I was just putting the last item into my shopping cart when I thought aloud, “I need to pick up the baby shampoo.” My five-year-old turned around and said “amma, that will be in Basement 2 and we are in the fourth floor.” Well, that’s grocery shopping for you now, a thing most of us do every month. I thought, I would have never remembered a thing like that when I was five, but then I had not seen a multi-storied supermarket until I was 20. I grew up in the suburbs of Chennai where life was too simple, where my mom made a grocery list on the first of every month. Always the first item on the list would be turmeric powder or agarbathi as she said that the first item must be “mangalagaramaanathu.” She would only list out items that will not be available in the Air Force ration and Canteen, “it is much cheaper there and you can go with appa next week” she would say. I used to be so overjoyed if it was my turn to go, because then I would get to choose my soap, Liril, my brothers would always get Hammam or Lifebuoy. I would fantasize becoming as beautiful as the Liril girl I saw on TV. Well, that was then, a fantasy. The next stage of the grocery shopping was to take the list to the grocer. My younger brother and I would go to our grocer, a small grocery shop called the “Ravi Provisions” run by a small dark man called Ravi, Ravi anna to us. Getting Ravi anna’s attention was all about various handsignals and chanting “anna, anna.... we came here first” while he served yet another person. That’s were our family pet dog, Jerry, came in handy. We would take him to the shop with us. He was a real attention getter. The moment he entered the shop, everyone would move and make room for us; yes, he was quite big. Ravi anna liked Jerry a lot and would always give him a treat, a “porrai”. He was not scared of Jerry, but the others in the shop were, and they would insist that we were served first. Isn’t that cool!!! After giving the list and getting a few things that my mom would have underlined as urgent, we would head home with a great sense of accomplishments. A day or two later, Ravi anna would ride down to our house on his cycle bring the grocery packed in a cardboard box. My mom would sit in the hall checking the list while Ravi anna took out the grocery from the box. Once done, my mom would pay the bill, and Ravi anna would show the latest rage, Haldiram’s sonpapadi, and say “you don’t have to go to the sweet stall at all akka, now you can buy sweets from my shop itself.” With us begging for it, mom would reluctantly agree to buy it. Thinking of all this, I heaved a sigh, and said to my daughter, “ok, come darling, let’s go down and get the baby shampoo” and she promptly replied, “appa is down at Basement 1 amma, call him on the cell, he can get it and also remind him to pick up the bedtime lotion.” Well that’s grocery shopping for you now.