Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Our World-A Not So Super Supermarket!

“Badnekai…bendekai…sorekai…southekai…seemesouthekai…herekai…haglakai…hasimensinaki…avrekai…chaparadavrekai...nuggekai…darlekai…kumblakai…kadlekai…padavalakai…aa kai ee kai…tamata…aalugadde…suvarnagadde…aa gadde ee gadde…iruli…beluli…karibevooo…kothambrrrri sopppo…tharkaaarrri!!!”

If you understand the above lines feel free to skip the next paragraph and read further.

If you do not,well here is a little piece of information to keep you in the loop of this post.In the towns of Karnataka when you hear these many names on the street you are made to believe that the vegetable seller is here to give you yours and make his daily bread.These names of vegetables and the tone in which he screams vary depending on what he wants you to buy.Believe me he can be extremely hilarious,most of the times I cannot figure out what he has arrived with until he is at the doorstep.Hoping now that you are in the loop by now and have an idea of what I am going to chatter about, proceed at your own risk and read further:)
These cries and calls were once a common phenomenon during the later part of mornings and evenings, we do not get to hear many nowadays.I have a remote connection of gratitude with these people, especially with an old lady who used to sell bananas on the pavement near Havanur Circle.I was new to the city then,it had been only a week since Appa was transferred from Doddaballapura.First day of standard four in my fourth school and I lost my way back towards our new home!Seeing me confused and equally terrified this good grandma came to my rescue.She helped me with the route and to make me feel better she gave some bannanas for free.Not that they helped but she certainly did.By the way I hate bananas,this is the only good memory of the fruit that I have.If not for her I would not be here now writing this post. Every time I visit the neighbourhood my eyes search her.The landscapes have changed, now cluttered with more buildings and traffic.I miss the greenery that once made those roads feel like home,it is my favorite part of this town.I did see her once in the same spot wearing the same saree and selling those same bananas with more wrinkles on her forehead and nothing else.She recognized me and offered me a banana again!I had a tough time convincing her that I was not lost this time!There has been a long gap of years and distance since then.These days I have seen her look alike,maybe it is her daughter who runs a fruit shop in the same place.

These vegetable and fruit sellers can build a special rapport,especially with the ladies of the house.They bring and take news,they share their knowledge of worldly affairs,and they curse the government as much as we all do.It is fun to watch the housewives bargain with them and check their weighing balance for magnets and accurate weights.Gone are the days when a fifty gram here and there did not matter to either of the parties,he now does not cannot put an onion or a tomato extra in the weighing pan,coriander leaves are no more given instead of coins as change.I say this out of understanding and facing the big transition like every other urban Indian.We have changed drastically in terms of buying and selling, more so the way we interact with people.

Few days back the family with a mission of getting monthly groceries was at a nearby supermarket,one of the places on my ‘never visit’ list.The chief/chef of the house succeeded in pulling me out,my mother’s reason “Buy the things that you like and need,I will not cannot do it for you!”.And I obliged.I detest visiting very much because there is a choking aura in such places.After I was done with dumping my requirements in the basket,pushing the shopping cart behind my mother I got into my favorite pastime of observing the crowd.It is fun when someone stares back;-)

I saw a little kid crying and fighting adamantly for a toy with his father,a new couple buying all the ready to eats,giggling girls trying outfits which they were never to buy,wide eyed boys on the other side checking them out,customers fighting for broken plastic buckets and iron box alike at the exchange counters,a million products old and new kept neatly in the racks,vegetables & fruits cold and packed,drums of rice and sugar,escalators running up and down,loaded shopping carts with jammed wheels and well uniformed staff slogging with their tally of items for sale while some of them following with their neck right on the customer’s shoulder.I must confess that I am uncomfortable listening to their “Can I help you,Madam” and I usually turn down their offer politely saying “Thank you,I shall do that myself”.But they do not stop there,well they are paid for making that chase.I sometimes resist my urge to turn back and shout ”God sake,I am not a thief!”.

Finally the worst businesses are in the end;long queues at the billing section,’your’ crisp notes neatly placed in ‘their’ boxes in the counters and a cashier who settles the bill saying “Thank you”with the most fictitious smile ever.When we were back home all mother had to say”What times have come,take a gunny bag of money from home,all one can buy and bring back is a packet of groundnuts!”.Sometimes she does make sense.We live in a world which is idiotically very calculative and mechanical.How many things that we buy are bought because we really need them?Can we buy anything that we really are in need of without a second thought?When was the last time buying made us feel unconditionally good?It is a mad,mad world I say!Here,even love comes tagged with a price.Sigh!

I wonder what this fortune teller means when he says"Good times are coming!Good times are coming!”,nevertheless this advertisement  is rib tickling and very wittily made.The granny in the end who says “Take it Raja!” reminds me of the old lady I mentioned right up here.Perhaps some Raja did listen to and take her suggestion very seriously,or maybe it was just a gross 'communication problem'.What say people?:-) 
PS: One down,many more exams lined up:-(...what a start to 2011...argh...thank you for the wishes...need them for months more!!! 



Anil said...

Good one....these are everyday things which will soon be gone!20 years down the line some kid may read this will imagine a life when veggies were sold on streets!

Purba said...

I live in a gated community and the sounds of a vegetable vendor almost seems like history.

And the thaali made you so hungry that you went grocery shopping?? LOL

Anonymous said...

Well written..
Nice post

Bikram said...

reminded me of back home .. when the seller came and sold thee stuff

allo gobhi tinda tamatar mattar ..
ghiya bhindi allo le lo he he hehe :)

dont hear this here in UK ever :(

for me this was remembering my hometown


Raksha Bhat said...

@Anil: Yeah...kaligala:)

@Purba:Haha...I want rosagullas..send me some Di:)

@jayendrasharan:thank you and welcome to the blog:)

@Bikramjit: I hate kelas!!!Glad you like this post:)

Iniyaal said...

Hi Raksha... Good one. The granny wo helped you, it is amazing to read about people who have difficulties in making ends meet help others generously.
I confess I hate super markets as much. Especially the one near where I stay in Chennai. It is the hub of Chennai's IT industry and supermarkets here stock their shelves with imported items. It is frustrating to walk up and down crowded aisles, trying to find atleast one familiar brand of biscuit,jam or chocolate.

Raksha Bhat said...

@Iniyaal: Haha:)finally someone like me!:)thank you for liking the post:)