“Mamool” is not the monopoly of the human beings. By the way, it is a widely used word in some parts of India. In other areas, there may be some other words but the practice is the same. It is something like tips in English but not exactly the same. It is not bribe, as such but something similar to it. For example, if the postman shows undue respect to you and humbly says, “Sir, there’s a money order for you” and politely obtains your signature, that means he expects “something” from you (Oh, now I remember! “Something” is another word for mamool). He would hang around there for a few minutes with a smile till you shell out something. This practice is rampant in government offices.
You go to a relevant section in a govt. office to hand over a petition or an application to the clerk concerned and he would scratch his head, thereby implying that if you would give him some money, it will receive his immediate attention.
You will have to forgo a small amount when you remit an electricity or a telephone bill. “Sorry, no change” is his routine way of extracting two or three rupees from you. If you are smart enough you’ll remit the exact amount without giving the clerk and opportunity to say “Sorry, no change”. By now, you might have got an idea about mamool. But I said it was not the monopoly of human beings. Some animals too are in the habit of taking mamools! They are straight forward and if you are not cruel, you would oblige them. Normally, it is the monkeys who exhibit human tendencies. If by any chance, some one gives the monkey a banana or some other fruit, he will almost snatch from our hand and disappear but in a jiffy he’ll reappear, stretching his hands. If no one responds, he will be on that very spot, the next day. Then, we have those pet animals like cats and dogs who could be included in this category. But, to my surprise, I learnt that even the decent-looking cows belong to this category. The other day, while I was sipping tea at a small restaurant, a hefty cow stood at the entrance and announced its presence with a loud “IMBAAY”. None, except me, was surprised. “Give her something,” said the shop owner and the waiter thrust into the cow’s mouth some leftovers. When I looked at the owner with a smile, he said “Nothing to fear, she has come for the mamool ________yeah, he used the very same word!