"Alphonso mangoes for Rs 250 per kilogram," says my fruit vendor today.
"Will you give for Rs 150 per kilogram?" the woman asks.
"It's not grown in my family orchard, madam," he says. He has a weird, kinda, earthy, sense of humour.
I like it. Grin.
Why are Alphonso mangoes so expensive? Because the best ones are exported? They have disappeared from the plates of a common man such as me.
Yesterday, more to give my wife a relief from the drudgery of shopping, I go to the local market to buy the week's supply of vegetables and fruits. I love these rare occasions when I can study the state of the local economy. The usually buzzing market is empty, there aren't any vegetables left except old leafy lifeless things turning a dark grey inside the stall. I am left wondering what happened, knowing as I do that the city's vegetable market is within driving distance. Am I in some ersatz world where food is expensive and not easily available too, something of a stagflation?
I ask a friend and he says these days the mall retailers buy all the vegetables and the neighborhood bhai (or, bhaiya) finds no takers for the green stuff. The best stuff, of course, is exported.
Ahem. I am shocked.
That means an artificial scarcity of vegetable. With liberalization a lot of apples and even bananas and pears have landed in Bombai's market. That must have driven away the local apples, I guess. I don't know. The food chain has become costlier. The usual cauliflower costs Rs 12 for quarter of a kilo. This was not the case in the short-term memory of shopping I have done for my wife. So there.
Now with Monsanto coming up with genetically modified brinjals, would the food chain become more expensive? It would, I am sure. So where does that leave poor me?