Mind Your Language
Joe, the Ravana of Superunic
Both of them hail from the North. Ram is from Long Mountain and Joe comes from Terre Rouge. In the beginning, as with most businesses, they could just about manage to keep their heads above water. It is now almost 20 years since that modest tobacconist shop has been closed. In its stead, the two gentlemen have been running the Supernic Supermarket across the road. Out of admiration for their success story, I have nicknamed it “The Sampoorna Ramayana1 Supermarket.”
I have so called it simply because the proprietor’s name is Ram and his wife, also from Long Mountain, is called Sita. To complete the triumvirate of the Ramayana, I have given Joe the title of Ravana, an appellation the guy is perfectly at ease with. In contrast to Valmiki’s original, our Ravana is the right-hand man of Ram and Sita. Indeed, many people around here are of the opinion that he is the man behind the success story of the business. He is always so friendly, cheerful, energetic. And witty too.
Last year, I remarked to him, “Joe, how come that Kingfisher, the Indian beer, is more expensive than our Phoenix, Pilsener and even the famous Dutch Heineken, which are also imported?”
Without hesitating for a moment, he replied, “Doc, the beers you mention are made of water from Mauritius, the Nile, Lake Victoria and I don’t know from where else. But, the Kingfisher is made from the pure water of Mother Ganga!”
The Chicken and the Egg
A few weeks ago, at about 8.30 am, I was shopping at the Superunic, where I usually buy fresh fish and chicken. On that day, when I cast a glance in the fridge, there was neither fish nor chicken left.
When I enquired from Joe, his quick explanation was, “But Doc, you have come too early for fresh chicken; at this hour, they are still busy laying eggs. But, for sure they will be here in two hours’ time!”
Time for Sport
Another time, I asked him whether, like his boss who is fond of cycling, jogging and playing football, he practises any sport. He replied that he does not practise any sport as such, but enjoys a nice walk early in the morning, adding, “Meme dans l’hiver, soleil fini lever 5.45.”2
– Alors, qui l’heure li coucher?3 I asked.
– Bé Doc, li alle coucher quand li gagne sommeil!4
Dr B Foogooa
1. The complete Ramayana
2. Even in winter, the sun rises at 5.45
3. But, what time does the sun set?
4. Well, Doc, as soon as he feels sleepy
About 35 years back, Ram and Joe, two close friends began the business of running a tobacconist shop in Morcellement St Jean, starting from scratch.