Chowringhee is a market where you’ll come across shoppers and sellers of all kinds! The ones who have mastered the skill of bargaining, the ones who cannot bargain at all, the ones who know exactly what they want, the ones who will visit every stall possible before making a purchase and the ones who have come along with their partners just to accompany on their wive’s shopping spree! 😀 Coming to the shoppers, you can expect to spot the serious and stoic seller, the loud and enthusiastic shopper who has the most unique slogans to shout and attract the customers. Steeped in History, you will also find a lot of literary material that draws inspiration from Chowringhee. The novel by the same name by a Bengali author – Sankar or the movie by the name 36 Chowringhee Lane by Aparna Sen are few of the popular examples.
On a recent visit to Chowringhee, I met Shiraz, a seller of garments. On the footpath of Chowringhee, standing next to his huge stall, Shiraz was in a lively, cheerful mood! Not at all bothered by the heat, he was enjoying an afternoon chat with his buddies from the stalls nearby. I approached the stall owner to know about them. Being a little occupied, he referred me to speak with Shiraz.
I asked if introduction of the online shopping portals have had an impact on their trade? A very confident and positive response came from him – ‘No, not at all! Our trade is running just fine.’ I wasn’t quite expecting this as I’ve heard many retailers complaining about the negative impact of e-commerce on their offline business. That brought me to my next question – ‘So what do you think worked for you?’ The answer surprised me further and it did get me into the thinking mode! He replied – ‘Yaha paas mein Central mall hai, uske aage Big Bazaar, agar usse farak nahi pada, toh online se kya hoga!’ (There are two large malls nearby, Big Bazaar and Central mall; both couldn’t affect our business, how will then the online market threaten our business?) Lesson learnt – Trust built over years and the familiarity cannot be replaced with alternatives. What do you think?
The pride that he took in what he did was for me the best level of workplace satisfaction! And that’s not it, when I asked him if he an option to choose another profession; what would it be? And he replied – Ye nahi karta, to logo ko kapde kaha se milte!’ (If I didn’t sell clothes; how would people get clothes?) That was amusing!
Nothing seemed to deter his spirit and hardly anything matched his confidence levels! I took him with me a lesson that day to enjoy what you choose to do or to choose what you enjoy doing! 🙂
As I took his leave, a few customers had already arrived; Shiraz turned towards attending their requests and I’m sure his jolly and jovial personality was refreshing even for the people around him! 🙂