This morning after breakfast, I drove to the wet market to get all the things necessary for salted fish curry. My mum promised to prepare this dish, my husband's favourite, for lunch. Jitra's wet market is very small and after some time you get to know all the folks there. Some of them are very nice and greet you with a wide smile while others seem quite hostile, for whatever reasons best known to them only. I build a rapport with the friendlier ones and one of them is the girl who sells the salted fish. This girl, in her mid-twenties, I think, has her way of teasing me. She calls me Kak ..............( after a well-known celebrity). I knew she was just pulling my leg and felt very embarassed when all eyes turned towards my direction the first time she called out to me using this name. After some time, most people got used to her form of address and started to follow her example in calling me that. Of course, I protested, telling them that I am twice the celebrity's age and nowhere near her in terms of beauty and grace, but they persisted stubbornly. Well, may be that is her way of luring me to her stall. They have their "market strategies", too. In all honesty, I must admit, it does give me a certain amount of pleasure, regardless of whether their assessment is genuine or otherwise!
Then, there is this stall belonging to a Chinese couple which sells grated coconut and coconut milk. The husband calls me "Datin". I corrected him several times but my requests were left unheeded. Every time I want some coconut milk, I will have to scout round and make sure there are no friends around at the stall for fear they hear the title bestowed upon me. It can be painfully embarassing lest my friends think that I was the one who initiated it in the first place. But, once again, in all honesty, I must say that it does wonders for my self-esteem and boosts my confidence to a certain extent.
Now, what can I say. Despite all the protests, I am foolishly and helplessly drawn to their stalls instead of the others. These people know how to play their game - "market strategies" and all. At the end of the day, it is a win-win situation. They get one regular customer and I derive some form of satisfaction for the "recognition". God knows how many "celebrities" and "Datins" are out there thronging the wet market of Jitra every day!
Sorry guys, I am not ready to reveal the celebrity's name. It is toooooo embarassing. Not now, not ever. Well, may be after a facelift or an expert make over!!!!