I have grown up seeing my mom making a list of items to be bought on a paper and then handing it over to the driver/ domestic help along with the money. But then there was no super-market. Only the humble friendly neighborhood shop.
Two days back, I was forced to start my day with black coffee as my stock of Twinning Earl Grey tea was over. I was grumpy the whole day as my day is incomplete without my Earl Grey tea and I can only drink milk tea made by my mom-in-law and my younger sister (both of them really know how to make a perfect cup of tea). I had a mild heart attack when I discovered that a 25 tea bag packet of Earl Grey now costs Rs 200 (the packet mentioned 5 free Green Tea bags). Elementary mathematics (even though I am really really bad at Maths) that day came very easily to me as I immediately calculated that each Earl Grey tea bag costs me now Rs 8. I cursed myself, “Why the hell can’t I drink Wagh Bakri tea?” My humble pay-slip danced in front of me. I felt more miserable but then I immediately consoled myself, “Am I not saving a lot of money on cigarettes now? So let me at least drink good quality tea.”
And then like millions of urban-Indians, I roamed around the super-market with a trolley in my hand and putting one thing after another in it. I came back home, dumped the shopping bag on the dining table and collapsed on my bed (I managed to switch on the AC before that) and in that state of bliss I finished a packet of freshly bought Lays American cream and Onion (my all-time favourite) potato chips in less than three minutes. My husband was a mute witness to this opera unfolding before him.
After a while, when I felt little better, I looked at my shopping bag to rediscover what all I have bought when all that I needed was just a packet of tea.
Here’s the list
* Three packets of Britannia multi-grain thins in different flavours (Didn’t I take a vow few days back to become ‘thin’ in true sense of the term?)
* Maggie Masala (Never mind, even though my kitchen shelf boasts of couple of maggie packets…. I need my extra dose of ‘two minute’ security)
*Packets of mushroom (well, much-needed… no heartburn on this)
*Soy chunks (Even though I have a packet in the kitchen, I thought of a close friend who loves the way I make chilly soy nuggets… I have been thinking of her a lot in recent times)
* Britannia fruit cakes (Very often I give long lectures to my cook on ‘chini kum’ in my chai (less sugar in my tea) as I am desperate to go back to my model figure. And now I am spending money on cakes….(I need to see a shrink soon)
* Frozen Green peas (I love green peas…so this purchase is logical)
* Frozen corn (I thought may be I can whip up a quick spicy tomato corn bharta… even though I am against all kind of genetically modified corn… Logic leaves me when I enter into a supermarket )
* Bread in different flavours (Some of it thankfully has been consumed by Hubby dear… Some which are of non-vegan variety have to be consumed by yours truly and suddenly I feel I have developed a bread-phobia)
* One packet of kabuli chana (After watching Vicky Donor, my love for Punjabis has grown beyond anybody’s imagination…Even as I was managing my way through the super-market, I thought of Chana-puri which every Punjabi worth his salt loves to gorge on. So, here’s one to Dolly Aunty and Biji of Vicky Donor)
* A huge Bottle of Maggie Hot and Sweet Tomato Ketch up (Big is better in today’s world)
* A bottle of Chilli Garlic Spread (My friend Indira introduced me to this wonderful thing years back and I am hooked to it since then)
Now, my bill ran to something like Rs 860….when all that I needed was a packet of tea. Didn’t somebody say, you take care of the pennies and you will be richer by the pounds. And, now E for me is not Elephant (as dad taught me when I was learning the alphabets). It’s E for Excess.