Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Day 76

The thing that halted my blogging isn't over until the 20th, but I have resumed already. I am not sure that I will be able to complete what I set out to, which is not to say that I won't continue to try. My mom asks me on the phone if I will be able to finish the thing off in time, and I say "I don't know". My mom knows that I don't say yes, unless I am sure.

She has asked me over the years if I would qualify for this college, secure that job, pass that exam, and she knows that I rarely said that I would, even when I did end up passing those hurdles. It is not the case that I decide to be conservative for fear of making a fool of myself. 'How would it be if I turn out to be wrong' is never at play. What is at play is only saying things I can also say to myself without feeling like I'm fooling myself (and I am the easiest person for me to fool).

Last year when mummy came to stay with me for the summer, it was the happiest period of my life in many, many years. We weren't having rollicking fun, but I suppose I've outgrown the charms of rollicking fun some time ago. I used to take her to the usual places - temples, Gita discourses, and, of course, shopping, which, with her, is invariably grocery shopping. I loved it all, which I guess doesn't bode well for my romantic success with girls my age, who, I'm told, hate bloody mumma's boys.

That aside, grocery shopping reminds me of a particular trend that I find a little annoying, although perhaps no one shares my opinion on this. I'm all for using technology to make our lives easier (in fact, what I've been working on fits the description) but when I see one startup after another making apps to get your groceries to you, I have to stop and wonder: where are we going?

Call me a lunatic, but grocery shopping, I think, is one of those integral parts of life that make us who we are. So much of my growing up days was sometimes being excited about grocery shopping because I'd secretly sneak in that other thing I also want, and sometimes being so unwilling to go for it because its such a chore and "I have more important things to do" but then getting over myself and doing it anyway. And then there is the time when you're actually getting stuff, waiting in lines, waiting for your turn, being careful about discriminating between two similar looking but significantly different products, learning how 1000 rupees don't go a long way and altering one shampoo for another as a last minute decision, and so on. Grocery shopping was at least as formative for me, if not wildly more, than reading Camus, Frankl, Wallace and Nida Fazli combined.

Now I've grown up, but grocery shopping is still a part of life I don't want to relegate to an app. It has its value for adults, as it brings us to appreciate and engage with the daily, the nondescript, the commonplace, which is what real life is, once you get past the concoctions of grandiosity. It is one thing to use apps to ease our lives, and it is another to invite them to substitute our lives. For this reason, and I hate to say this, those of you making grocery-delivery apps, I hope you don't succeed.

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