Are we chasing a cheap dream?

Have you ever wondered why home-grown/ homemade/ handmade/ handcrafted… is always expensive, and difficult to source? And all the while, their cheaper counterparts are readily available in abundance, at every nook and cranny of the city.

It’s the marketing of such dubious products that prey on our time-constraint and need for convenience. They know that these are the pressure points of customers like us, leading super busy lives, which makes us come running to them for ready-made, ready-to-eat, ready-to-assemble and door-delivered products. All these are targeted towards people like us, who have the money, but no time. Just look at the past five years’ development around your area; more than anything else, supermarkets and restaurants have mushroomed in every inch of space, so to speak.  And no matter how many restaurants pop up, the crowd at these eateries is the evidence that people depend on them, so much more than ever before.

Now don’t get me wrong; I am not against eating out, in fact, we as a family love our time together exploring new cafes and restaurant. But my concern is the frequency and the tendency to ‘grab a meal rather than cook at home’. What’s more? It seems as though cooking at home is more expensive than those quick fast food items and not to mention the work involved in cooking.

We don’t have time to buy our produce anymore; we don’t have time to cook meals at home; we don’t have time to eat as a family anymore either!

Then what are we running around making all the money for…

Probably to enjoy life later… Right?  But what enjoyment, when our health is compromised in the long run… Ever think about that?

Coming to my first question… it’s no wonder that people prefer the fast and easy over the exclusive items, which are obviously more expensive than their mass produced counterparts, made of cheaper materials, using harmful chemical alternatives to real food, real produce, real fabric etc. It might look cheaper on the surface, but is proving to be quite expensive for the environment, as we have all come to know now. Cheaper for us, but very expensive for the planet we live in. And very expensive for all of us, a little later on, when we will be paying huge medical bills. All this fast lifestyle is costing our health dearly; which we may not realize now, in the busyness and race to complete one deadline after another.


What we fail to understand is, whatever is made to look cheaper for us, is definitely coming at a cost… we may not be seeing it right away, but that’s how it is made to look by the giants ruling the consumer driven industries.

We need to look beyond the cheap labels and understand why we need to pay higher price for things which are home grown/handmade and so on…

Why is organic produce more expensive?

The produce is grown painstakingly by an organic farmer who lives by ethics and conscience, and refuses to add toxins in the food he grows. And therefore, he doesn’t add chemical fertilizers to the soil; thereby the production is good, but not as much. He also does not add any pesticides on his crops, even though he incurs huge losses due to pests compared to the others using pesticides. So he has less produce per acre compared to what the chemical agriculture would produce.


Of course, it’s going to be a bit expensive. Look at food for instance…The fast food culture is growing in leaps and bounds… and we need to really understand how they are able to sell food for less, when all the ingredients in the market seem expensive!

How exactly are they cutting costs to make the item cheaper? Is it something we should be worried about? Why is fast food so addictive? What could have been added in them to make it so?

Why are biscuits and cookies which claim to have cashews and other dry fruits, sell at ten rupees per pack, even though our educated mind knows that cashews and dry fruits don’t come cheap?

What about packaged juices claiming to have 100% fruit, selling cheaper than that fruit itself?

Those glossy advertisements, enticing our kids with various colourful treats (including all colours in the rainbow), shamelessly endorsed by film stars and eminent sport personalities, are they really any good?

Forget good, I am really worried about what potentially harmful things are they hiding behind those colours and flavors. Is it going to cause any damage to my kid’s health? Of course, it will.

We are all working so hard day and night, bringing home fat pay cheques, but not having the time to eat a proper meal in peace. This whole race to afford a good lifestyle, in turn to provide good health is actually making us run farther away from the very same thing… good health. Where is the possibility of good health, when we don’t eat a plate of good wholesome chemical free food? Plate after plate of food is only loaded with in-comprehensive chemicals in the form of vegetables and fruits coming to us from chemical drenched farming. It is just filling our stomach and satisfying our mind, but it is not doing anything to nourish our body.

All that money is not providing us good food and by good food I don’t mean a meal at a fancy restaurant… no. I mean a meal which we know, for sure, contains nothing harmful and has all the goodness it’s supposed to have.

One way to ensure is by growing your own food. What can be better than that, right? And if you are inclined to gardening and would love to learn more then I have just the thing for you. I conduct an online gardening course for beginners during the first week of every month. You can check the course details here and register if interested.

If gardening isn’t your thing, worry not. There are still many other ways to make sure your family gets the best produce and products.


We all know the vicious role these chemicals are playing, in our lives and with our lives…

So what do we do? We don’t have control over markets and what they sell, so what can we really do? We are helpless… right?

Maybe not…

As consumers, we have lot of power; we just need to use them.

It’s time to create small communities to completely eliminate the middle-man out of the picture. This is how we can assert our rights;

Right to good clean food; Right to unadulterated provisions; Right to make a choice and not be rendered helpless in the hands of media moguls and giants in the food industries.

Let’s try to build small communities with known trustworthy circles of people, who are consciously doing what they do best!

Let’s find people who grow crops organically, let’s find home chefs who can cook healthy meals, let’s find people who make pastries without compromising on the quality of ingredients.

Let’s form such micro-communities that we can depend on, for our everyday needs; it might be slightly more expensive than the mass produced goods, but it will be worth the money, worth your health and your family’s well-being.

Let’s stop feeding the mass production culture and support small businesses instead.

There is just one more crucial thing we might have to do; something we have lost in the mindless rat race; and that is to develop patience and tolerance. Have patience and tolerance to go the extra mile to pick the best locally grown seasonal produce for yourself and your family. Only then can we have the health we all aspire for.

