Carrots have become expensive


Carrots have become expensive in Bangalore, relative to cucumbers at least.

I’m at mainland China in Jayanagar to have their excellent pepper lemon chicken soup – which is brilliant when you’re nursing a cold – like I am  now.

Like any good Chinese restaurant they’ve given kimchi as complimentary starter and I’ve been eating that as I wait for me soup.

As you can see in the far right corner of the photo though the kimchi (not sure if the pickled carrot and cucumber they give as complimentary starter can be classified this or if the term is reserved for the pickled cabbage – anyhow) only has cucumber.

It’s my mistake that I took this photo now and not even it just arrived but what was supposed to be a bowl of carrot and cucumber was actually a bowl on picked cucumber only with one token piece of pickled carrot!

Clear indicator that carrots are expensive now – relative to cucumbers at least!!

PS: I shopped for vegetables on Wednesday. Bought carrots for sixty rupees a kilo while cucumbers cost twenty a kilo. So no ticket science to this post. Just a pertinent observation

Vegetable shopping – It’s not about percentages

Some habits are hard to change. One that is especially hard to change is bargaining for vegetables. I was trained well, I must say, in the bazaars of Jayanagar 4th Block Shopping Complex. I was taught that one needs to do a full round of the market before making any purchase, in order to understand the “market price”. I was taught  techniques that would make the shopkeepers give the goods for the price I offered, I was told what demographics to approach for what kind of vegetables, and over time I must say I became an excellent vegetable shopper, when sent to Jayanagar 4th Block that is.

Another thing that is hard to change is willingness to pay, and this is where I see some irrationality. For example, I’ve just returned from the fruit and vegetable shop close to my house, having refused to buy a cucumber because the shopkeeper asked for Rs. 10 for it, a 100% markup on the not-so-longterm average price of Rs. 5. And that is precisely the problem – looking at it as percentages.

We don’t usually consume too much cucumber. If I’d bought that cucumber it would’ve lasted about a week. So by refusing to pay the “100% premium” for it, I’ve essentially saved my family a maximum of five rupees over the course of a week (and this is in the best case – conditional on my being able to procure cucumber at the “normal rate” soon. Else the loss is larger). And given our not-so-inconsiderable weekly expenses, and the fact that our “discretionary spend” is an order of magnitude larger than the five rupees I’ve saved on the cucumber, this just doesn’t make sense.

The mistake we make here is to look at the percentage increase in weekly budget of the particular item, and base our decision on that. Instead, if we were to look at the increase in the “total weekly budget” (across all items), that could help us get a more realistic figure for our willingness to pay for certain things.

Of course, the big problem here is that even if my rational mind says this, there’s a behavioural issue in paying much more than the price we’ve been “anchored” to. I don’t know how we need to get over this.

Red wine and mirchi

is such an awesome combo. As we just discovered, here in Monastiraki square in Athens. It was this restaurant called Savas. Specializing in one “Sauvlaki”.

So over the last week or so of vacation, the girlfriend has been complaining of not eating spicy enough food. So as we settle down today, and get our can of wine (yeah, you get half a litre of wine in an aluminium can here. Awesome it is), I see this “spicy hot peppers” on the menu.

And given that the girlfriend has been deprived of spicy food, and I like peppers it doesn’t take long for me to order it. And boy was it hot.

I gave up after a couple of bites of the pepper. No amounts of pita bread and Tzatziki (the Greek version of raita – with cucumber and garlic blended into curd) could cure the hotness on my tongue. With there being no water on the table, I went straight for the wine.

I’ve always suspected it when the girlfriend has claimed to have Gult roots. Of course, I’ve seen a lot of Gult being spoken in her family, and had half my pre-wedding dance party inundated with Gult songs, but still find it hard to accept she’s Gult. And did she prove it! She ate four whole peppers, as I struggled to finish half..

A couple of minutes back, we staggered back to the hotel. Absolutely drunk. We’d had 250 ml of red wine each, “house wine” according to the restaurant. And mirchi. Whatta combo. Surprised the “shady bars” of Bangalore haven’t exploited it yet. Maybe no one drinks wine there.