A trip to the Indian store

17 Jan

It’s funny how a trip to your local Indian store makes you reminiscence so much bout home and family. This little home from home draws me in every few weeks when I need my India fix

First, the waft of agarbhatti that greets us when we open the door takes me back to many a quiet moment spent with mom on the prayer mat as she lit the diya and taught me my first shlokas.

As we head to the vegetable section, I am transported to the scene of mom haggling with the subji wallah who came to our door with his produce .Or better still it takes me back to the walk that husbadoo and I did every couple of days when we had just started dating that involved walking me home from college and the fact that he had to often stop to buy a few veggies for his mom on the way!

We move to the biscuit aisle and familiar names in new 2012 jazzed up packaging stare back at us.

Cheeslings- My favorite ! Dad often surprised me with these.

Pure Magic Vanilla- Mom got me a packet every time I was exceptionally good and helped her with some big house chore.

The Orange cream ones which my grandfather always stocked up on and lovingly shared with me when I visited during the holidays. I loved to lick the cream off each side first.

The Britannia digestive ones – Mom and I often shared this and a cosy talk with our evening tea.

I push my cart over to the dals and flours and the vision of an excited 20 year old girl trying her hardest to understand what each one is comes into my mind’s eye. Mom is explaining the various dals with hope that I don’t starve through grad school and atleast know some basics of cooking a few of them. My eyes glaze over after the initial 10 minutes and it is only 3 years later that I finally can identify most of them and use them appropriately.

We stop by the spices and I remember the husbadoo’s bachelor kitchen in grad school , completely devoid of even the most basic stuff but well stocked in the Badshah Pav Bhaji masala .His mom knew it was his favorite and always sent him 6 packs of these at a minimum. As one lasts for ages, after 3 years of marriage and several scrumptious Pav Bhajis we are only now down to our last pack.

We pass the small shelf with the various oils – the Sesame one reminds of Diwali mornings in our Tam brahm household and being awakened at the unearthly hour of 5 am on a holiday for an oil bath.

The Coconut one just reminds of my grandmom pulling me onto the floor during holiday visits , complaining my much shampooed , conditioned hair is terribly unkempt and oiling it well and truly much to my many protests.

I spy the Maggi aisle and remember this being the first thing I ever cooked. I must have been 14, mom was out  and I made this for my 5 year old baby sister , even though we were both forbidden to switch on the gas (yes, I was over protected at 14!)

As we near the desi brand of OTC meds , a notice the Hajmola. I remember sneaking a few out every now and again for my sister and I to chew on. Many moons later she told me she never really liked it but ate it anyway to fit in and be cool like her big sister. Thank God it was only harmless Hajmola that I was feeding her!

We are now nearing the check out section and the sight of samosas and kachoris transports me back to opening the door for dad who often brought us home some hot samosas from  the Punjabi Chandu Halwai shop on his way home from work. One day when I was about 11, he got home kachoris instead and I was hooked- so much better in my book.

We head back to our car with our haul and I am left marveling that the world they create in the little 40 by 50 feet room can invoke such lovely memories. A quick 15 minute trip has now sparked atleast a joyful hour or two of conversation with many “Do you remember”s. We order some chaat and chai from the desi restaurant next door and reminiscence to our heart’s content. A totally productive evening!

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10 Responses to “A trip to the Indian store”

  1. Sumana January 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Lol at what a nostalgia your post brought in. You got nostalgic after visitng an Indian store in the US probbaly. I got nostalgic reading your post that took me back to the 7 years spent in the US and also shopping for stuff in the Indian grocery stores. Are’nt they the best in places where desi population is high???

  2. popgoesthebiscuit January 18, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    Yup…I love the fact that they are such one stop shops stocking every single desi thing imaginable:)

  3. bhargavi January 19, 2012 at 3:36 am #

    I can only imagine how nostalgic you’d have felt. I stayed in the US briefly (3-4 months ) ,but I do remember feeling exalted at the glimpse of bhindi(extremely wilted and sad-looking) and kari patha in a desi store once.. small joys of life 😉

    • popgoesthebiscuit January 19, 2012 at 7:50 am #

      Agree, Happiness is totally in the smaller things in life:)
      That’s what this post was all about!

  4. Pepper January 19, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    Oh what a lovely post! I have a similar one that talks about Indian grocery stores in my drafts. What I absolutely love is that they stock all sorts of things from every region of India. I don’t remember getting such authentic south Indian powders in grocery stores in Mumbai, or other Gujrati, Rajasthani stuff. The good part here is that it caters to people from all regions, so everything is available.

    Another thing I love about the Indian stores is the music they play. It’s so comforting and homely. Sometimes I stroll around in the store before checking out just to finish listening to the song 🙂

    • popgoesthebiscuit January 19, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      I know…they really do cater to everyone ..As a result my kitchen now has masalas that even my mom marvels at!
      And how could I forget the music…this one store near our place plays such authentic bhangra music that makes me want to get into a jig every time I enter..

  5. bhargavi January 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    You’ve been awarded..Hop over to http://bedazzledeternally.blogspot.com/2012/01/thank-you-and-more-random-things-about.html. Hoping you’ll do this tag.

    • popgoesthebiscuit January 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      Oh wow..just saw this for some reason!
      Thanks..will take it up:)

  6. Disha January 19, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    sooo true..i like loitering around in them for no reason at all. on my last trip i discovered curry patta and raw mango and let out such a loud whoop..the kind thats saved for the likes of eric bana and clive owen. hail the patel brothers of the world !!!

    • popgoesthebiscuit February 1, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

      Ohh I miss Patel brothers…Been to their ATL store! Our desi store here is about 1/5th the size but has a decent selection.

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