I can see why Indian grocery store in this country would stock (apart from rice, dals and spices) Britannia cream busicuits. Or Haldiram's goodies or Maaza or Maggi noodles. Or any of the abundant assortment of snacky things available only in the mother country. Even Vicco toothpowder and Neem toothpaste I'll let pass. But Fair and Lovely and Bigen Hair dye?? Food is one thing- all the aforementioned comestibles are far tastier than anything you get here. Now how insular do you have to be, to think there's no better face cream than fair and lovely (come on, isn't the American sun, or the lack of it, making you pale enough already? Not that I think fair and lovely works), that you will not dream of using the gazillion products available here, and must import from India? And we call the Americans inward looking. Ha!
Note to self: Must further explore Indian grocery store- who knows what treasures (and topics for blogging) the activity may yield?
But seriously, what is up with the food in this country? You should see the supermarkets here- huge, sprawling monstrosities (like everything else here), and to negotiate one successfully, you would have to eat a meal exclusively for that purpose. Really. They're filled with such junk, though. Why are nine-tenths of these products even on the shelves? Because, ha ha ha, look at us, we're so great- capitalist economy, consumer paradise, our standard of living is so high, we have a hundred different types of breakfast cereal? I mean, Dudes, quantity is like, totally not equal to quality, y'know?
Food here is either sweet, salty or sour. Vegetables, fruits, chocolate- at best bland, insipid, tasteless, uninspiring, and at worst, synthetic. Whatever happened to flavour, aroma...? Ah, but then America understands not such subtlety. It is no wonder that America has been described as 'the land of no smell'. Have you ever eaten grape-flavoured, er, I don't know, Magic Pops, or hard boiled candy of some sort, and wondered why it tastes strange and most un-grapelike? I've discovered the answer to that mystery- it's because the grapes in this country taste like that. Aha.
But life's not all bad. Bought yesterday while waiting for shuttle- second hand, and for a dollar apiece- Ananda Coomaraswamy's The Dance of Shiva, and Evelyn Waugh's Put Out More Flags. Also acquired Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago for (hold your breath) 25 cents! But that was a long time ago, at the library sale. I haven't talked about the library here, have I? It's brilliant! I've found every book I looked for, if not in the local library, then in one of the other branches part of the Massachusetts library network, from where any book you fancy will be sent to your own local branch for you to pick up. Also available: Lots of music and movies. Cool, huh?
Have I ranted about the public transport yet? No? Another post, then.