Shopping is an experience; it is even more so when one shops from the heart and not from the pocket.
I’m just back from shopping at the super market and I tell you dears, my heart is beating wildly, my head is whirling and my pocket certainly feels lighter after the experience.
The thousands of shopping trolleys that greet you at the entrance, the hundreds of shelves all stocked ceiling high with items and the rows and rows of counters with the long queues of irritated impatient shoppers; do they all give you the heebie-jeebies? Or is it just me?
I must have walked a mile and a half across the supermarket today simply for one item!! And was this item near the entrance? So that I could nip in, get it and nip out?
It was right at the far end – deep inside enemy territory so to speak. In order to reach it I had to walk down the length of the place, passing by all the other sections with their neatly stocked items, most of which landed in my trolley in the process.
I don’t know when, why and how they landed there, but there they were when it was my turn at the billing counter. Of course the clerk there billed all of them plus VAT! Did I get the item I actually went for?
Nope again. It was out of stock!
This has made me go off into nostalgic mode in full gear, and long for the shopping experience of not-so-long ago.
At the friendly neighborhood grocery – which unfortunately is dying a slow death with the malls and supermarkets mushrooming all over town.
The house that dad built in Ambalpady had one next to it which soon became the family grocery; something like having a family doc.
It was open from 6.00 am to 9.00 pm and people would drop in casually all through the day, some in their nightgowns even.
Shopping in this grocery would be a stress free experience. In fact it was a stress buster! All we had to do was walk in and hand the chap our list and a cloth bag. He would do the rest. What did we do in the meanwhile? Fish out our mobile and bury our nose in it? Thank God no! We would stand around and actually talk. We would chit chat with the proprietor about this and that, or with the other shoppers, even the ones in nightgowns!
When one exited from the grocery store one would have a) spent a pleasant half-hour b) been updated on the latest gossip and local breaking-news and most importantly c) come away with only the stuff one really wanted.
You don’t get all these at big-time supermarkets do you?
It used to be a similar scenario back in our Goan days too. Sunday mornings then were a ritual of sorts. Dad would take himself off to the open fruit and vegetable market located in the centre of Panjim for the weekly shopping routine.
Since we knew most of the local traders in that market there would be a sense of familiarity and cordiality about the entire experience.
We remember fondly the Sunday morning when my nephew (all of 3 years then) accompanied his grandfather on his weekly market round. As my dad went from stall to stall checking out the price, variety and freshness of the vegetables the nephew suddenly asked, Ajja do you know the ‘ek do teen’ song?
Without waiting for ajja’s reply the little fella announced that he would sing it and proceeded to do so loudly and slightly off-key to the fond amusement of the others around. At the end of this impromptu opera, one tradesman, overwhelmed by the performance, rewarded him with a nice juicy fruit and a pat on the back.
I wonder what would happen now if I were to suddenly break into a song in the aisles of Big Bazaar or Carrefour!!
Just a passing thought dear readers.