle aapki”, (Dude, this bottle is old and beyond its date of expiry) we said to the shopkeeper who retorted almost immediately. He didn’t even let us enjoy our two minutes of badass-ness.
“Ho hi nahi skta bhaiya, dikhao ispe likha hoga date”, (That can’t be, let me show you the bottle, see this manufacturing date here) he said while showing us the various details printed solely for those who possessed the skill to differentiate text of the same colour as it’s background. Transparent text on transparent bottles because why the fuck not?
After half an hour of narrow eyes, we finally saw that he was right, the bottle was not past it’s date of expiry. What caught my eye though was that the price was ₹34 and not ₹40 so there we were arguing with this person for our ₹6. Yes mom, this day is here. I bargained for an amount less than ₹10. You must be proud.
However, he did not flinch. His argument?
“Bhaiya yaha aise hi hota hai. Aap le aao bottle ₹34 mein, main aapko ye free de dunga. Mera ₹15000 rent jata hai, muje kamane hain paise.”
(Dude, things work exactly like they are. If you can manage to bring a bottle in ₹34, I’ll give you this one for free. I pay ₹15000 rent for this place, I have to earn.)
“To sare hamse loge? Badhiya,” we said.
(…and that means you’ll earn all of it from us? Yeah, right.)
5 minutes and a lot of effort later, we finally earned disappointment. He did not exchange the bottle. We asked another vendor for a Limca bottle and before buying (though we weren’t gonna buy another one anyway) we asked him what the price was and he said ₹40 as well. To which we said that the price printed on it was ₹34. After a considerate amount of contemplation, the kind you’d do when you were about to jump off a cliff, he agreed. He wasn’t a fan when we told him we weren’t gonna buy it because we got one for ₹40.
We pissed him off to the point that a few days back he did not agree for selling the bottle for ₹34. He had been pushed to the dark side and we were responsible. A soldier had fallen.
This detailed incident was repeated today at Connaught Place when we bought a soft-drink from a street vendor again and that is what inspired this blog post. I mean, seriously, half the Delhi-NCR region is buying soft-drinks at ₹40 because no one would sell it at the MRP and ironically, that is how they challenge you. If you can find someone who is selling it at ₹34, it is free.
One, you won’t find anyone and two, did you seriously consider searching? What the fuck, man? I’ll have what you’re having.
So, until some action is taken on this issue, enjoy your Limca bottles for an extra ₹6 and then sulk in the cold because that’s the only thing you can do now. National Capital Region, they said. It will be fun, they said.