Where Are The Indian Oranges, Apples?

July 26th, 2009

Washington Apples only Rs 150, Australian Apples only Rs 135, or NZ apples only Rs 130. And, oranges too… I have lost count of the varieties of them that are available.

Indian varieties are hardly seen… or are they placed such that it is well beyond ones line of sight? I suspect the latter though. In the globalised world while we are integrating into the global market, we have also had to sacrifice  the use of some of our taste buds or we have to get used to blander tastes… Globalisation has not meant being exposed to more of Mexican or Thai tastes… but has meant getting neck deep in, what I call and will always call, the tasteless, odourless and colourless food.

While I have always staunchly stood by the market forces, I never thought that it would lead to my fellow countrymen falling more for the less tasty food.

Walk into a supermarket or a hypermarket and you have only these exotic varieties of fruits staring at you. Everytime I end up asking those at the counters about the plain (and much more tasty) Indian apples. I, many a times, end up with “the season is over sir.”

Just to satiate one’s desire to be seen as being ‘in’ one can buy them. But, no matter the price, there’s no dearth of people wanting to buy them. It is also a status symbol to be seen as eating the exotic imported less tasty fruits. Perhaps that’s what the liberalisation imports meant to do.

It’s an attack on our taste buds and a colonisation too of our taste buds. And, replacing the finer sense of tastes with less complicated tastes. Put simply, bland food.

The imported fruits that many a times dominate the shelves, draw one to them with their good looks but… they flatter to deceive. Once you taste them… it’s difficult to buy them again. It’s not value for money. But, it’s a price well paid while trying to satiate one’s ego and desire to look westernised.

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I Am Moving Into the Slum

July 5th, 2009

I should probably look to move into a slum, at least to some erstwhile slums. The idea comes from what I have been seeing lately.

While many of them have officially maintained their status as slums, there is no dearth of people living there worth a few millions. They still enjoy many of the basic amenities that most denizens can’t even dream of.

The slums, the old and well-established ones, have no problems with water or power. Even when the taps go dry in the house or if the motor of the tube well goes dead, leaving me wringing my hands in frustration, the domestic help would say with a smirk, “I didn’t have to store water in my house. We never have problem with water.”

And, the best, all this for free. We shelled out a neat sum, both as bribe and also to get the official sanction for the water connection. We also need to pay for the water. But, not so where the domestic help lives (rather where all domestic helps who work in the neighbourhood live).

There is indeed agreement on the need for help to the less privileged, but why shouldn’t the ones who pay not get the civic amenities? The domestic help has her explanation to that. “We all vote and go to political or other rallies whenever and whereever the politicians need us to go.”

The slums, all on encroached land, also have continuous power. Power cuts could mean the power distributor’s office could get attacked, or even burnt down.

The experience of an acquaintance is a case in point. He lived in a house in a place that continues to be designated a slum. What still gives it away is the width of the roads. Otherwise, you do not have any other signs.

He moved out, and shifted to a place closer to his wife’s office, in a relatively upmarket area. And, all hell seems to have broken loose. “I am water starved now,” is his lament. “I have to make all arrangements for storing water and be prepared for power cuts all the while. I never had this problem in the earlier place where I paid just about a quarter of what I pay now.”

He, never bothered to buy anything to store water. He virtually had 24-hour water supply. Here, he was speaking of the municipal water supply.

Perhaps I should take a cue from this. Taking a leaf out of the acquaintace’s book, I must probably do the opposite. I must move into a slum.

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