Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's all here...

Paul Photo Studio
Sarojini Nagar Market
New Delhi
31st Aug 2010, 5:15pm

Husband: We want to get 3 photographs clicked. For Visa purposes.
Shop assistants: It will cost you rs. 168 for 6 copies, per person.
Wife: We will need soft copies too as we want to apply online.
Shop assistants: That will be rs. 50 extra per person.
Wife (to husband): Sounds steep, right?
Husband (to shop assistants): Itna zyada (so much)??
Shop assistants beam a brash arrogant smirk and direct the couple to the shop owner sitting next to them.

Shop owner: It will be rs. 175 for 6 copies + rs. 75 for the soft copy, per person.
Husband: But your shop assistant just said 168+50.
Owner scoffed: Oh did they?
(They are sitting hardly 5-7 feet away.)
Shop assistants laugh: See you didn't listen to us. Now you have to pay more.
Shop owner and assistants in unison: (after exchanging a smile): Now, it is rs. 250 per person.

Husband and wife exchange a quick glance and step out of the studio without a word. Still wondering how an established shop can behave like a bunch of thugs.

If the story had ended here, I would have been a very sad person. Not for myself but for the capital where me and my husband are still newcomers. This would have been another one of those incidents that would have deepened the 'bad Delhi' notion generally floating around. Luckily for us, it didn't end here.

We walked out and entered the by lanes of the market. Asked people if there were any more studios. We were directed to another one. It was bit of a walk. As I walked, I was missing my 'Shivaji Park Photo studio at Dadar, Mumbai'. A Mumbaikar never misses a chance to start missing Mumbai, especially when in Delhi.

New Photo Life Studio
Sarojini Nagar Market
New Delhi
31st Aug 2010, 5:30 pm

We walked in. A lady was sitting at the counter. Pink punjabi suit, mangalsutra, fair and pleasantly plump. If she stepped out of that showroom, I would assume she was in the market to buy vegetables for dinner. But she sat there with an extremely professional look, handling business and monitoring CCTV footage at the same time.

Me: Photo khinchwani thi ji zara (have to get photographs clicked).
Lady: What kind? Passport, Visa, couple?
Husband: Visa, how much would that be?
Lady: rs 83 for 6 photos.
Husband: And soft copy?
Lady: That is free if you get your pen drive.
Me: What time can we collect it?
Lady: 7:30 pm.
Husband: Can't it be 7 pm?
Lady: No, 7:30 pm. It will be ready by then. If you come early you will have to wait unnecessarily.
Husband: Ok then, we would like one Visa photo each and one couple photo.
Lady: That will be rs. 215.

She smiled as she tendered change and asked us to goto the basement for photographs.
We were yet to get over the shock that we would have paid rs. 750 instead of rs. 215, to those big-headed brazen men at the other shop. Maybe we would have, if they weren't so rude.

All it needed was general politeness and fair trade practice. Just a smile and a fixed rate card (no matter how high or low) is all one expects from them.

It's the people who make the city. There is a bit of Dadar in every Sarojini Nagar Market and a bit of Sarojini Nagar Marget in every Dadar. We just need to be lucky enough to find and meet the right people. It's is all here!

(My pen drive didn't work when I went to collect the photographs. She cut a CD.  As I searched my purse for loose change for the CD, she  said " Give it to me when you come here next". A smile and transparency has won her loyal customers who will go only to her as long as they are in Delhi. )


  1. Am very happy that you are sharing this with the world. And more happy to see that happy ending!! I think you should post this link on your FB ac. Let the Delhiites know it with the addresses!

  2. Yes Anagha, I was prejudiced initially. I am aware that every city has its problems and good points. Sometimes we are too brash in snap judging a place. I am slowly discovering the warm, friendly side of Delhi (never mind the bad public transport)....Just wanted to share it :)

  3. this could happen only b'coz u were aware of probable charges for the same. but otherwise unfortunately this happens in every trade & every country i.e gaining advantage IF opponent is without KNOWLEGE or a new. :(

  4. I understand that would be the case for any newcomer in any field. But elementary politeness and transparency (no matter what the rate card) is something is so basic. I wonder if it is wrong to expect it.

    It was their attitude which made us get out of that shop, not the price.

  5. i agree completely to that!

    transperancy and politeness is a must, everywhere !

  6. A tough rough outer coat, needs to be peeled layer by layer and then emerges the soft interior. But how many of us have time and more importantly patience to do so. It pains me no end to be tagged as brash , brusque , crude dilliwalah its like the price tag pasted upon the original one . Deepshikha

  7. 'price tag pasted on original' is such an apt analogy. Yes it does feel bad when one is labelled outrightly on the basis of region. Unfair biases are so easy to make but so difficult to do away with.

    This post tries to bring this to notice so one thinks twice before branding anyone. I have been called a 'materialistic mumbaikar' many a times, something that I resent.

  8. बाल बाल बच गये... :)अच्छा हुवा पहलेवाला हसा नहीं... अगर वो हसता तो आप फसते ही फसतें... :D

    transperancy and politeness is a must, everywhere !... Agreed.

  9. baal baal bach gaye...sahi baat hai :)


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