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Value (In)Grain(ed)

Mid 1980’s and I was in High School. Those were the days when we bought our monthly provision of food grains from the Government Fair Price Shop or “Ration Shop” as they were known. These shops still exist and millions of households depend on them.

Value InGrained

The beginning of every month saw long queues in front of these shops with people of all ages and sizes stood with cloth bags (yes, plastic bags were not in vogue then) tucked under their arms. A family member would usually wait around on a bicycle or a scooter to help carry the heavy bags.

Most of the times, my mom used to go alone. Ferrying bags a couple of times from the shop. I did accompany her sometimes, but could not help much with the bags. Next few days were spent in cleaning the grains; a task I hated yet had no choice but to help.

It was not like we were not able to afford food grains from the retail outlets… we did not think it was beneath us to buy from the ration shops. Austerity or simplicity was the way of life.

One day, I visited my friend’s house. The women folk of the household were involved in the cleaning of raw rice bought from the ration shop. The small stones and the rice with husk were being separated. The rice covered with husk was kept separately and later, the husk was carefully removed. I found this amusing. This is because my mom threw them away and more over they amounted just to a palmful of rice. It would not have made much difference.

I came home and related this rather haughtily to my parents, implying that we were better off than them.

Dad just said – “That is because they know the value of each grain!”

Janaki Nagraj is a homemaker and a mother of two teen aged kids. She discovered writing almost two years back and have been blogging since. She also writes poetry. She thinks that blogging has opened up a whole new world for her and with writing she discovered herself.