The daily grind

The daily grind

Everyone revealed that they had switched over to readymade ingredients.

Change is the only constant, so I realised all over again, when I had to scout for a flour mill. The one near my home had shut down. In fact, I was not even aware of its closure though it was only half a kilometre away because I court its assistance once in two months to stock our kitchen with unadulterated flour and spices.

I assumed that the services had closed down temporarily till I was informed otherwise. Then the wild goose chase of finding an alternate began with a number of phone calls to friends and acquaintances in the nearby localities. Almost everyone pleaded innocence and revealed that they had switched over to readymade ingredients almost two decades ago! Finally, an old school home maker told me about an old hand in her locale who threw open his inherited mill to the public for two specific hours each day in the mornings and evenings.

I took the grist to the mill in an auto rickshaw and duly got them ground at an exorbitant price. Even as I paid up with a raised eyebrow, the miller passed the buck to the twin monsters — mushrooming mall culture and inflation which have devoured the policy of live and let live.

Task accomplished, I mulled over the elaborate exhausting exercise and wondered if it was time for me to join the tribe which shopped for processed ingredients off the shelves and compromise on quality. The incident set me thinking. I recollected instances from history and literature which celebrated the coming of simple machines like flour mills, threshers, husking equipments, pulleys, sewing machines et al. They relieved people from putting their nose to the grinding stone literally and figuratively. Life became easier and pleasurable with subsequent innovations. Electronic communication and supersonic transport has made globalisation a reality.

We have learned to overcome the difficulties in the daily grind of life, but in bargain we have earned several axes to grind. War, terrorism, materialism and discrimination of every sort have steadily crushed the healthy human spirit and have pulverised our values. We have lost touch with Mother Nature and even ourselves. An agonised Wordsworth summed up the deteriorating situation when he said, “The world is too much with us; late and soon,getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; Little we see in Nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!” It is time to ponder over, “How much is too much?” and draw a line before we bring quality life to a grinding halt on our planet!

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