Monday, May 21, 2007

Met Life?

I started my career as a salesman whose territory was “rural” Maharashtra. Essentially meant anything beyond Thane was part of my kingdom. Annexed from the larger Mumbai land, whose rulers had little time to look into the affairs of Nagpur, Nasik and the likes. As happens when you have no expectations any performance seems spectacular and I was scintillating. As a reward for my toils, and they were toils, the fabled land of Goa was handed over to me.

Which meant I could officially fly to Goa. Whenever I wanted. That was the good news. I had inherited a dealer whose last year sales was 4 printers. Annual sales. (We used to sell Panasonic dot matrix printers and HP laser printers) My Bombay sales genes were stirred. How could someone possibly sell just 4 printers. Even Aurangabad had managed 20.

I learnt that the only flight landed in Goa at 2:15 pm or something. So the zealous sales person took an overnight bus. Bad idea. When I got off at Panjim, I could barely walk. I needed food. I needed water. I needed sleep. It was 9 am and I stumbled into the first hotel that I could spot. I sat, grabbed a waiter and ordered an omelet and toast. The waiter stared for a while and then walked away. I gulped down a glass of water and then looked around. There were four solitary men at four lonely tables, all with an open pint, a glass and a happy expression.

I walked over to the Mandovi, registered and fell asleep. Got up at 1 pm, feeling guilty as hell. Called my dealer, No response. Got ready, forfeited lunch and rushed to the dealer’s shop. Felt a little like it was a bandh day, most shops seemed shut except the booze joints. Reached to find my dealer’s shutters down. These were the days of no-mobile. Called him from a PCO and soon had a very sleepy man meet me outside his shop. I had encountered siesta.

That first day, despite the Agudas and beaches and prawns that were to follow, remains my most memorable memory of Goa.

I think it was the day I met life.