Friday, March 16, 2007

Exploring Veggie land - published HT Cafe March 16

Exploring Veggie land

What do you do with a 5 year old on holiday? More specifically where do you take them if you want to avoid screens of any kind, those brightly coloured goo serving places they call fast food joints or those wallet depleting malls?

Think about it between the TV and the computer children today get enough squinting time at home itself, not to mention the shenanigans the get into imitating Krish and those annoying Power rangers! Add to which ever since I have read that a single meal at a fast food restaurant gives a disproportionate share - sometimes more than 100 % of the RDI of fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar in one meal, which evidence suggests influences memory, concentration, comprehension, judgement, intellect, mood and emotions I am loath to feed my child any of it. And any parent that has ever spent whopping amounts on those jazzed up tops called Bay blades will vouch for the negative impact malls have on wallets. So where does one take a kid who is justifiably climbing the walls with boredom?

The Vegetable market.

No, I have not lost the plot.

Although one more “I’m bored, lets do something or lets go out and I would have!

It was a long weekend and my son was harrowing me to go out, however I needed to stock up on fruit and vegetables for the week. At my wits end, I handed him a little cloth shopping bag, shouldered my own larger one and dragged him to the vegetable market. My solution - a shortcut to getting the job done and satisfying him - actually turned out to be a learning experience for both of us.

I realised I would never need to invest in one of those colour identification charts or books again, there was an overwhelming palette of colours surrounded us - in Technicolor no less! Red tomatoes spilling of one stall, a million types of greens sprouting on another, orange carrots the length of my arm sticking out here and white cauliflowers blooming there! Not to mention that he could touch and (thanks to the generous vendors and the Indian love for kids) taste every fruit from apples and oranges to grapes, watermelon and even those little orange gooseberries. (I gleefully relegated the A-Z of Fruit and Vegetables to the donation box as well)

But colours and identification are only the most obvious things that a visit to the market will teach. That day we also covered elementary math when counting out a dozen apples, touched on the concept of weights and measures, bunches and paying for things with money. We also came home and made a salad with our purchases but I will leave that for another story.

Granted things got a l-i-t-t-l-e complicated when it came to buying just one tiny aubergine because we liked the colour – how does one pay 35 paise in todays times? But who am I to complain – eating Baigan has never been an issue since! Take your kids vegetable and fruit shopping, not only will it be a learning experience for you but those eyes round with wonder, mouths attempting to pronounce names but not quite succeeding, little shoulders proudly hefting that little shopping bag and that little hand curling into yours will touch a chord in you – it did in mine.


Snigdha said...

Thats beautiful!

Priya said...

Great article Rushi!!

PS: How did the salad demo go?