Been putting off writing this post for four months now. Better late than never, huh?
Being a Sunday morning, we had planned to go out to Forum. Too early to eat at Gramin (wanted to post about this lovely restaurant too), we walked around a bit. Croma, the electronics store near forum had already caught my eye, and so did Star Bazaar. Though I am a big fan of TATA’s vis-à-vis Reliance (there’s a smart Reliance Mart that has come up on Bannerghatta Road (abt 2km past IIMB), that I liked a little better), what put me off (or drove me out) of this Bazaar was the obnoxious smell of meat cooking in the open. I have already seen my dose of non-vegetarianism in Bangalore and seen how it’s catching up across various quarters of India, but this was too much to put up with. It was even worse than walking across the Marry Brown corridor in Ispahani Centre (Nungambakkam, Chennai). Grrrr, why don’t people remember that there are still some (many?) vegetarians left behind in this nation? One thing the smell did was to drive me out, at least from the ground floor, which had a lot of provisions and groceries, to the first, which stocked more of clothing, as well as applicances and stuff. The clothing variety was good, but I would put Reliance Mart ahead, where you get decent looking polo T-shirts for 200 rupees! To give the devil it’s due, I did really like the way stuff was laid out in the first floor — and if I recall right, there was even a Landmark. But the moment I got back to the ground floor, the smell easily chased me out! All in all, I would not recommend STAR Bazaar, more as a retaliation, in principle, to their lack of respect for vegetarians!
That brings me to the whole issue of vegetarianism, an issue that requires much more discussion than I now have time for. I write this being provoked by the stupidest of Tamil magazines, which appears to be running a debate on whether vegetables are vegetarian [sic]?! The Indian concept of vegetarianism is quite different, from the Western viewpoint; it’s not just about animals and animal products. Food is only classified as saattvic, raajasic or taamasic — thus, while milk is classifed as a saattvic food, meat is classified as taamasic, as are onions, garlics or mushrooms (not that I even intend to equate anything with the himsa involved in producing meat). To add a point here, one must look back [and deep] into the rich tradition of our ancestors of atonement for killing (of microbes and tiny living beings, presumably) at the five places such as the cooking vessel, grinder/mixer, mincer etc (ammi, aattukkal, jalapatram etc) by the performance of the pancha mahayagnyas, and the vaishvadeva, to account for the ‘living’ vegetables etc. I am just giving a sketchy picture from the little I know here — do ask your [grand]parents for more fundaes :). Ok, have digressed enough. May vegetarianism be revived!
Another silly quip is the fact that they seal the plastic covers, as you leave the store! That’s disgusting, because it defeats the purpose of re-using plastic bags (postponing recycling or junking them outright), if you have to tear the sealed bag open when you get back home. Reliance was far better, using plastic wires to knot the bags.
Disclaimer: I am a bit intolerant towards molecules noxious to my olfactory system, but I believe this was too much. Nevertheless, pay a visit to STAR Bazaar — I hope they have improved, for their own good — and take your pick!