The colour purple

One of my colleagues adores the colour purple. To say it’s her favourite colour is an understatement. As we waited in the car to cross the Grand Trunk Road in Delhi to get to the clinic, a cycle rickshaw pulled alongside. This was a cycle-utility vehicle, carrying potted flowers. Most of the blooms were yellow chrysanthemums, but at the back there was a pot of purple petunias.

“Those are the flowers I’d go for,” she said. The cyclist ignored the traffic lights and pulled across the oncoming vehicles and headed south. It looked like we had missed our opportunity. When the lights changed, we drove across the dual carriageway and onto the service road outside the clinic.

As we got out of the vehicle, an Indian man ran up to us with the purple petunia in his hand. “Twenty rupees,” he said. “That’s a deal,” we replied, then he vanished. The cyclo driver appeared and took back the flower. “That man stole it. The real price is 120 rupees.”

We tried to bargain but he wouldn’t budge. The plant looked dried up, wilted and sad, like a puppy at Battersea Dogs Home which has been passed by.

“How on earth did that happen? Spooky coincidence!” said my colleague. “It isn’t worth 120.” Perhaps it needed some Purple Rain to perk it up.



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