My mom had promised to gift me a gold ring with my birthstone when I turn eighteen. It was one of my long standing wishes to have a ring with a stone on it. The day I turned 18, I promptly took the opportunity and headed to one of the jewellery shops named after a legendary Titan in my small home town of Changanacherry.
The shop owner knew me very well and received me with great joy and listened to my need to get the ring with my birthstone. I had done a bit of research before heading to buy the ring with the stone. As strange as it might sound today, those were the pre-Google era where people had to ask others to get the required information. I was aware of my birthstone as Aquamarine which was supposed to have a marine blue sheen.The owner asked me a few questions about my date and time of birth. It didn’t sound strange since I thought he was only reiterating the details to ascertain my birthstone. Things started looking a bit odd when he asked me questions on my astrological stars and a few other details. I shared with him whatever little I knew about them and without delay he got into the act of referring certain astrological books.
A few minutes into his reading, the fellow came up with a suggestion which sounded totally bizarre to me! He stated that based on my astrological stars I’m supposed to wear only a pearl on my ring and no other stone. The thought of wearing a ring with a pearl didn’t sound appealing to me at all. I badly wanted a ring with a stone and preferably my birthstone itself.He refused to accept my wish and almost confirmed the order with what he suggested. He was about to sell me the ring when I found a bit of courage from somewhere and told him, that was not what I wanted. I categorically laid down before him the need to have a ring with a stone and not a pearl. He continued to respond negatively and said if he was to sell a ring to me it’ll only be one with a pearl on it. So much for customer being the king!
The argument went on for a while. I tried my best to convince him about my long standing wish to have a ring with a stone on it and my dislike towards wearing one with a pearl. He was absolutely adamant on his decision and didn’t seem like budging at all. After a few minutes into the discussion he made a weird suggestion. He proposed continuing the discussion on the upstairs of the shop. I for a moment was not sure what his intentions were. I even wondered about a secret collection of rings with stones on the floor upstairs which he probably didn’t want to reveal to the other customers around.
With a bit of apprehension I followed him to the section upstairs. I was quite confident that he was not going to act smart since my family knew where I was at that given point of time and he knew that too. Expecting an array of mirrors reflecting immense wealth of precious jewellery in diamonds, gold and silver, I climbed the stairs to the second floor. I was almost sure of finding my Aquamarine studded gold ring awaiting my arrival to be part of my finger as my eighteenth birthday gift from my mom. We landed on the top floor and what in actuality welcomed me was totally beyond any of my remote faculty! It was neither the glittering gold nor other jewels that presented themselves in front of me. Rather a completely empty hall which was merely plastered with absolutely no furniture whatsoever greeted us! I was startled for a few moments that the shop owner had to shake me back to reality.
What followed after this was even more shocking! He laid down a bamboo mat in front of us and invited me to join him. Till date I’m not sure from where, but by the time I blinked my eyes there was a bottle of Honey Bee brandy and two glasses right in front of us. This was followed by a statement, “Now, let us discuss”! I seemed to have lost all my abilities to speak at that moment. My vocabulary appeared to have deserted me forever. An innocent boy who just turned eighteen who visited a jewellery shop with a simple wish to have a gold ring with a birthstone was made to sit in front of a bottle of brandy being insisted of having a peg or two before striking a deal to agree on an unwanted item from the store! What a wacky world of business it was!
I came to a quick conclusion that I won’t be able to resist the action with words. There was only one thing left to do. A flash of a second is all what it took. With less time than required for a cracker to burst after set to fire, I ran holding my life and was out of his sight in no time! I was literally flying down the stairs and was out of the shop as well, before he could even say ‘stop’!
What a way to get a simple birthday wish fulfilled?!