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Slick like Oil (standard:non fiction, 1337 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Jul 08 2013Views/Reads: 1215/856Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A story of woman vendor that made house calls to sell vegetable oils.

Slick like Oil 

Subba Rao 

While growing up, Juggernaut always looked forward for Sundays 

for the visits from a woman vendor that made house calls every Sunday 

afternoon to sell all kinds of vegetable oils such as sesame, coconut, 

mustard and peanut.  At the center of Juggernaut's house was a large 

court yard that opened into four section of the house, each rented 

separately for a family. The stone floor of the large court yard with 

open sky was a convenient meeting place for the tenants. During 

monsoon season, the rain falling from the open sky into the court yard 

was an outdoor experience in the middle of the large house.  The 

renters gather in the court yard to buy vegetables, fruits, dairy 

products, oils, or even clothes and other sundry items brought by the 

visiting vendors. The visits from vendors attracted adults and kids 

alike to gather around the products spread on the stone floor by the 

vendors.  For a short time, the central court yard transformed into a 

mini bazaar. 

An oil vendor named Appala Narasamma, a small woman with fair 

skin just short of five feet visited every Sunday afternoon. She came 

along with a porter Veeriah, a tall man with a narrow face. For any 

inquiry he replied with a smile exposing his teeth with varied colors 

from light yellow to dark brown or black from chewing Areca nuts and 

Betel leaves often. He always carried two oil containers; one on his 

head and one with his hand. On reaching the court yard, he will first 

carefully rest the can in his hand on the floor and then using both 

hands he carefully lowers the container from his head to the ground. 

The container from the head was the one that attracted Juggernaut the 

most for its intricate design.  It was an oval shaped white metal 

vessel either tin or aluminum for light weight. While Narasamma made 

herself comfortable squatting next to the oil cans to start dispensing 

the oil to the tenants, Juggernaut made sure that he gets to sit close 

to the oil vessel to observe her dispensing techniques. The vessel has 

few compartments to contain different oils without intermixing, one 

for sesame, one for mustard and so forth; the cheapest of all oils was 

the peanut oil purchased in large quantities by the tenants especially 

for frying, the peanut oil was carried separately in a tall milk can 

the porter carried with his hand from a thick metal ring on top of the 

can.  He walked effortlessly with peanut oil can hanging from his hand 

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