Posted in Anecdotes, Family, Food, Humour

The Indian man who went to buy Chicken but came down with a lot more

I had already mentioned sometime back that doing Grocery Shopping is an Ordeal here in the US.

On a usual work day evening, I had to face the ordeal for the millionth time again albeit due to my own fault. I suddenly had a craving to eat Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani and so I wanted to hit the store to get some chicken for next day. I was all dressed up (which is wearing a T-shirt that would beg washing and a Shorts that would wish it was worn inside out) and checked with my wife if I should get 0.5 or 1 pound of Chicken, as I was the only chicken-eat-tarian in the family.

Wife: “0.5 would be too less, you won’t get much for making the 65. 1 pound will be too much, you won’t be able to eat it fully. 0.75 pounds! How about that?”

And so w(if)e decided that 0.75 pounds is the right quantity of chicken I would need, if I should minimize the wastage, never mind that the Grocery store itself wastes tons of meat every single day that could not be sold.

The Hitchhiker’s guide to Grocery states that, If you know what you are going to buy, you should never turn back and check to see if anything else is needed. Because 100% of the time, you will be asked to get more. As I am someone who hasn’t read the guide (heck, the guide doesn’t even exist!), I ended up going for the door knob and making a courteous turn around and asked the dreaded question.

Me: “Do you need anything else?”

I could have simply opened the door and walked away merrily with just 1 item to buy, but no I had to be Mr. Nice Guy and turn around and ask. Little did I realize when I asked that question, that I was in for a big list of things to buy.

Wife: “Oh sure, we certainly need milk. I forgot about that!”

It is like Dominoes. You just tip one and the rest of it follows through and falls down. Now, being in US buying milk is not as easy as going to the nearby bakery and getting a half litre Aavin milk packet. It is much more confusing than you think.

Me: “Which ones?”

Wife: “Hmm… half gallon of 1% milk, 1 gallon Fat free and 1 gallon Whole milk” (Good luck trying to understand how the word “Milk” became such a long sentence).

Me: “Ok, I will get them.” and I thought I would be spared and that’s all I might have to get, but no. We are now going full fledged.

Wife: “Let me see the fridge!”

That is when I realized I would need a paper to write down the list, because my brain cannot hold more than 2 grocery item at a time. I already had 4 (Chicken and 3 kinds of Milk). I quickly grabbed an old receipt lying on the kitchen countertop and tried to look for a pen. After fighting for 2 minutes with the daugther over the only pen I could spot, which she was using to scribble notes on from her previous experiment, I was ready to take down the rest of the list.

Wife: “We need Apples. 4 or 5.”

Me: “4 or 5? Please give me one number and no, we can’t do 4.5”

Wife: “Ok 5 it is. You and your obsession with accurate numbers. We will also need a bananas. Just get a bunch whatever number you feel like and the usual Bread that we buy”

Choosing a bread itself is a big task. There are thousands of varieties to choose from. In India, it is easy to buy a packet of bread, you just walk to the nearby bakery and ask for a bread packet. That’s it your 2 minute bread shopping is done. But here, you have to choose if you need white or wheat or honey wheat or whole grain or multi grain or thin sliced or anorexic sliced and the list goes on. Thankfully, we just like the Sara lee Honey wheat and just stick to it. So no big deal there beyond your first few attempts of trying to choose and like one from the variety. We have already attained nirvana in the kind of bread that we need.

Wife: “And finally a Cabbage. Make sure it is white in color, it shouldn’t be green”

For a moment before that I thought the list was over with the bread. One more to the list didn’t hurt and so I added cabbage to the list.

As I was ready to shop in the store, working my shopping cart through the multitude of aisles, I realized that Cellphones are necessary evils. I have a separate post on themselves that I am waiting to post. I say this because, with an already confused mindset I get a phone call from home adding 2 more items to the list.

Wife: “Can you get 1 bunch of Cilantro and a bunch of Green onion? I forgot about them”

Me: “What? wait I don’t have a pen, I can’t write it down, I can’t remember the other ones, what did I buy, what else I need to buy, my god my brain is short circuiting, I see sparks.”

Wife: “You need those for your Hyderabadi Biryani tomorrow!”

Me: “Oh ok, let me just get it then, hang on!”

Butchers can easily upsell you.

Me: “0.75 pounds of Boneless skinless chicken thighs please!”

Butcher: “Sure!” and puts it on the scale “Oh! it comes to 0.84 pounds”

Me: “Take a little bit out please!”

Butcher: “oh, it is 0.64 now! that will be too far away from 0.75, you want more or you want less?”

Me: “Got me, I want more. Let’s do 0.84 pounds”

And so my friends, an average ordinary Indian Man who was quenching to eat a Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani one day, set on a mission to buy 0.75 pounds of Chicken but came back with a big list of items – 0.84 pounds of Chicken, 3 kinds of Milk, 5 Apples, 6 Bananas, 1 Bread packet, 1 Cilantro bunch, 1 Cabbage and 1 Green Onions bunch.

This post should have really been title “The Ordeals of Grocery Shopping – Part II” but I thought it would be cool to make the title rhyme like a movie and hence I titled it “The Indian man who went to buy Chicken but came down with a lot more”. Anyone wants to guess the real movie name that sounds like this title?

