Dear Friends,

I am very happy  to inform you that I am taking my passion for writing a step from my blog to the ‘Off the Cuff’ section of the Gulf News. After reading my work, the Editor has willingly agreed to publish it.

Today, the first post was published. Please read and let me know what you think. Wishing you all a happy weekend.

Organically perplexed

Thanks to extensive marketing techniques, coupled with a drastic increase in the educated lot of customers opting for anything that claims to be produced organically, we now have even a new brand of bottled water that claims to be organic

Published: 17:12 June 29, 2017Gulf News

Pranitha Menon, Special to Gulf News

Every morning, after the cows were milked and fed, my maternal grandfather would walk up to the vegetable patch that bore the fruit of his hard work and his passionately green fingers, a basket in hand. He would scrutinise every one of his beloved plants, pulling out an unwelcome weed or a half-eaten ripe vegetable — the remnants of a stray mole’s dinner after it had eaten its fill, as he carefully chose the day’s harvest.

Most of what he brought back would get a touch of grandmother’s magical fingers and become lip-smacking dishes for a hearty lunch. The rest would be dried or pickled and carefully stored in enormous jars that would join the many others in the dark confines of the attic and found their way back into the kitchen only on a rainy day.

At home, father made his way to the vegetable market every evening with a cloth bag in hand. The place would be abuzz with vendors who occupied every inch of the sidewalks, selling their day’s fresh harvest. I watched father make his choices — sometimes striking a bargain and at other times giving into their demands.

There was the old lady who had spent the day picking and bundling up fresh herbs and leaves that father bought without a second thought and almost always paid a rupee extra earning him a blessing in return.

There was the smiling coconut vendor who gave away a tiny piece of sweet white coconut meat to children who accompanied his customers, a goodwill that earned him many customers with happy, hungry children in tow.

Those were the days when ‘organic’ was confined to the Oxford dictionary and goodwill was yet to become a marketing technique.

Left in a dilemma

This week, when I was at the supermarket, I spotted bunches of fresh green palak leaves stacked to perfection on one side with its equally-fresh organic counterpart stacked on the other. I was left in a dilemma as to whether it was healthier to feed my family to cubes of cottage cheese simmered in blanched and pureed palak leaves that have been treated to a good healthy dose of pesticides, or a crisp green batch of the same that have been treated to manure (or dung) from organic-fed cows and generously watered with freshly-treated sewage water.

As my not-so-green fingers and pathetic gardening abilities, that I have not inherited from my maternal grandfather, forbade me from growing my own batch of herbs, I thought that my family will be better off on a diet minus the delicious ‘palak paneer’. I instead chose a batch of perfectly-rounded, red hydroponic variety of tomatoes. I have not bothered snooping around at Google’s doorstep trying to find faults with the hydroponic technique of farming, as ignorance, in this case at least, is bliss.

As I glanced upon the white glistening crystals of organic sugar, I willed my mind not to think of the not-so-organic techniques employed to give it its beautiful white sheen.

At the poultry section, I came across a variety of eggs, priced exorbitantly, that had a picture of a fat, healthy and happy hen that appeared to be smiling. Upon checking, I learnt that the smiling hen had actually been put on a vegetarian diet as the owner had decided to go on a mission to improve humanity’s brain function and immunity with this brand of eggs. We must applaud the owner for this creative marketing strategy and forgive the fact that this person is just earning some extra bucks in the process.

Thanks to extensive marketing techniques, coupled with a drastic increase in the educated lot of customers opting for anything that claims to be produced organically, we now have even a new brand of bottled water that claims to be organic. Yes, you heard it right — ORGANIC water.

There is already the Smart Water that apparently improves brain function, Vitamin Water to boost your health and Diet Water to make you skinny.

What could be next, a new range of gluten-free water or trans-fat-free water?

Thank goodness that even in this world of ruthless industrialisation and inhumane marketing strategies, somebody still cares about our health.

Pranitha Menon is a freelancer based in Dubai.

36 responses »

  1. Ohh yaaayyyyy! Pranithaaaa this is great news. This is awesome. I’m so happy for you. 😍😍😍 Congratulations. Great going. May this be the first of many, many, many posts to be published. *Sending you many hugs* 😀😀😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • 😘😘😘😘thank you for that. It was my first trial into this section which I am been hoping to be published in and so happy that they found my work worthy of being published.
      Thank you for all your good wishes, Shweta. Means a lot to me, specially when it comes from friends like you😍

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re an awesome writer. 😀 I’m soooo glad that now, many more people will be able to read your works! 💕 Keep writing. It’s such happiness to see you conquer new domains. Keep making us proud, my dear. 😘😍😊


  2. Congratulations dear pranitha.Thats a wonderful achievement. Keep going and growing as the writer in you reaches new heights. Loads of love an best wishes, always 👍
    BTW, the dilemma about how much organic, always prevails everywhere, making us a confused lot 😐

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations Pranitha for this article that educates on eating healthy and organic in the opposite of artificial food storming the market. It gets so confusing at times with so many products claiming to be organic to make quick buck off people. Sometimes, I really wonder, you know!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Simply fabulous use of daily experiences of life that you bring to life for us to relive and enjoy…. I love your writings…. Regards Ranjietta

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations dear friend😄😄 I’m so so happy for you! Yayie!! This is such a good news as I always admired your writing and someday even hope to read a book from you😄😁 (yeah I’m a dreamer!!)
    I remember this amazing article, it’s no suprise the editor willingly agreed to publish, infact all your articles are equally awesome. Speaking of which, I have a lot to catch up, will do slowly, congratulations once again😄


    • Thank you very much.
      You just need to get hold of the editor’s e-mail which is usually available on all newspaper websites or in the contacts area of the newspaper itself.
      Just post in your articles to the editor. If they like it they are sure to get back to you. You just need to sit tight and wait.


  6. Oh Pranitha! I’m so happy for you and so glad that many others will now be able to enjoy your beautiful writing! Many congratulations 🙂
    (Maybe I should accompany the congratulations with that email I promised you:(. Sorry once again, I’ve been away from the blogosphere too long.Will get to the recipes soon:)

    Liked by 1 person

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