Yes, Dear!

Yes – Dear!

The other day I met this old friend of mine shopping in a Children’s Shop for a baby hammock-cum-pram.  He looked very agitated, trying to argue desperately with the lady sales assistant to ‘reduce the price’.  He kept looking at his wallet whilst talking to this lady.   Finally, the exasperated sales lady called in her lady Supervisor. “What is the problem?” the supervisor asked of the Customer.  The sales lady tries to say something; the other lady stops her.  “I am asking the Customer”, she cuts in, politely though. The poor man now (almost pleading) says, “I came last week, this was only RO. 30/-, how come to it has gone now to OMR (Omani Rials) 39/-‘

“Sir,” the Supervisor says, “last week we had a Sale.  The Sale is now finished”

Yes Dear 3 Yes Dear 2 Yes Dear 1

Images For Demonstration Purposes Only!

“But I came in with only OMR 30/- I thought that was enough.  You see my wife and I came in last week, but we thought we would buy it only now.  Since we put the baby on to try on it, she has kept crying since we took her away from it” (‘I cannot go home now without it”, remained unsaid,” Otherwise the baby who has not stopped crying, the mother will kill me for sure’!)

It is then I approach the friend.  I said (pulling him aside).  If it is a question of money, I can help and chip in.  He says stoically and politely “No,” I am okay-thanks!

I move to the next counter.  I give the other Supervisor OMR 9/- (nine) – what is it for a friend?  He looks like a more senior Sales guy.

“Okay”, he tells the customer, “we shall sell you at the Sale Price” The man cannot hide his pleasure and happiness.  He is given a receipt for OMR 30/- and leaves the shop – a happy man back to his good and anticipating wife and child.  I get my OMR 9/- receipt separately.

Yes Dear 4

Images For Demonstration Purposes Only!

 Now this is my question!  

If you do not have the money, why in all Heavens and Graces take your wife to such a shop, and try baby on such gadgets – when you know there is just enough for petrol for the car till next pay day? Guess the man wanted to ‘please’ his wife.  Or perhaps the wife wanted to go there, and the man (like the rest of us, no guile or guts) could not say emphatically and categorically “No” – ‘I am not walking in that shop ‘to see or window-shop anything’ unless I have money in my pocket first!  That is how men used to be before, in the olden days of our grandfathers time.

This is how fast our Omani society is changing to play its role in the ‘Global Village” the world has now become.  It is not only in Oman, it is everywhere.  The line between being masculine (macho, strong man) and feminine (soft, tender, Yes Darling) has been merged – you never know which side you are in, perhaps until it is too late.

The rate race.  Competing with the Toms Dicks and Harrys.  Or in our part of the world with the Alis,  Khalids and Salims. How many of us have involved ourselves in expenses that we could have all have saved the money for a better or worthier  cause.  How many?  I am no angel myself.  Nor my family either.  When shall we learn?  We need to do that now!. Before it is too late! At least for the sake of our children and the future generations!

One time, several years ago we had a surprise visit from one of our (financially poorer, but hearts richer!) family members.  At the time there was nothing in the house, so the good self moved next to the Kentucky Fried Chicken shop near our home and bought some family meals. The children from the visiting family were so happy (something new).  You could see the mother being very much embarrassed, uncomfortable and almost fidgeting.  How does the good self handle such sensitivities?  Brainwave – distractions.., say or do something quickly different to move focus! Or pretend! Nothing heard!. Believe me, or not.   I cried at night.  My wife thought I was a sentimental old fool, needed an outlet (perhaps not happy at work?)

Because we can afford to have most things, we take it for granted that most other families are in the same boat.  The truth is completely different. We keep wanting more and more, like in the Charles Dickens story.  Yet others are happy and contented with what few that they have.  They are relaxed and cool at heart, happy and satisfied.  Whilst the rest of us are continuously on the run, never happy and in the competition and in the rat race.  More! Please More! More Please!

When this family was leaving, the mother could not hide her gratifications and gratitude.  We always remembered them, especially in the Holy Month of Ramadhan  and on Eid days.

3 days ago this boy (tall) comes into the house.  He looks familiar, but I cannot place him.  He tells me who he is (from that family!). Remember me?  I feel more embarrassed I guess more than him! I look at him again. He has just returned from abroad with a Master’s Degree, and landed with a good job too!

‘By the way”, he says, regards from father and mother.  I shall now be looking after them.  (Hope so, son, before you too get trapped in the ‘Okay, Yes, Darling’ syndrome and forget your parents too in the process).  One can only hope and pray – nothing else one can do. Sometimes being without and poor can be a great motivator, pusher, propeller and stimuli to exceed in life.  Thanks to Allah, our parents insisted we get educated and as a tool to succeed in life.

Is it not a vicious circle?  I guess it is.  What else can one say?

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This story was extracted from

D - The Sequel  C - Short Takes

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