When I gave him â‚¹ 50/- with a usual smile, he smiled back and said rather apologetically, â€œSir, itâ€™s â‚¹ 65/-â€œ. I was a bit surprised but without exhibiting it I said â€œSorryâ€ and gave him â‚¹15/- 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 â‚¹ 3/- as usual. â€œSir, itâ€™s â‚¹ 5/-â€œ. 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 â‚¹ 5/- and moved off, but to my surprise he called me and gave me â‚¹ 3.50/-, saying â€œit is â‚¹ 1.50/-â€œ
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, â€œA cup of tea is just â‚¹3/- or â‚¹4/- and a cup of coffee is â‚¹5/- or â‚¹6/-. What about other items compared to all these expensive items here?â€
I did expect some marginal increase in the cost of essential items in India but the steep hike taught me a lesson â€“ Things here in India are not all that cheapâ€¦ Beware!