Edit: And the winner for the Movie guessing contest is Nikhil. The answer is “The Englishman who went up the hill, but came down a mountain”, starring Hugh Grant.

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Author:

I am a Software Engineer by profession. My interests are in Computers, Science, Technology, Movies, Music, Photography and Writing. I love to do a lot of things, but am still searching for the ultimate thing that I can love to do. You will find here all the volcanic outbursts of my creative side as I explore the world through my perspective. Well, mainly fun, what's world without any fun!

24 thoughts on “The Indian man who went to buy Chicken but came down with a lot more

  1. The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain… It’s a boring movie, but a great hit while playing dumb charades or hangman! πŸ˜€
    And i loved this phrase:
    And so w(if)e decided…
    So true! πŸ˜€

  2. i am sick and tired of hydrabadi biryani since my colleagues just drag me to one whenever we need a celebration and now its been nth time we have been there!! πŸ™‚

  3. I just love Hydrabadi Biryani. I used to eat it everyday in my office when I was in Chennai. πŸ˜€
    And, believe me, you don’t have to be married to go through all this. My mom do this to me all the time. 😐

  4. Whacky
    “hyderabadi biriyani.. i would die for it.. :)”
    I would live to eat it, but this is the month of purattasi so I am not eating this month!

    “May be thats why you went through all this to let your tastebuds taste it again ;)”
    yes,it was definitely worth it.

    Anniyan
    “Shopping is SUCH an ordeal in the US?”
    Oh Yeah!

    “Now I have one more reason not to leave sweet mother India.”
    As long as I am on Earth I am glad πŸ™‚

    “Oh yes. Sorry about the tag. I am not writing any more. :)”
    That’s ok. It was just for fun!

    Nikhil
    “The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain…”
    beeeepppppppp…. we have a winner!

    “It’s a boring movie,”
    I loved it. It is a slow moving movie about a small community in a small town. Always like such movies.

    “but a great hit while playing dumb charades or hangman! :D”
    yeah, we always loved to include this in the dumb charade once a while.

    “And i loved this phrase: And so w(if)e decided…So true! :D”
    Me too, it is one of those stupid Man(l)y things we say.

  5. Sakhi
    “i am sick and tired of hydrabadi biryani”
    How can that happen!!!

    “since my colleagues just drag me to one whenever we need a celebration and now its been nth time we have been there!! :)”
    Oh I see that’s how. yeah too much of anything is not good!

    Amit
    “I just love Hydrabadi Biryani.”
    Me too!

    “I used to eat it everyday in my office when I was in Chennai.”
    Wow! every day???

    “And, believe me, you don’t have to be married to go through all this. My mom do this to me all the time.”
    Believe me, we don’t marry for Hyderabadi Biryani. It just happens out of love πŸ™‚

    vishesh
    “i am veggie :)”
    That is a nice answer. You can replace chicken with Mushroom or your favourite veggie and this post will still make sense!

  6. Drool!! Biryani!!
    How does the cabbage available in US taste? My sister in France tells me all vegetables are fine there except the cabbage . It tastes weird.
    So I guess living in India is much simpler with not many options in food items like Milk and Bread. πŸ™‚

  7. I’m a veggie but then i’ve always accompanied my friends, out-of-towners to nonvegpuram(paradise restaurant).

    PS: that is the bestest place in Hyd where u get the besttest hyd biryani

  8. Reema
    β€œDrool!! Biryani!!”
    Yeah πŸ™‚

    β€œHow does the cabbage available in US taste?”
    Tastes like starched cotton cloth, except I don’t know how starched cotton cloth tastes like, may be like Cabbage in US!!! πŸ™‚

    β€œSo I guess living in India is much simpler with not many options in food items like Milk and Bread.”
    You are right. The order of complexity in US is very high!

    Maxdavinci
    “I’m a veggie but then i’ve always accompanied my friends, out-of-towners to nonvegpuram(paradise restaurant).”
    Nice name – Nonvegpuram. I am an occasional Non-Veggie, not the everyday guy.

    “PS: that is the bestest place in Hyd where u get the besttest hyd biryani”
    Wow, good to know that! will have to try it if I go there.

  9. Usha was right.you write delightfully well.I have gone through the ordeal of shopping in USA and I am glad I go there only as a tourist.I really wonder how you guys cope.

  10. So, you bought the chicken & not eating it or what?

    Shopping sounds like big trouble! Wifey is smart enough to wait for you to go for it, and give you a list!! πŸ˜€

    Very nice post… Nicely put.. πŸ˜€

  11. Hey you get all those different milk types here too (in Aavin – distinguished by the colour of the packet : blue, green, orange πŸ™‚ ) and the diff. types of breads too…. but I can relate totally to your post. When in the US, I used to stop by to think about getting one lousy item and ended up filling a cart!!
    Good ones – w(if)e and man(l)y…
    Though I wonder why men cannot remember a list without writing it down?! If I ever sent P shopping, I am sure to get a call even with his having written the list down. I never called to add items though πŸ˜‰

  12. Padma
    “Usha was right.you write delightfully well.”
    Welcome here Padma a.k.a Hip Hop Grandma. I am truly honored by your visit πŸ™‚ Thank you for the compliment.

