Krishnan's Dairy - Notes
The corner shop, drug store or Seven Eleven is an international phenomenon that contains elements universal to all cultures and also specific to the country or city in which they are found. We call them the ‘dairy’ and they sell all manner of goods from light bulbs to meat pies, chewing gum to stockings and of course milk, bread and ice cream. The ‘dairy’ is a much loved institution; part of our history, open all hours and often owned and run by immigrant families.
In recent years it is also an institution under threat from the supermarkets and 24-hour petrol stations that undercut it in price and convenience. BP Express, Caltex Star Shops, Foodtown, Big Fresh and New World supermarkets are supplanting the corner dairy in many places and small family businesses built up over many years of hard work are fast disappearing. With them goes a uniquely personal approach to free enterprise in our communities.
However something of the pioneering spirit that leads people to move country and start a new business with dreams of a better life for themselves and their children sees the best businesses evolve and develop their own niche markets in specialist goods or services. Krishnan’s Dairy salutes that spirit in whatever corner of the world people have chosen to set up their corner shop.
Being Indian carries with it certain responsibilities. Everyone expects you to be able to cook a curry, spin bowl and have a natural ability at yoga. As an Indian, you have the power to make an Indian restaurant authentic just by walking into it. And if you put three guys in a room with a snake you’d expect the Indian to have some kind of advantage.
Of course we can’t always live up to these responsibilities. I myself have been found wanting on more than one occasion. I have a woefully inadequate knowledge of Indian’s geography, average rainfall and chief exports. Most of my understanding of its religions and politics was gleaned from a project I did in 3rd Form Social Studies.
I guess what I’m saying patient reader, is take everything you see in Krishnan’s Dairy with a pinch of salt (and possibly a generous dollop of garlic and ginger paste). It’s certainly not my intention to recreate an authentic day in the life of an Indian Dairy owner. My allegiance lies with telling a good story and I’ve taken liberties with “my culture” to try and achieve this.
To my countrymen and women who take offence, I apologize. To those of you who crave authenticity – I guess you’ve got the wrong shop. Of course if you leave the show with better understanding of what it is to be an Indian in New Zealand I’m quite prepared to take credit for it; but I’d far rather you left forgetting where you’d parked your car.