"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Pot Luck



The monsoon has now departed.

At its height, flapping bamboo blinds on our roof terrace toppled and cracked some of the pots.

It is time to replace them.


An auto rickshaw brought us to the local terracotta outlet.

Distrustful of the weather, the lady shop-owner has left the larger pots still covered with tarpaulins.

A few are uncovered for my inspection.

Haggling does not come naturally to me. Leaving it to the experts is simpler.

I indicate to Anu, my houseboy, which items interest me. Then bargaining begins.

The process is light-hearted. Broad smiles, ham acting, much arm waving and laughter – all appear vital to a satisfying transaction.

The auto driver and I stand back to enjoy the performance.

Having negotiated a thirty percent reduction of the asking price, both Anu and the owner appear happy.

I pay.


We are then wedged tightly back into the auto, amidst our fragile goods and cardboard protective padding. Pots and decorative finials are clutched between our arms and thighs. The driver very carefully manoeuvres us home, avoiding pot-holes wherever possible.

Somehow, we and our purchases arrive intact.

The pots are washed and put aside until roof terrace repainting is completed.


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One response

  1. They are quite beautiful …

    December 5, 2010 at 10:20 pm

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