Because Good Things Take Time.

#LetsStopLivingCheap #LetsGoChemicalFree


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30 thoughts on “Are we chasing a cheap dream?”

  1. Sayali Kedari

    Hi Kalpana,

    Loved this article. Mass production of everything(things/Food -Veg/non-veg) has led to unethical sourcing of the raw materials to make their products. It also has multiplied the unnecessary packaging that they use for convenience. When buying such things we should really ask ourselves at what cost are we buying this convenience for? Some giants in their field take over the market exploiting the resources, crushing the small local businesses which can provide the same things locally, ethically and with less carbon footprint.

    I am so happy that you started this conversation and are enlighting minds of people like me to go back to the roots with your blogs and workshops.
    Thank you so much for that 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Sayali. You are absolutely right about that. I am so glad this post resonated with you. Glad to meet like-minded people through my posts here 🙂

  2. This is an impressive write up, Kalpana. My husband and I have similar discussions frequently especially around sunflower oil cost and the actual cost of sunflowers per acre. Do let me know of further initiatives!

    1. Thank you so much. I totally agree on the sunflower oil scam…It’s mostly petroleum by-product is what i hear. God…this is never-ending…Scary i say! Hmm…I don’t quite get your query Lavanya? Could you elaborate?

  3. After reading your article, I realize that I have been eating cheap things and making my family eat too. I totally agree that what are we saving for? For the day when we will relax but with restrictions of digestion and all? It is the best to enjoy the current moment with eating healthy

  4. An irony of life, we keep discussing on the subject of “food for thought”, but grossly miss out on the food itself. So aptly pointed out Kalpana, the contest between time and money, we are trapped and we are trading money for time not knowing at what cost. Nothing can be more precious than the cost of our health and it so much a factor of the food we eat, and in other way how much of chemicals we consume from these packaged and well marketed product.

    It has become so much about the convenience in life, the super market, the food delivery apps, a click away and getting almost everything things so easily done and doing it pretty comfortable, and all our energies are channelized towards the making of money, loads of money and in the process we sadly neglect the very purpose for which we are earning that money…the happiness and the health.

    Business today is so much about the scope and the scale, the mass production to the automation matters and the count of units, and the unit profit that can be maximized. The niche players, the small business entities are deliberately being crushed by the big fishes in the market…yes we need to nurture and promote these small players doing a big thing in their little space. It is such a pleasure reading your lovely thoughts and that exchange of ideas makes it a delight.

  5. Fantastic questions, Kalpana. Whenever, I see fruit and vegetables being sold dirt cheap, I wonder if the poor farmer is getting anything at all! We have to become more conscious of our consumption and how it affects the person at the end of the line.

  6. Loved your post. It’s funny how food safety has suddenly become a prime concern whereas it shouldn’t be so.
    At least we are able to shell out money and buy good quality products what about those who can’t afford to do so.

    1. Absolutely Tamanna. Food is the most basic need and not a luxury that only affluent people could afford and therefore, we shouldn’t have to worry about food safety but the scenario is totally opposite here. Thank you so much for engaging with the post and so glad the topic resonated with you.

  7. What perfect thoughts, I totally agree. hidden chemicals are ruining us and our kids, I loved the # you have used.
    “Because Good Things Take Time.
    #LetsStopLivingCheap #LetsGoChemicalFree”
    Keep writing!!

    1. Thank you so much Sonia. Means a lot coming from a good friend and well wisher like you. This post summarizes all the reasons for me to choose the organic way of life…these are things which always had a deep impact on me. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  8. I’m glad you thought and wrote about this. People are simply running in this race because they see everyone running and feel paranoid by missing the bus. People feel that factory made and backed by brand is safe and good. They fail to understand that there are capitalist behind it and they are not bothered by their health. Good you brought it up.

    1. Thank you so much Arv. I am so glad this post resonated with you because this is something very close to my heart. Food safety is becoming a growing concern when it shouldn’t be so. No matter what our occupation is, it finally boils down to food that sustains our lives…it should be our fundamental right to have access to healthy food sources and that itself is in grave danger. Corruption and under-hand dealing on food safety and security is pathetic and at an all time high…Don’t know where this will lead us to? Sorry for ranting here, but that’s how i feel about this. Thanks for lending a patient ear to my ramblings. Means much!

      1. Absolutely. Rooftop kitchen gardens are a new way out partially. Even organic food has little significance because it is hard to comply with the requirements. And how do you check if it is actually organic?

        1. That’s where the small communities built on trust comes in. I am absolutely not in favour of anything labelled organic because there is another kind of fraud going around in the name of organic, ripping people off their hard earned money. So the answer lies in buying from people you know and trust. Thanks for the interest shown and thoughts shared Arv…

  9. Loved this post! Couldn’t agree with you more. This year I have taken to supporting small and local businesses. Although expensive, I know that I am not supporting mass produced garbage. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Kudos to you Nanditha! So proud of you and so happy to have connected with you. This is what we need…if more and more people realise what these big corporations are doing to us, it will surely bring about a positive change. Hoping that day isn’t too far…For our own sake and more importantly for our children’s sake. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and engaging with me. Reading your comment today gives me hope. Thanks for that.

    1. So true Damyanti…Its such a shame that the very food that is the life sustaining force, the most basic right, is not accessible to general public. We have to purchase what they sell, period. And fooling people with attractive ads to sell what they want…It is nothing short of conspiracy at a grand scale. Scary to think where this will lead us to if we are silent about it. Thank you so much for sharing your views on this and sorry you had to hear me rant like this…but food safety is a topic very close to my heart. Thanks for this 🙂

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