If you are on Whatsapp (and who isn’t?), you might have received a message recently.
An edict, really. And a mighty portentous one at that. Now, and allow me to be frank about this, the sort that I expected to see in my lifetime. But it has finally happened.
Chitale, ladies and gentlemen, will now Not down its shutters in the afternoon. The Chitale siesta is officially a thing of the past.
Now, while I’m happy that I can get my bakarwadi fix whenever I want, the cantankerous old Puneri in me is a little sad at the passing of a grand old tradition. We’ve lost a little of the curmudgeonliness that made us what we are as a city (a bunch of rude, curt so-and-so’s who didn’t give a damn about convenience, but who’s asking), and a little of the Puneri spirit has gone forever.
But still, in the long run of affairs, it was only a matter of time before Chitale bowed down to the demands of the times.
Think about it: we live in the age of Amazon and Flipkart. Those guys allow you to shop at 3 in the morning, let alone the afternoon. In this age of ultra-convenience, the afternoon siesta for the shopkeeper was never going to last.
But what makes the undersigned’s heart gladden when it comes to changes in shopping, what makes him go teary eyed and weak at the knees, and what makes him want to burst into grateful song and dance, is online grocery shopping.
Future generations, mark my words, will look back at the 21st century and mark this period as that epochal time when humanity finally picked itself up and became truly civilized.
For it was in this century that the family, for the first time in recorded human history, did not pack themselves into cars or onto scooters, and traipse down to the local supermarket for a bout of monthly grocery shopping, that most loathsome of modern sports. And make no mistake, it was most certainly loathsome. Aisle after aisle of toothpastes, cooking oil, ground spices, biscuits, jams, soft drinks, packets of butter, cheese, milk, chiwda, farsan, and the lord alone knows how many other things. Most of which would behave, it would seem to me by the bitter end, as if they were animals and my shopping cart was Noah’s Ark.
And then the lines at the checkout counter. Bahubali 2 doesn’t have a patch on those lines, I tell you. On and on they stretched, as far as the eye could see, and if you happened to be doing your shopping on a Sunday evening, they went twice around the earth and halfway to the moon.
After which you had to carry all those bags down into the cavernous parking area, adjust yourself on or in your vehicle, and reach home to realise that this was but Sunday evening, and the rest of the week lay ahead of you.
But now, heaven is here and all is right with the world.
Open up the app, ask for what you like, and the company sends it all over the very next day. All paid for, all neatly trussed up, and all you have to do is open the door and smile beatifically at the chappie.
The poet had Kashmir in mind when he said that if there is heaven on earth this must be it (or words to that effect), but if you ask me, online grocery shopping is where it’s at. Trust me on this one.
Now, if you’ll excuse me. We’re running a little low on the powder for the washing machine.
He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime