On Sunday, I accompanied Nanda Mandir prabhu to a bicycle shop near the temple. It was a sunday and the sun was doing its job for a good part of the morning. We could have had a nice 10 minute walk but he preferred to take the car. Car can be an addictive thing.
As Nanda prabhu parked his car and walked up to the shop, a little girl playing with her dad stopped mid way in her sport. She stood there gazing. Who is this Orange-Man? Dad took her in his arms, possibly to stop her from gazing at strangers. Once inside, the sales boys looked nervous. “What do we do?”, they must have wondered. Their sales training had never equipped them to manage the Orange Man. Nanda prabhu helped himself and was busy going through cycle chains, bike oils and later on moved to study some mountain bikes on the wall. I spotted a classic bicycle by the entrance. It was exactly like the ones we see in India on the roads…you know those cheap ones….but this single piece was priced well over A$2000 !! Made in France, it said.
It’s amazing how a whole shop can go silent when a devotee in his devotee clothes enters the premises. I have seen this in grocery stores, petrol stations or even from customers outside our booths at prasadam tents. Most of the time, it’s the teenagers and the young in general that goes all quiet. But I am sure its out of respect. I think they are not sure how to talk to people in spiritual outfits. So what they see an Orange Man or those with markings on their forehead, they prefer to stay out-of-the-way, opt to speak less, takes care to be extra polite and serves/orders quickly. Actually, that’s good customer service.
Finally, a middle-aged person, possibly the owner walked up to Nanda and said, “Hey Mate !! How are ya? Haven’t seen you in a while !”And he proceeded to sell Nanda prabhu, a tube for the tyre and some lubricating oil. Nanda prabhu was happy. He was going to ride bikes again. Just like the old times. He hadn’t noticed anything different at all in the cycle shop.