Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fresh Vegetables Anyone?

If you've spent a part of your childhood in India between the 1970's to 1990's, the one activity which was integral to the house-hold of many middle-class Indians was the ritual of vegetable shopping. In many homes, this would be an everyday exercise where you typically buy fresh vegetables from vendors off the street or from vegetable markets. One of the primary reasons was that many homes still did not have a fridge. In some homes, most of the vegetable shopping was reserved for the day when the weekly vegetable market was scheduled. And that's when you'd see the Mr, Mrs and the off-spring merrily gallivanting to buy vegetable on their family vehicle, i.e., THE Bajaj Chetak. Vegetables were fresh and just off the fields. Each family had their favorite vegetable vendor who'd give a special deal, some extra vegetables and indulge in some small talk about family, all and sundry..Ah! Good old days.. And a morning well spent! And the Mrs. would then spend the next few hours in the kitchen to dish up a wonderfully hot tasty and nutritious "vegetable" meal for the family :)

Come the onset of the 21st century, the so called "modern world influences" in India, the mall-culture, the technology boom or whatever else you'd like to call it - Vegetable shopping for the middle-class Indian is typically in the convenience stores or online. For the cost conscious, there is Big Bazaar, especially on the days of the week when you get all the special deals. So the mother / mother-in-law comes in tow with grand-children / daughter and daughter-in-law to buy the vegetables for the week. The more extravagant buy in malls or other retail stores which host an exotic ranges of vegetables from all over the world. So within the comfort of your swanky apartment, you (or your cook!) can dish up an exotic meal with fresh produce from Australia, Italy, China, Greece, Thailan or where ever else your taste buds desire to go!

My journey has been no different. From the street vegetable markets selling fresh produce to the malls and other convenience stores, it has been a smooth and comfortable ride. What with a corporate job, the pressures of domesticity, et al - Home Delivery soon became the preferred option.. Until, I re-discovered the beauty of colors, the pleasure in haggling, the joy in touching and feeling vegetable. And the way to tease and please your taste buds starts with feasting you eyes with color, your ears with the music of the vegetable songs, and your hands with the touch and feel of the skin.. Ah!

I'll let my pictures do the talking...

It is an absolute joy and pleasure to visit the local vegetable market every week.. For this (and so many other things), my preferred modus-operandi is the retro way..

And what about you? How do you like to buy your vegetables? Leave a comment to let me know


  1. ...............and the pictures did tell us a colourful tale. Nischala the journey of the humbles yet nutritious veggies takes us from the roadside vendor to the malls and Food Bazaar. They have come a long way and in some parts of Mumbai the farmers are selling directly to the customers.

    1. Thanks for reading Kalpana.. Its awesome that farmers sell directly to customers, but they will run into issues of scale, and with costs of living increasing unless they find some innovation / ingenious ways to reach a large customer base, it does not make economic sense. Nevertheless, the vegetable market is a colorful journey indeed

  2. A very "colourful" post Nischala. I'm back on your blog after a brief break, and what a "fresh" topic to read :) When possible I try to buy from the roadside vendor, but sometimes it's not always possible. Luckily for us, the roadside vendor comes inside our gated apartment buildings, so not too much of a walk there. But we go to the vegetable market when possible.

  3. Tried to comment twice already. Hoping atleast this will get published :) Indeed. the vegetable market is an amazing place. Sadly I don't get to do much. We get the roadside wala bring it to our apartments in one of those large carts :) A very colourful post nevertheless. It's been a while since I read your posts, and I'm back again !!