Madam - Things you dont expect to by round the corner in indiaSo, I bought these the other day in the supermarket.

Not, you would think, earth shattering information. It is just past Christmas after all.

But consider this – I live in India.

So, it’s fairly big news to be able to stroll to your local supermarket and for it to be purveying Waitrose goodies to the masses.

Well, I say masses – it’s a fancy foreign food concession in a very fancy hypermarket, in a pretty fancy area. I’m hardly slumming it.

Anyway, I find it utterly surreal to be stood looking at Waitrose items while simultaneously stood in Bangalore.

I didn’t even know they had overseas franchises till I moved to this city.

In fact when I came out a few years back I brought lots and lots of ‘hard to get in Kerala’ things with me. Fancy things like: hair dye, deodorant and gourmet noodles where tricky to find in Trivandrum. Partly that’s because despite being the state capitol it’s a smaller place, with less expats – and partly because things are moving very quickly in this country. Maybe the noodle shortage of 2008 is a distant memory now, maybe not in Kerala.

And amongst all the things I brought over in my big container, I shipped a whole bunch of fancy food to make me feel less homesick. I find a taste of home really does help when you miss your pals.

And of course, the fanciest supermarket in the UK is Waitrose. So I shipped over lots of their stuff to savour.

Then when I turn up here, I discover there’s actually a Waitrose – all be it a very small one – round the corner?

That’s just odd. Actually downright freaky.

To be fair, you can get most things in Bangalore (although decent deodorant is still remarkably rare considering it’s a tropical country). So, you see a lot of things unheard of in Kerala – maybe not consistently but you do see them. So I tend to stock up when I see them. Which rather explains my seaweed collection. Least ways that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Anyhoo, back to the miracle of Waitrose round the corner.

Madam - waitrose cansPart of what amazes me about this franchise is the odd things they stock. I can understand expats craving the fancy foods of home – the Heston Blumenthal stuff – the gourmet French items… but chickpeas in a tin? We’re in India, the land of sodding chickpeas.

And they have things like cotton buds and ketchup. All things that you can easily get here (and really anywhere). Items that are presumably shipped to the UK for labelling and boxing up and then shipped back to India.

Actually, thinking about it, surely they don’t do that? I certainly hope they’re tinned here and sent to the UK and only a few are kept back for the franchise to sell. But my gut feeling? This ain’t how it is. Those are some well traveled chickpeas.

Weirder still, they have things like ‘Waitrose instant Indian korma sauces’. I kid you not! Here in the land of not only fresh made Indian food everywhere – but the land were everyone has a maid who will happily make from scratch anything you want – here they’ve shipped out instant bottled sauces? Amazing.

Anyway, I’m not complaining. I don’t meant to sound like I’m complaining. Waitrose is a good thing.

I have a steady supply of fancy food very local to me. It’s odd, but handy. And I will miss it when I am not next to a Waitrose.

I wonder if they have one in Sri Lanka…


If you fancy reading a few more posts about my slightly surreal adventures in shopping, check these other vaguely related posts:

The deckchair has finally arrived

Things you don’t expect to see on a motorbike

About two miles to the gallon

And of course as ever, do please comment below. What do you think Waitrose should stock out here?