Growing up : Girls and groceries

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I was eight when I recall being sent to the sweet shop in the colony first time with a Rs.10 note to buy jalebis for myself and my brother. This was year 1986. and perhaps the first time when I handled a Rs. 10 note all by myself. I was thrilled at the thought of shopping for the family, doing the mental math and getting the right change back home for the sweet shop guy was known to cheat. I did a good job and with time other tasks followed : buying vegetables and other groceries from the kirana shop.

A lot has changed since then. Times have changed. Kids these days carry Rs.100 with ease as pocket money to school and buy burgers for a snack during their morning break. All we got was a Rs.5 soiled note to fix the cycle tyre to get back home just in case it got punctured. I am not complaining. We grew well and we grew fine; knew the importance and worth of money.

It is but natural for one to expect grown up girls these days to be street smart. So, it came as a surprise when we saw a teenager struggling to buy a bunch of dhania. One evening last week, on our way back home, we stopped by the local vegetable vendor. we were particularly impressed by this girl - not by anything she did but the way she was dressed and looked. All seemed well until she asked the lady how much the kothimber was for? She paid and then hesitantly looked at the bunch up and down and sideways, unable to determine if it was alright. She cast a quick glance at the vegetable lady and asked, "Yeh achcha hai na..nahi tho mama vapas bhej dhengi mujhe?"`That innocent look on her face said it all..she was really concerned by the quality of the bunch she had picked up. After reassurance from the lady, the girl was on her way. The lady was quick to comment to us, "itni badi ho kar dhania khareedna nahi aatha". But the incident made me think. I am sure given Rs. 6K, she can pick up a good mobile phone for herself. Why is domesticity being looked down upon? Is it not a part of one's growing up? Was this girl just a one off case or did she represent today's generation?