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Conversation with a Vegetable Vendor

My neighbor who is working with a social organization happen to accompany me to sabzi mandi on last Saturday. Her husband usually does this task but being out-of-station, she opted to accompany me. Naturally, she does not knew anything about prices and even seasonal vegetables. Cooking is just another activity for housewives but among professionals who choose different lifestyle, it comes with exotic and unseasonal happiness.

On the way, she consistently is asking me to guide her through the purchases and not leave her at any vegetable stand. It is my difficulty at this time because thinking about my budget, I often take some usual vegetables such as potatoes, onions and tomatoes from farmers sitting at the behind of the standing stalls which themselves are bit pricey. I am wondering at this time, how I will be able to convince her to buy from them as her husband would not have ever visited them. One thing about men is no arguments and ease of service. Women, however, like to argument since the responsibility falls on their shoulders to run the home and in conditions when electricity goes off, leaving vegetables and dishes spoiling in refrigerator too.
Sabzi Mandi is full of people from this sector as well as from neighboring sectors. It is one of the best mandis in Chandigarh since farmers here also bring gooseberries, kiwi, lotus stems, coconut, and green leafy vegetables which are rare to find in many others.

Me: We will buy hard vegetables first otherwise, soft vegetables gets destroyed under pressure.

Sukanya: Okay. I do not know what specific to buy. I think I will make decision when I will see what is available.

At the start of mandi, the stalls are usually packed with latest fruits which happens to be Mangoes, litchi, plum, etc. I instructed her to take side route to back of mandi. There farmers are sitting on ground with their produces lying on a bags made of rough fabric, wet. The vegetables are shining brightly and their color represented their good texture.

Bringing her closer to a woman vegetable vendor which has many seasonal vegetable varieties, I pointed towards it to Sukanya.

Sukanya: Bhabhi! I do not want to buy from these small farmers. We like to eat organic vegetables. These people are add pesticides.

Hearing this woman vegetable vendor started speaking to her.

Women Vendor: "Memsahib, from where we will add pesticides? We can hardly able to grow it enough."

Me: "What do you add to produce such healthy vegetables, then?"

Women Vendor: "Memsahib, it is all work of cow dung. We work at different homes and they let us take their cattle dung, since they use pesticides in their large fields."

To this revelation, Sukanya gets horrified. All this time, they have been buying from bigger retail outlets and now she is in fix whether they have been doing right thing. She still insists so that she may appear wise.

Sukanya: "If it would have been organic, you people would have been healthy."

Woman Vendor: "Memsahib, we are happy with our circumstances. It is your tensions and work making you weak. Our vegetables are also purchased locally by large farmers and they all are healthy."

This embarrassed Sukanya greatly who by now choose to sit down to start deciding on vegetables to buy. This also solved my problem and both of us learned a great lesson from this experience.

We are so conscious about our environment but yet we fail to recognize that small farmers authorized by sabzi mandi are not sufficient enough to use pesticides and we are lucky to have organic vegetables so closer to our home and at same rate as inorganic one. Secondly, it is true that we always look outside for reasons being unhappy but fault is always inside with us.


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