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In many large towns in India, small change or छुट्टा (chutta) is coveted and guarded currency that people part with sparingly and reluctantly. It is the currency of daily business with the autorickshaw driver, the vegetable vendor, the bus conductor, and even grocery shopping in supermarkets.
“Please give me exact change,” मैडम छुट्टा दीजिये (Madam chutta dijiye) is a common refrain that not only irritates me, but also turns on some subconscious alerts that I hear from my parents all the time.
“Don’t give chutta as soon as they ask for it. … First, say you don’t have change. Let THEM give change.” I roll my eyes. How can a vendor, businessman, small-shop owner have that much change for his daily business? “They do,” my parents assure me knowingly. And every time I get ready to step out for errands, I hear “Do you have change? 1 rupee, 2 rupee coins, 5 rupee coins, … ” and a fistful of coins is scooped from a coin jar and spooned into my hands.
Here are some handy phrases to use if you find yourself caught with(out) change 🙂
मैडम छुट्टा दीजिये।
(Madam, chutta dijiye.)
Ma’am, please give me exact change.
Me: (pretending to rummage feverishly through your purse while steering clear of the “change pouch”:
अरे मेरे पास छुट्टा नहीं है।
(Arre, mere paas chutta nahin hai.)
I don’t have any change.
२ रु छुट्टा होगा ?
(Do rupaiye chutta hoga?)
Would you happen to have Rs. 2 change?
नहीं है भैय्या।
(Nahin hai, bhaiyya.)
No, I don’t have any.
सॉरी मैडम मेरे पास छुट्टा नहीं है। टॉफ़ी चलेगा?
(Sorry madam, mere paas chutta nahin hai. Toffee chalega?)
Sorry ma’am, I don’t have change (either). Will a toffee/candy work as change?
रुको मैं फिरसे देखती हूँ। अच्छा चलो मिल गया। यह लो।
(Ruko, main phirse dekhti hoon. Accha chalo mil gaya. Yeh lo.)
Hold on, let me check again. Oh here, I found some change. )
|दीजिये||dijiye||please give; dena = to give|
|मेरे पास||mere paas||with me|
|नहीं है||nahin hai||not there/don’t have|
|होगा||hoga||would/could be; might have|
|चलेगा||chalega||will walk (lit.)
that’s fine/that works (fig.)
hold on/wait (fig.)
|देखती हूँ||dekhti hoon||let me see|
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