Friday, December 19, 2008

A unique name

It was a sultry summer evening; I was waiting for the bus at the stand. With darkness fast approaching and no good story yet for the coming edition, I didn’t know whether to feel restless or enjoy the cool sea breeze that can draw anyone into the lull of sleep. That’s when I noticed a pan shop with a peculiar name, Post Graduate Pan Shop. Out of curiosity, I first bought a couple of water packets and slowly started a conversation with the owner, Mr. Prasad.

Obviously, I was not the first one to enquire about the name. The shop spoke a lot about his trials and tribulations. A post-graduate in Commerce, his excellent academic record couldn’t earn him a job of even Rs 3,000 a month. After enrolling himself at Employment Exchange, he waited two-long futile years in the hope of hearing from them. He kept himself sane by doing sundry jobs. Finally, he thought of self employment and opened a pan shop. The name drew flak from the local MLAs and municipal corporator. Mr. Prasad was pressurized to change it for it became a testament of a limping political system.

A few blocks away in Andhra University, the pan shop story stealthily sneaked into the classroom discussions of MBA courses. Later, the students did a case study on Mr. Prasad’s unique venture under self employment.

On my last visit to Vizag, my hometown, I went there to check if the shop exists. I saw Mr. Prasad busy attending to his customers. Little seemed to have changed in all these years. He looked prosperous with a slight paunch and peppered hair. The shop is slightly bigger now.

Even today the name catches attention of many passersby.