Many of us hate supermarkets. Yes, you will see us  thronging them and standing in endless queues and looking glad to finally have access to things that were once limited to TV screens a few years ago. But some of us hate them.

We hate that the vegetables are sodden and oh-so-huge, which means that they are hybrid and mostly genetically modified. We hate that they are also obsecenely overpriced. They are wilting and dry and sad. We hate it that the supermarkets assault us with tinned and canned foods that we buy because our children egg us to buy them but we know they are cancerous and have no business being in our bodies.
We hate it that everything tempting is on display in places that we can reach, unlike the local kirana store where you don’t touch anything, you just read out a list of things you really need and you get them and you leave. We hate that we have been made into such consumerist brats. We hate that we have been forced to think  that garlic bread needs garlic butter which needs to be bought and cannot be made at home. Of course it can be…mashed garlic in butter blended together with salt and oregano and chilli flakes and refrigerated. Simple, no? But no…we are told, we must buy it.
We miss walking through our local weekend markets with cows sauntering by, children tugging along, past shops for different kinds of vegetables, revelling in our loyalty to select shops and to food grown normally – not blown up with injections from some inorganic nonsense. We miss the bargaining, the bumping into friends from around town, the casual jokes and the haggling over two bucks.
We miss being greeted by vendors who know us long enough to pick out the best vegetables and eggs and meat for us. Where is that market, and where are those people? Why can I not find a single local, huge, unending, messy, smelly and beautifully colourful market like that in many big Indian cities?
Which is the real India? This India of my local subzi mandi? Or the one straining on the leash to leap out and show the world what she is? Or the one that forms the leash, holding the other India back? If only everything was painted in black and white.
Or even in tricolour. Happy Republic Day anyway to both the Indias. All the Indias. 

Reema Prasanna is a Search Engine Marketing expert, Xoogler, baking expert and blogger. More about her here

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