To say that the coronavirus situation has changed the way we shop would be a major understatement.
We have gone from nonchalantly strolling down to the grocery store whenever we need something to planning our provisions in advance, getting them delivered to our doorstep, sanitizing each object thoroughly, and only then using it.
Some parts of India are even facing a major shortage of food items, making citizens desperate to feed themselves.
Koyambedu Super Spreader
One such place is Chennai, where the major fruit and vegetable market, the Koyambedu market, has been sealed as of the past few weeks, since it turned out to be a super spreader of COVID-19 in the city.
Over 2000 cases have been attributed to the Koyambedu market alone, due to the fact that vendors and buyers work in close proximity, and social distancing is rarely observed.
The teeming metro is now grappling to get basic fruits and vegetables whichever way it can- some order online, others try to get produce directly from farmers, and still others are sourcing fruits and veggies from Bangalore.
However, all these methods involve transporting produce over hundreds of kilometres, as a result of which they are usually in quite a bad condition by the time they reach Chennai- dried up due to the heat, or beginning to spoil.
Desperate For Anything
However, citizens are desperate, and not really in a position to turn it away- we take what we can get. Below are some pictures of the produce purchased by my own family.
The bananas and spinach were procured from two different vendors. The bananas turned completely black in a day (we could not consume the entire bunch in a single day), and looked sickly white on the inside, unlike the usual look of a fresh banana.
Regarding the spinach, we had ordered palak, but got this, which does not remotely resemble it (it’s probably a distant cousin of the spinach family, we are still doing research!).
The rice we get here in Chennai is also adulterated at times- the other day at lunch I bit into a stone instead of the soft rice I was expecting.
A Vicious Cycle
Basically, both vendors and consumers are desperate. Due to the lack of availability of fresh produce in Chennai, vendors sell whatever they can get their hands on, and consumers are grateful for whatever little they can get.
This whole situation harks back to World War II, where good food was difficult to come by, and people were grateful for what little they had.
If we as privileged, upper middle class folks get such spoilt produce, I can only imagine what our less fortunate brothers and sisters must be getting.
We resort to eating Maggi on the days the vegetables are too spoilt to eat, and consider ourselves blessed to get any fruits or vegetables that are decent in appearance and quantity.
Image Credits: Author’s Own
This post is tagged under: bad quality, state, vegetables, fruits, spoilt, old, Chennai, vendors, Koyambedu Super spreader, vegetable market, buyers, delivery, super spreader market, covid 19, coronavirus, shut down, Chennai lockdown, scarcity of fruits and vegetables