    “I have gone through the ordeal of shopping in USA”
    Oh! Hope it wasn’t as rought as I have shown!

    “I really wonder how you guys cope.”
    It is very difficult. Can you imagine I have to drive atleast 1 or 2 miles just to get a Match box?

    Aparna Gonibeed
    “So, you bought the chicken & not eating it or what?”
    Oh, this was sometime back. So it was already consumed and excreted πŸ™‚

    “Shopping sounds like big trouble!”
    Not just sounds, it is big trouble.

    “Wifey is smart enough to wait for you to go for it, and give you a list”
    She is very smart. I easily get trapped, all the time.

    “Very nice post… Nicely put.. :-D”
    Thank you πŸ™‚

  13. Apar
    “Hey you get all those different milk types here too”
    noooooooooooooo!

    “(in Aavin – distinguished by the colour of the packet : blue, green, orange πŸ™‚ )”
    Oh, they have colors here too. They have Pink for Fat free. I wonder why. They must think Fat free milk is only for women!

    “and the diff. types of breads too….”
    Oh, I already screamed no, please refere above πŸ™‚

    “When in the US, I used to stop by to think about getting one lousy item and ended up filling a cart!!”
    Does this mean we are safe from the store’s Marketing Tactics in India? I am usually careful not to buy more than what I need and my Wife makes sure we stick to that.

    “Good ones – w(if)e and man(l)y…”
    Thank you πŸ™‚

    “Though I wonder why men cannot remember a list without writing it down?!”
    We have to remember things like EOS 450D, 2.4Ghz, 1.5GB, 160 GB etc., No place to remember Number of apples and oranges πŸ™‚

    “If I ever sent P shopping, I am sure to get a call even with his having written the list down.”
    I do that often, to check on the brand name and which aisle I need to go.

    “I never called to add items though ;)”
    Good for P.

  14. I know…colours for the milk carton – if I remember it is red for full fat( shows the danger in consuming it? πŸ˜‰ ) Oh no….shopping, I always end up filling carts (esp grocery…guess I should follow the rule of don’t shop when hungry not just don’t blog when hungry – that is from Nikhil πŸ˜‰ )….and hey we women also need to remember a lot!!! and some those that you have mentioned too πŸ˜€ Well for the last bit, I suppose I have to mention – P need not worry ever about shopping from a list I give.

  15. Nikhil
    YAY!! I WON! I WON! πŸ˜€
    Yes you did, Congratulations πŸ™‚

    Apar
    colours for the milk carton – if I remember it is red for full fat( shows the danger in consuming it? πŸ˜‰ )
    That could be it! Wow, nicely done relating the color πŸ™‚

    I should follow the rule of don’t shop when hungry
    One should eat when hungry πŸ™‚ not shop or do anything else!

    hey we women also need to remember a lot!!!
    Yeah I know. I was just saying that Men are wired from the start to think only about those things. It is an evolutionary disease.

  16. Dinesh, Shopping isn’t as easy as it used to be in India anymore – you have so many varieties of bread and milk it is all confusing.And the worst past is that they alwasy come in such super sizes that you sometimes wonder if you are buying the entire bakery while all you want is two slices for a sandwich.
    I empathize with you entirely – I HATE shopping. Let us start a “grow your own food’ movement.

  17. for nsecunderabaddies and non hyderabaddies, paradise is the best place for biryani.

    for hyderabadis it is four seasons.

    this is taking into consideration eating with family in assumably safe locales.

  18. Arvind
    shopping spree
    Just the weekly grocery!

    I am no more a veggie so will try it very soon …
    It is a good dish. You should try it if you haven’t.

    dont tell to my parents
    er … sure … I won’t. But what if I already did?

    nice post πŸ™‚
    Thank you πŸ™‚

    Usha
    Shopping isn’t as easy as it used to be in India anymore
    Damn, capitalist greedy retail corps!

    you have so many varieties of bread and milk it is all confusing.
    Oh God, India has fallen prey to the consumerist regime.

    And the worst past is that they alwasy come in such super sizes that you sometimes wonder if you are buying the entire bakery while all you want is two slices for a sandwich.
    Exactly the same here. The bread packet is so big you have to make sure you finish eating everything by the expiry date. It is tough for Indians to do it while the Americans who don’t eat idli dosa for breakfast can find it easy to finish off 2 packets in the same time we struggle to finish half.

    I HATE shopping.
    Except when it involves Electronics πŸ™‚

    Let us start a β€œgrow your own food’ movement.
    It will be a great idea and I know a lot of people who do that. My neighbour grows spices like curry leaves and pudina in the patio.

    Curdriceaurora
    for nsecunderabaddies and non hyderabaddies
    I really hope they are not “baddies”

    paradise is the best place for biryani.
    That definitely proves Max’s statement.

    for hyderabadis it is four seasons.
    Thanks, will mark that too!

    this is taking into consideration eating with family in assumably safe locales.
    Yes please, no fighting with goondas while eating!

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