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“Wallah” is a term used in India as a suffix to describe a person who performs a specified task or business.  I won’t call it slang, but certainly a term that has become part of linguistics.  It is used to describe a specialist in a particular task, with the specialization obtained through years of experience and apprenticeship.  For example, a chai-wallah is one who is in the profession of making tea, an ice-cream-wallah is one who sells ice-cream, a dhobi-wallah is one who does your laundry, a rickshaw-wallah is one who drives a rickshaw.   The person doing this specific task was probably born into a family who has done this task for generations; he too will most likely work in this profession his entire life and will do so with great pride and joy.

My last blog was about TMC (Too Many Choices). I talked about how certain things in life are most enjoyed in their simplest form such as a glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice or a hot cup of fresh-brewed coffee.  Too many choices are not necessarily optimal.  In some instances, too many choices clutter the mind, thereby inhibiting a pleasurable experience.  Too many choices are absolutely no substitute for taste.

In our present society we are brain-washed into believing that multiple choices and options are a prerequisite to maximum pleasure.  This is a fallacy and I have evidentiary data to support it.  I have example after example to prove that an activity can be enjoyed without having multiple options.   In fact, most of these activities are so simple that they are most enjoyed in their unadulterated state i.e. without murking them up with multiple choices.

Today’s blog is a follow-up of my last blog.  It is an elucidation of unadulterated rapture without multiple choices.

Chai-wallah

 

 

He is the tea-man.  He makes and sells simple piping hot tea.  Just tea, no other options.   Sometimes he may add ginger or cardamom to the boiling hot water for that extra fragrance and flavor, but that all depends on his mood!  There is no corporate manual that he has to abide by and no test audience to please.  There are no cup sizes in foreign languages, no flavored shots offered, no options of caffeinated or decaffeinated beverage and no complex menus to decipher.  There is no paraphernalia that goes with the paper cups such as the sleeve and the lid, as he is not familiar with the term “tort lobbyists” or “burn lawsuits.” What he offers is a fragrant, flavorful, sweet, milky concoction in one size, that has been brewed to perfection and poured with such expertise that can only be attained after years of experience and training.  There is only one size and one flavor, but it is so pleasurable that it fits the taste of all.  The concoction delights the senses and soothes the soul.  A single option perfected to the “T.”

 

Juice-wallah

 

 

He is the juice man.  His skill is to make the freshest, pulpiest, sweetest, purest orange juice that one can ever taste.  There are no options of a gazillion kinds of fruit, no mixtures and combinations, no sizes, no add-ons, no ratios and no fractions.  Finally a “no-math-involved” glass of orange juice, just the way nature intended it to be.

Doodh-wallah

 

He is the milk man.  He delivers fresh milk with a thick ring of cream on the top that transports one to the Swiss Alps.  There are no options of low fat, skimmed, non-fat, 1%, 2%, lactose free, vitamin D added, etc. etc.  There are no strippings and no additions.  It is milk in its pure form just the way it should be, squeezed from the udders of the cow rather than churned and manufactured in an assembly line container, stripped off its innate element.   Nature has already added the necessary vitamins and minerals.   We don’t need to add the extra synthetic junk!  If calories is your issue, put down the toxic burger and drink another glass of simple milk.  Isn’t it a stipulated that Milk Does a Body Good!!

 

Fruit-wallah

 

 

He is the fruit man.  Caveat:  If you are looking for laminated labels advertising “certified,” “organic,” “preservative free,” “fertilizer free,” fruit,  priced at the amount of some worker’s daily wages in a developing nation, then this fruit is not for you.

There will be no fancy labels and no re-cycled packaging (which in most instances is a marketing ploy rather than genuine environmental concerns.)  There are no lofty claims advertising fruit “fresh from the farm,” which ironically is located 2,000 miles across the nation!

What you will get is a small sampling of fruit that your olfactory senses will detect from miles away.  What you will get is fruit that has not been sitting in the cooler for weeks.   What you will get is fruit that provides a burst of flavors and oozes with juice when you bite into it.  What you will get is a sensory delight.  So what if the sampling includes only apples and bananas, I will happily forego the variety for fruit that at least tastes like fruit and not cardboard with an overly polished skin.

Tiffin-wallah

 

 

What should I say about Tiffin-wallahs.  They have become a phenomenon especially in cosmopolitan cities like Bombay and Delhi.  In fact, New York City is aping the food delivery service to cater to our accelerated lifestyles.  Tiffin is a stainless steel lunch box consisting of a few food compartments.   In India, the Tiffin-wallahs deliver the tiffin lunches to hundreds and thousands of office workers on bicycles with such precision and timeliness that they could be the brand-ambassadors for Raymond Weil’s new ad campaign for precision.

There are no menus or multiple choices for the tiffin.   There are two options, vegetarian and non-vegetarian.  Yes, imagine that, just two choices.  What do you get in lieu of hundreds of choices that you could find in a restaurant?  You get scrumptious, perfectly flavored, healthy, preservative-free, fresh, home-cooked lunch for the busy worker.  No garnishes, no choices of cooking style, no less of this and more of that.  Just plain good old-fashioned lunch.

 

And finally diverging from the “wallahs.”  In my last blog I discussed the bombardment of social media and its somewhat redundant and repetitive effect.  Above is an example of social media in its simplest form.  There is no streaming, no YouTubing, no Live-casting, no plasma flat-screens, no 70-feet screens.  Here, is a family enjoying simple television viewing in their flooded living room during the heavy monsoons of India.  It is not just TV viewing, but family bonding time as well.  I will take this form of social media any day over the faux socialization on say a Facebook!

Options are good, but certain activities are unparalleled in singularity.

 

 

 

 

 

  • So well said. I’ve been pondering something so similar (trying to imagine a world without advertising, marketing, etc) and yet, you are getting at the essence of what I’m pondering. That last photo truly captured my imagination…and I found myself worried about the combination of electricity and water!

  • Albert:

    So which country is third world? Fresh tea, juice, milk, and food at your door? I’m confused. Great article, Ambu. And I really like the photos. These people are the real pros.

  • I have neglected my Facebook account, so I can’t say that I’d miss it intensely if we didn’t have that! I agree, we have so many choices in life. It’s a luxury that is … often taken for granted or sometimes for certain things unnecessary! I am always left with such gratitude (for my life) when I visit my grandparents, both who have lived through The Great Depression, the invention of the internet, etc. Remembering their tales of daily life, and content living very simply makes me appreciate all of the choices that I have today, yet grounded by how to have a pleasurable life without too many “bells and whistles.”
    I do love the last photo, it’s a wonderful interpretation of what’s important … togetherness, spending family time, instead of focusing on the obvious flooded living space. I often wonder if some people had one choice to pick during a flood, fire or similar event: what exactly would it be their mobile or a loved one? lol Both posts were great Ambu! :)

  • This was such a good read. Life in a simplified form.

    “Options are good, but certain activities are unparalleled in singularity.” Couldn’t agree more! :)

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