Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Distress of Prices

I live in far far away land. Tucked in the northwest corner of the United States of America, I cling onto my "roots" (refer SD's treatise on postmodernism for details) in the most obvious ways. I play cricket with other Indians, watch Hindi movies, the occasional TV serials, ponder on my five-year plan(for that, refer to my theorem). At the end of the day, the biggest and brightest and most earnest connection is food. My wife is an excellent cook and does wonders in the kitchen conjuring delicious Indian dishes along with other cuisines. The raw material is duly supplied by the Indian grocery store. Its probably ironic that working for a company that is often accused of monopoly, I feel a similar passion towards the Indian store. As Gabbar would ask: "kitne aadmi the?" to which hi dutiful sidekick would have to reply "dus hazaar". "Aur Indian stores kitni?". "Sardar, ek". "Bahut na insaafi hai".

Gabbar's empathy is to be expected. Contending with their huge profit margins, buying ketchups and later realizing that their expiry date is October 2003, never finding the same product twice, buying vegetables staler than the jokes on Mind of Mencia, Gabbar knows a thing or two about tyranny when he sees it. The last straw hit me in the face very recently. There is a shortage of daal in this country owing to the banning of the exports of daal by the Indian government. Fair enough, if the justification is to curtail inflation in India. Far-fetched, but the concern of Indians should be considered before those of NRIs. I am ok with that. What I am not ok with is two aunties in the said Indian store ganging up to inquire whether I read news about India and know about the daal shortage. On the first day of the rationing that they passed onto the consumers, they put up some pink colored posters with instructions printed in font size 10 and put them up next to the daal counter on the store. The limit, it seems is four pounds per family. I didn't read it. It wasn't readable, it didn't catch my attention. Darn it, they should have something more prominent if they want customers to pay heed. Ever seen how many such posters they stick in Indian stores? Then the aunties chastise me for bringing more than four pounds. I inquired about the limit and was asked about my knowledge of current affairs in India. Respectfully restraining myself from uttering a dozen or so retorts in my mind, I dragged myself out of the store.

The incident still riles me up. If I need elderly chastising, there are legitimate reasons and people I can turn to. I feel like I am in line to get food in jail and the guy serving it is laughing the evil laugh. We are all prisoners here, of the Indian store's devise. Trapped, in prices, in monopoly, in substandard quality, in aunty-ly instincts, there is no escape. 'Jaayen to jaayen kahan?' 


sd said...

I think there is a strong case for opening up another Indian grocery store in your localiy! It was a long time back when I denied myself the goodies at an Indian store because they appeared so expensive... not any more...other than cricket, desi food is definitely another indispensable 'root'.

Niranjan said...

rationing of provisions .. there must be some law against it in this heartland of capitalism.

Anonymous said...

there has been more than one desi store for some time now that are real close to Mayuri.

1. Apna Bazaar (in the mall that is at the intersection of 148th and 24th)
2. Bharat groceries (I believe on 20th and before 140th)

You might not get more daal but you can certainly avoid aunties and their love :)

Shreemoyee said...

Almost as if anticipating this, my mom stocked me up with a year's supply of daal the last time I went home. I haven't had the need to buy more since.