A Kilo of Sugar and Salt, Please
The store owner is really nice, and we get chatting. A bald guy and a chubby round faced grocer make good gossip buddies!
Location: Grocery Store somewhere in North Delhi.
"I've been working this store for years now. I was fresh out of college when I used to come here to help my father run it. We've been in this work for generations. Today my father is very old, but he still comes in everyday for some time to help me man the store. It's hard to trust the help these days. You need to be very careful or they'll take out a few things here and there.
On customers: It's rather easy to figure out which families are drifting apart and which ones are separated and which ones are together. I can tell. It's been many years of experience sitting here on this cash counter looking at the customers. At first, it's the elders who come to buy the monthly groceries. When the kids grow up, they come too. When the sons are married, their wives come with them. At times it's the daughter-in-law and mother-in-law duo who come in to shop. Sooner or later, you'll see the in-laws coming in alone to shop. Then one fine day, the son and his wife will come absolutely separate to shop. I can make out they have drifted apart. Sooner or later the elders come to shop separately and the young generation comes in separately. They both buy enough for two separate houses. A good grocer can always tell who's buying what and for whom and for how many members of the family.
It saddens me to see how many people are now drifting apart. Where has the great Indian joint family gone? I fail to understand whose fault it is. Who do we blame? The elders or the youth?"
This post was originally published on Desi Ghee and Coffee! in August 2010.