Last evening I went to this chemist shop in our vicinityonly to find that it had been converted into a grocery. In fact this particularshop used to be a grocery previously as well but was later converted into achemist shop with the same green-grocer who was selling vegetables peddling medicines.It was obvious that the shop had been reconverted into a grocery with the samefellow again back to selling vegetables.
"Why have you changed back to your old trade? Didn't youfind selling medicines a profitable venture?" I asked 'Daaktarsaab' as there-born vegetable vendor used to be called while he was selling medicines.
"Selling vegetables comes nowhere near selling medicines.Medicines are a profitable business…" he said drawing a cold breath.
"Then why this transition?"
He sighed once again, "You see somedays' back a couple ofdrug inspectors raided my shop. They were looking for fake medicines…"
"You mean all thistime you have been selling fake medicines to us!" I was shocked.
"Well I wasn't doing that deliberately… It is the companiesthat have been supplying the medicines…" thevegetable-vendor-turned-chemist-turned-vegetable-vendor said defensively.
"So if you were not involved why did you give up sellingmedicines?" I wasn't wholly convinced.
"It is a risky business so I decide to switch back to myoriginal trade. Besides there was some issue with my drug license…" he said.
"You did have a drug license if I remember?" There used tobe something to the effect hanging on the wall of his shop.
"Well…yes…no…actually you see the drug licensebelonged to someone else and I had just…well 'rented' it." He said sheepishly.
"Well it is not theright thing to do but then a lot of chemists do just that, conduct businesswith somebody else's license. Must be a rather common practice I suppose." Isaid with just a hint of disapproval in my tone. Actually a couple of my closefriends are carrying on in a similar way which makes me privy to this practice.
"Yes that's right. But you see the drug inspectors inspectedthe license and declared it fake!"
"Yes! I called the guy from whom I had 'rented' it and whenI confronted him with the inspectors' claim he admitted that it was indeed afake license." He said gnashing his teeth.
"Now that is a mess," I said and then I recalling that I hadmyself purchased some medicines from his shop some days back I asked him, "LastTuesday when I was sick and consulted the doctor who used to practise at yourshop and he prescribed some medicines, were those also fake?"
He thought for a while and then pursing his lips and shakinghis head said in a regretful voice, "Yes I think so."
"My God! You…or if, as you say, you are innocent at leastthe suppliers of those fake medicines should be hanged!" I vented my bile. "Itis a wonder though that I was cured by those fake medicines!" I addedgrudgingly.
A mischievous smile played on his lips and he said, "Maybethen it was a fake illness!"
I blushed. To admit the truth I had just wanted an excuse toput in a 'medical' leave for a few days. Observing my discomfiture he laughedand I couldn't but join him though I did add rather ruefully, "That Doctor ofyours didn't pick it up though."
He laughed even louder at this. "How could he! You see hewas a fake too! While the drug inspectors were examining my stocks he slippedaway. I have come to know since that his M.B;B.S. degree was not a result offive years of slogging it out at a medical school but all of five minutes at acomputer shop!"
I couldn't resist letting out a whistle, "Man you must havefound yourself in real hot water. I wonder why those inspector chaps didn'thave you arrested."
"They did threaten me with that but I pleaded with them andfell upon their feet… not that it made them relent. Said that they could notallow anybody to play with peoples' lives and that it was a matter of principleand all that… It took a neat bundle of cash to make them decide to give meone last chance. 50,000 bucks actually!"
"Corrupt Rascals!" I exploded with rage.
"No! No! It was not that. You see later in the evening thesame day I happened to meet this Drug Inspector whom I know since many years.He asked me how my business was doing and I related my woeful tale to him. Heexpressed surprise at my story and after dialling a few numbers he informed methat no drug inspector had conducted a raid in our area! The Drug Inspectorswho had raided my shop were themselves fake!"
We had a hearty laugh at this but I couldn't resist sayingsomewhat maliciously, "You were swindled of 50,000 rupees anyway!"
He went into a cycle of uncontrollable laughter so much sothat tears sprang from his eyes. Wiping the same he said, "You haven't heardhalf of it! When those fake Drug Inspectors agreed to give me 'another chance',the negotiations finally stopped at 50,000 rupees. Luckily my brother-in-lawhad earlier given me a briefcase full of notes to keep in safe custody. Iborrowed a bundle of notes from the same because there was no time to go to thebank. Later when he came to my place I told him that I had borrowed fiftythousand out of the money. And tell you what he just laughed! He told me thatthe notes were a defective lot, printed only on one side and were meant to bedestroyed!"
"But how can that be," I remonstrated, "Such notes neverfind their way into circulation!"
He rolled with laughter, "You haven't understood! Thosecurrency notes too were fake!"
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored!Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce(iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, firstname.lastname@example.org)