Amak Bagang, Omo Diru, Topi Ette, Chera Esther, & Bismita Dutta
It was the third day with chicken on the menu at my sister’s place. Officially tired of having chicken for breakfast (not lying here), lunch and dinner, I asked my sister if she was doing it out of her unconditional love for me, and said if she was, she should stop it because I was completely tired of it.
She responded: “Because it is cheap.”
The feeling of being special suddenly vanished, and the reality of the soaring vegetable prices took over.
In Arunachal’s markets today, vegetables are oftentimes costlier than meat products, and, during times when the prices of vegetables go through the roof, I resort to eating meat (irony of ironies) just to save money. Imagine what dilemma the vegetarians must suffer in such a situation.
Meat is usually prepared at home when one craves it, or during special occasions. However, with onions priced at Rs 80/kg, cauliflower at Rs 120/kg, or beans at Rs 200/kg, eating meat has no special feeling left to it anymore. We could say that vegetables are the new go-to special menu.
It makes one wonder how people, especially middle-class families, large families, and students living in rented accommodations, are surviving when everyday vegetables like potatoes are sold at Rs 60/kg, tomatoes cost Rs 80/kg and the highly-used seasoning, garlic, is priced as high as Rs 200/kg.
A five-stalk coriander bunch being sold at Rs 20 and four pieces of king chilli at Rs 50 need special mention as these basic items are burning holes in the pockets of the people.
The oft-heard line in the markets these days is: “Abba! Sabji to sona ka bhao mei bik raha hai (Gosh! Vegetables are being sold at the rate of gold!)”
While the administration periodically notifies the rates for vegetables and meat, there seems to be a clear lack of implementation on ground.
If the prices of vegetables do not fall soon, we shall probably be enjoying Christmas with an onion cake with garlic toppings.