The only convenience we had was the short bearded man in his late forties selling vegetables on his push cart in our street and a couple adjacent to ours. Clad in lungi and a dirty shirt for most part of the year except in January when he would adorn black dhoti and shirt as he went on his annual pilgrimage to Sabari Malai, he would start work each day around 7 am setting the vegetables on the cart. By 8, he is on the street yelling on the top of his voice to get attention of buyers. A funny and fun loving man, he would joke around with security guards and maids working in various houses.
He would stock only regular fair. Onions, tomatoes, brinjals, drumstick...nothing exotic. If one wants broccoli or courgettes, he was not the man. But his stock was enough for any household planning a regular south Indian meal - Sambhar, Rasam, Kootu, Poriyal.
After spending about two to three hours in our street, he would move to another street.
Very recently Kovai Pazhamudir Nilayam (KPN), a retail chain that sells vegetables, opened its outlet at the end of our street. While we were worried about the traffic, we were also happy that we will have a proper shop which will not only be easily accessible but also convenient to shop in. KPNs are air conditioned shops which stocks not only regular vegetables but "exotic" ones. Further, they also stock all kinds of fruits, breads, pickle and even rice. They also have a juice shop near the entrance. With a self service model, they have computerized billing facility and accept cash and plastic. They also have a Facebook page!
While KPN brought good tidings for us, business was no more good for the push cart vendor. I neither find him nor the push cart in our street, anymore.
Can Walmarts kill Nadar kadai (baniye ki dukaan)? Can large MNC retailers do what KPN did to the vegetable vendor of our street?