The 150 Rupee Smile
Haggling is a way of life in India. Double or triple the price is often asked for an item or a service. Sometimes I negotiate but I don’t always feel the need. There are some people who I want a reduced price from, some who I accept the price as is and, then some…
I was leaving a restaurant in Agra and understood that my hotel was not too far away. The bicycle rickshaw driver I approached asked for 100 rupees. I said, no, 50. A couple of other men came up and negotiated for me and agreed, 50 was fair. So, off we went.
However, the hotel was much farther than expected. Much farther. And often up a low grade hill. The thin man worked so hard that I wanted to get out and push him up the hill. Half way there, he had earned the 100 rupees in my mind. By the time he made it, he had earned a 50 rupee tip.
When I pushed the 150 rupees into his hand he looked at me with a smile, concern, disbelief… No photo was taken. But I will remember that 150 rupee smile forever.