Cost Price

He put his hand in his breast pocket to feel for his credit card. It was still there––tucked inside a folded post-it note, which contained a list of errands he had to run that morning. Mr Munshi suddenly remembered that he had promised Usha he would buy a present for her niece. She had asked him this almost a week ago, when she had already collected most of the other gifts for the family—soaps, lotions, chocolates, baby clothes. Of course he had forgotten. But his wife would surely remember today. The thing with Usha, he had learned over these years, was that when she found one problem, she suddenly remembered twenty other things to complain about.

He turned back and walked down to the pharmacy, which was thankfully open. He looked up and down the shampoo aisle, the soap aisle and finally lingered by the creams. Mr Munshi stared at the fancy labels and pictures and high price-tags and decided this would please his wife, who insisted that the gifts couldn’t be anything ordinary and a certain amount had to be spent in order to appear generous.