I did not have anything to do with vegetable procurement until I opted for voluntary retirement from service and started having ample spare time. It is now 7&1/2 years since I retired and in this period I have either accompanied my wife or I have on my own gone for shopping vegetables every week or more frequently. But I distinctly remember how we procured vegetables right from my childhood.
Since my childhood and for several years at Kothagudem, vegetable vendors passed by our bungalow at dawn on their way to the market. We had to look at their basket/Kavadi or ask them what they were carrying and buy our requirement. They were always in a hurry to reach the market but at the same time happy to sell en-route as it would lighten their burden. The vegetables were always fresh, just picked from the farms. Raw or cooked; they tasted the best.
We were also growing a variety of vegetables at the Kothagudem house during these years. Most common among them being, Bottle gourds, Snake gourds, Ridge gourds, Silk squash, Broad beans, Brinjals, Tomatoes, Pumpkins and Leafy vegetables. The care-taker of our 5-acre Mango garden on the way to Paloncha also used to get some vegetables he grew in our garden once or twice a month when he came to collect his wages or on some errand.
During the same time at our house in Secunderabad, there was a female vendor-Venkatamma coming with vegetables everyday in the afternoon. She used to come alone with a huge basket of vegetables and as years passed by she started getting an assistant, both carrying smaller baskets and in a rickshaw. She knew the entire family very well; she came every day to ask whether we needed any vegetables. She never allowed any other vendor to approach us. Told in advance she brought any vegetables of our choice the next day. Additionally she was also bringing us fish and crabs from time to time.
After Venkatamma stopped coming, my wife and sister-in-law started getting vegetables from ‘Secudnerabad-Monda market’ once a week. After my retirement I began taking my wife to the Bowenpally Market yard for Vegetables and provisions shopping. This market was less crowded with ample space for car parking.
Shopping in these not so neat markets came to an end with ITC starting ‘Choupal’ an exclusive fresh vegetable outlet at Tar-bund crossroads, about four years ago. With a variety of fresh vegetables and un-seasonal cold storage vegetables and fruits on sale it became very popular. We went there once a week till about six months back with occasional purchases at ‘Food World’ and ‘Fresh @ Sindhi colony’ which are located very close to our house.
Now since six months we are having the best vegetable shopping experience at SPAR, located close to Somjiguda circle. There is ample 2-level car parking facility, the entire mall is well air-conditioned and apart from the sale of vegetables and fruits there is a well stocked departmental store.
Vendors selling day to day fresh vegetables at our door step would have been the best option but such vendors no longer sell fresh vegetables and the pricing is much higher than these grand malls and they cheat with the weights.