Chicken Sagar is a satirical series on everyday issues in Contemporary India. This one is on the vaccination debates during the Pandemic era. Each Indian has taken or avoided the vaccine based on-some philosophy or the other. This is a take on that… Enjoy!
As soon as I reached the shop we got down to business. I ordered 2 boneless breast pieces, about one kilogram of poultry bred broiler chicken.
Hhhrmph – Chicken Sagar’s grunt. Acknowledgment that he heard me. He relayed the order to his assistant -better known as Chicken Sagar’s assistant. That’s when I observed
Chicken Sagar’s 45 degrees of seperation.
Chicken Sagar’s counter consisted of a plastic desk (with drawers attached,) a revolving chair, a bill book, mobile phone attached to a charging adapter. This was his throne – his seat of power where he sat & conducted his buisness. The chair & counter was placed in such an angle where Chicken Sagar would faced his favourite chicken coupes at all times, also keep an eye on assistant plus have an eye out on his customers & the road ahead, all seperated by an exact 45 degrees.
That day, Chicken Sagar heard my order, swiveled from me to coupe to assistant & shouted – – Don breast, boneless – medium dee’
Chicken Sagar’s assistant was always busy cutting chickens. He never acknowledged the orders nor argued, just kept on working. But on rare occasions he did speak. And then everyone including Chicken Sagar listened. This time though it wasn’t he who spoke. The words came from somewhere else. From a local
Local v/s foreigner.
Maashe! – where are you from?
Startled at these words, I looked for the source. I didn’t have to go far. He was a middle aged man. He was sitting on the stool placed right between Chicken Sagar’s shops- open chicken shop & shut wine shop.
The shutter of the wine shop always remained shut. That’s because Chicken Sagar only kept the back door open. It gave the shop a very shady feel. That made the men flock to the place.
Back to the man who had just shouted ‘awesome’. One look at his grumpy face made me realise he was asking me.
What patrao – Chicken Sagar asked the man, –early morning what is so ek number?
It was past 12 noon. But it wasn’t really the time to point it out to Chicken Sagar.
The man didn’t respond to Chicken Sagar. Instead he fixed his gaze at me & asked –
Where do you stay?
Eva villas, i answered. That was the brand of building owned by one company. The builder had brought land all over the village. Now the red faced man’s face took a dark shade..
And where are you from?
Bombay – I replied. Outsider! his eyes said, his lips stayed shut. As his face now turned crimson.
So, you took the vaccine to come here?
Patrao took his vaccine shot yesterday, said Chicken Sagar’s assistant. The wise man’s words had Chicken Sagar raise his eyebrows in admiration.
How could they do this? Insist that all of us take vaccines – Where is the data? that Where are the human trials? It’s a conspiracy – culling – pollution control – tackle global warming. Everyone is in on it – WHO, big pharma, UN, governments….
Aiy, aiy,aiy Patrao stop.
For a full minute Chicken Sagar let Patrao rant before he intervened. Seeing that it had no effect, he looked at me embarrassed & said – ‘this is because he has a place to sit & people to hear’. He looked towards his assistant turning full 180 away from his chickens, ‘Take that stool away-‘ he told his assistant pointing to the stool before turning back.
I was stunned – kept looking at the man on the stool. In a faded Mohammed Ali boxing t-shirt & brown Bermudas, he looked like a simpleton. I would have never taken him to be an expert on the vaccine. Something must have really hit him hard that he acquired all this knowledge – knows so many things. Perhaps he tested positive, it must have been difficult. Worse – he must have lost a dear one.
Tell me Sagar, this is just not done! Said the man when Chicken Sagar got up himself to get the stool. Hearing the pain in his voice Chicken Sagar spoke –
See –vaccine is what? Just injection or drops. My chicken get injected in the farm – all of them, no exceptions. It makes them grow big & healthy. True – some cannot take it, but most do. Then they come here & live healthy lives.
I heard this against the backdrop of Chicken Sagar’s assistants holding a knife in one hand & the healthy vaccinated chicken’s throat in the other. These pearls of wisdom from Chicken Sagar also made Patrao get up from the stool. It was that kind of moment.
Also go the back & have a drink – Chicken Sagar told Patrao. Suddenly the grumpy face disappeared, all doubts on vaccine vanished. He turned to go then made one half ditched effort at resistance –
You are not supposed to drink after the vaccine, the doctor –
Till now you had problems with the vaccine-, Chicken Sagar interrupted him, ‘-now you have a problem with my drink’.
Chicken Sagar’s drinks were beyond doubts – Patrao knew that as he had been a steady client for the past 15 years.
Plus, the vaccine can give you fever-, Chicken Sagar added, –and you alcohol can give only acidity, it kills fever.
That was all it took. Vaccination won. Patrao happily left to get a drink. Chicken Sagar wisely took the stool away. Chicken Sagar’s assistant handed me my order. I paid & left from the place still pondering over Chicken Sagar’s vaccination philosophies.