Too much choice?

Is there something like too much choice in this world? And are all these choices really needed and are they environmental friendly?

Well I grew up in a small suburb (well that is sure a stretch! more apt word will be a small village close to the suburb) in Trichy and our grocery store was Lakshmi stores and Iyyasami kadai (we did have latter additions like a couple of Nadar kadai's!) and groceries were weighed and wrapped in newspapers held together with a jute twine (definitely eco-friendly!), you bring your can and get it filled with oil. We did'nt have much choice, one grade of anything be it rice, lentils or seasonings, a couple of brands of soaps and detergents. Vegetables fruits and specialty items (anything from freshwater fishes to clothes and seasonal specialties like colored kolam powder in Marghali masam, different varieties of fragrant flowers) were brought to the door step by vendors on bicycles, yelling out at the top of their voices. Yes there was never a silent moment. Milk was delivered fresh from the farm by our paalkarar Shankar and we made our own yogurt and buttermilk and panner. On ocassions we picked up a bag ofAavin milk from the local grocery store.

Simple pleasures of life included a trip to Gandhi market in the crowded town bus (tickets costing around Rs 1.50) for the freshest vegetables and ripe fruits and the panner soda was an ideal end to the shopping trip. Stepping over piles of garbage we would walk around the vendors trying to find who had the freshest looking veggies and then bargain, pretend to walk off when the prices are not lowered and then fill our bags to the brim (yes we carried our own cloth bags and woven baskets for every trip). Breaking the tails of ladies finger (okra) to select the crisp and young ones and spreading the leaves of spinach to check for insect damage and rotten leaves we carried on. Heavy bags in tow we would scramble back into the bus as early as possible to put the fresh veggies into the fridge. Then sit around the dining table shelling out fresh peas and freezing them and making garlands out of the fragnant malli and mullai buds.

Today I go to the Super grocery store, one of the 5 in the 5-mile radius around my house. And I drive there on my car. First stop at Starbucks to pick up a drink in a plastic cup(yes I always laugh and comment at Starbucks calling their drink tea-tea, chai tea) to help me survive the shopping ordeal and then pick out veggies and fruits stored in fridges and ice to preserve them. I check for the organic labels and nutrition info all the while keeping an eye on the prices and maneuver my shopping cart to different corners of the store. I drop each veggie into a separate plastic bag and drop them into my cart and keep moving. There are 101 varieties and brands of the soaps and detergents each promising to be better than its competitor. I spend 10 minutes deciding what I want and end up choosing one for me, one for V and one for R. Then there are the varieties of rice, organic, brown, wild, long grain, less-starch.. well there is one for every idiots wildest dreams and the lentils, packed neatly and labeled in various quantities in plastic bags. Walking further to the refrigerated section, scanning for organic labels, expiry dates and fat content in milk, a gallon of no fat milk , a gallon of 2% milk for guests who drop in and for making payasam and a no-fat plain yogurt container for daily use, a no-fat yogurt container (Well debate between vanilla and strawberry) for dessert, 1/2 a gallon of light butter milk while grumbling about the difference in tastes between Indian butter milk and the ones in US, a pack of no fat cheese and light butter all go into the cart. And finally push my cart towards the checkout counter and get into the line and smile and swipe my card and carry 10 plastic bags filled with groceries back home! All the while complaining about carrying my groceries to my kitchen.

We have just got used to too much comfort and too much choices in life all the while encouraging environment degrading habits and suddenly we realize we need to be eco-friendly, we can't go back and change things we did, we can't give up our luxuries and comforts suddenly and turn back to environmental friendly practices but it is just one step at a time, one person at a time. Ask for papers bags instead of plastic bags at the grocery store, recycle papers, aluminum cans, try to walk to the grocery store, carry your own cup to Starbucks.. simple steps to clean up the environment!

5 Comments:

Ajay B H said...

This is indeed quite some life style - I am in the middle of that path.. You have shown me what I would do in the next 6 years ;)

Pooh said...

It does'nt take 6 years.. just 6 days to get into the life I am leading.. anywayz welcome to the "land of dreams"

apu said...

The rest of the stuff I can still understand (packaged staples like dal and rice are convenient - remember the cleaning in the older days - you've left all that out !), but buying buttermilk ?? That does seem strange to me - maybe once in a while if you run out of curd...

Pooh said...

Well yes I forgot about the cleaning of stuff...and without doubt denying cleaned stuff is easier. But cleaned products could be packed in jute or recycled paper or cloth in different weight denominations. Just to be eco-friendly

S.Sivashanmugam said...

Reading this blog, my time clock went to tose good days, even without seeing the clock we can find out the time, paal karar 5 1/2 kku varuvaar, pokaramma 7 1/4kku varuvanga,....kaikutthal arisi, man paanai soru, vazai ilai saapadu,......that's the reason i said a immediate yes to my mother when she wanted to shift to patteeswaram. The evening walk from my home to swamimalai along with the green paddy fields, home surrounded with coconut trees, 6times a day bus trips to kumbakonam. daily 1 hour power shedding, kaikaramma.
Okay comming to the subject, creating awareness in defining ones needs and teaching kids right from school to be eco friendly can be the only way to over come this.