Homemade luxury vs readymade convenience

10 years back when I made the journey from Banaras to Bombay, the cultural shock I experienced was not only in the way the city was, but in small little things as well. Things like the snacks at home or the woolen clothes… Sounds strange to lot many people, but the way of world sounded strange to me then.

I saw households where all one ate came from the market packaged in a polythene wrapping, from morning breakfast to snacks like samosa, bhujiya, pakoras, sweets and their accompaniments like chutney, sauces or achar. All these things were homemade till I left home! I also shopped and ate them, but the home taste was missing. And after so many years, I still rely on home made snacks vs the readymade things available in the market – each home vacation (or someone coming from home) ends with huge dabbas of favourite snacks being carried in the luggage.

And similar is the story with woolen clothes, I did not own a single piece of machine made woolen piece till 6 years back, everything I had was hand-knitted – single knit, double knit pure wool – by my Masi. Every winter started with the discussion on the list for the season – is it going to be a regular sweater, or a shawl, or a cap or if she is in a really generous mood – a long coat. And then came the colours and the design – crochet or knit, cable or straight. And last winter, I went back to those hand-knotted sweaters again, matching them with the hand-knitted shawls, my favourite being an old double-knit cardigan in burnt orange which was my Mother’s and then handed over to me – the warmth of the sweater could not parallel any layers of readymade stuff – or was it the warmth of love?

And so, I continue to live with the cultural shock at my own terms – home made snacks and hand-knitted sweaters. There is more such small stuff wherein I prefer the homemade luxury (inspite of the hard work and long gestation period) vs the readymade convenience of buying from the market.

Maybe more on this later,
June 23, 2010

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