Non resident Indians are those who are domiciled out of country. For short NRI. They are like migratory birds. Come winter and they rush in hordes to pleasant winters, leaving snow-falling places of Europe and Canada, behind. Pretext could be a pseudo family reunion, bride hunting or shopping. All make up the reason for visit.
We recently had one such visitor. This person had inherited a chemist shop a few years back. Though he has no technical qualification he could prescribe medicines for everything from common cold to hair fall to weight-loss. But without any clue about side effects.
After tea and nourishment they left for shopping and returned in the evening at tea time, with loads of shopping bags. After a round of tea the Guest noticed a small box of Boric Acid lying around. He was immediately curious. “What you people do with it?” As if it was something discovered by scientists yesterday. We informed him that it was a crude pest repellent, and was used as such. By than the guest had looked at the price which was ten bucks. It translates into 20 cents or 10 pence. “Get me ten or twenty such packets” was the demand. It was revealed that it could be sold there at about 20 times the price. There is nothing surprising about it. Currency exchange rates are not based on purchasing power but are governed by demand and supply besides speculation.
But here the issue is “profit”. A trader is always looking at buying cheap and selling dearer. Even in the middle of a social call made after several years, the trader could not resist the temptation to make small profit. His two-dimensional thinking could not think of anything else.
I had to point out that Boric Acid is a kind of poison and may be regulated by laws. Any kind of white powder is looked upon suspiciously by customs all over world. Further its import could be risky from customs point of view. Well, he did not sound convinced at all but thankfully changed the topic. It was time for me to ponder as to how these Traders always think of trading at all the times and nothing else. Was the social visit also part of some trading investment? Who knows.
© Sandeep Bhalla