Educator Yavuz İlbay shared a colourful memory from the years he had taught in Quetta. We hope this incident which happened in a period while he was newly learning Urdu will make you smile as well.
I had met a precious friend of mine in Quetta during the summer of 2004 or 2005. He said to me, “My t-shirt and blue jean are almost tattered. Let’s visit the second-hand market and let me buy something if we can find any.” In the second-hand markets, which are known as ‘landa bazaars’ in Pakistan, one can find all what they want including designer shirts and Nike football shoes. I hope his ears are burning now; later that friend of mine married a lady from Quetta.
He found a beautiful t-shirt and a blue jean at a shop. He wore them and tried them, and appreciated that they looked nice on him, he did not take them off. He simply said to the vendor, “I buy these!” We paid the money while he wore his new second-hand clothes. I think the clothes cost around 50 or 60 rupees and 1 US dollar was equal to 58 or 60 rupees in those days.
When we came out of the market, we hailed a rickshaw and told the driver the address of our school, asking him how much he would charge as fare. You may know, there are many motor rickshaws (three-wheeled passenger cabins powered by a man on a bicycle or a motorcycle engine) in those cities. Funny, those were the first years there for both of us, and our Urdu was not so polished. The rickshaw driver had asked for 25 (pachees) rupees. My friend protested saying, “Pachees (25) bahut hain bhai jaan! Charlees (40) kar deh” and started bargaining. The driver was asking 25 rupees as the fare, but we had understood it as pechaas (50) and so protested in bargaining, “Pachees (25) is so much, let that be charlees (40)!” 😂 Thankfully, the driver was a right-minded soul: He gestured with his hands and counted 25 and so we managed to get on the rickshaw.
On our way to the school, we remembered what we had forgotten too. That was no different than the proverbial feeling of ‘not knowing whether to laugh or cry’… When my friend had removed his old clothes to wear the second-hand clothes for trial, he forgot the old clothes in the changing booth! |We thought if we returned to the market to get the clothes back, we would spend additional fare on the rickshaw. We simply said, “It’s not worth going back” and added another proverb: “The game is not worth the candle!” Thankfully, he had not left anything in the pockets of the old clothes, so there was no need to worry.
As we arrived at the school, we were still laughing at the ‘hilarity’ of our feat…😆😂
Those were such beautiful days, indeed!