When I gave him ₹ 50/- with a usual smile, he smiled back and said rather apologetically, “Sir, it’s ₹ 65/-“. I was a bit surprised but without exhibiting it I said “Sorry” and gave him ₹15/- more. Then, he asked me about my visit to a couple of foreign countries.
I took leave of him and finished certain personal works before going to a wayside teashop. I had a cup of tea and gave the owner ₹ 3/- as usual. “Sir, it’s ₹ 5/-“. Again I was somewhat surprised. Slowly I was getting used to this upward trend as I was returning home after buying several items at rate much higher than I expected. But, a pleasant surprise was awaiting. A couple of English News Papers hitherto unavailable in Ooty were seen in many shops. I bought a reputed News Paper and gave the shop keeper ₹ 5/- and moved off, but to my surprise he called me and gave me ₹ 3.50/-, saying “it is ₹ 1.50/-“
Then as expected the taxi and auto fares are much higher. We had been in Vancouver for about 8 months and on our return journey, we stayed in Netherlands for a month or so. I used to boast to my kith and kin over there that the cost of living in India was much, much lower, “A cup of tea is just ₹3/- or ₹4/- and a cup of coffee is ₹5/- or ₹6/-. What about other items compared to all these expensive items here?”
I did expect some marginal increase in the cost of essential items in India but the steep hike taught me a lesson – Things here in India are not all that cheap… Beware!