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Dosa Biryani Gulab Jamun

This Christmas morning when our beloved city, Delhi, was yet again awarded as the 2nd most polluted city in the country, the Delhi Government made an announcement asking cabs, ecommerce vehicles and food delivery services to switch to EVs’ (electric vehicles).

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6,04,79,000. Yes. You guessed it right. The total number of biryanis ordered in 2021.  

Na tikka na makhani, kyunki dil bole biryani!

This Christmas morning when our beloved city, Delhi, was yet again awarded as the 2nd most polluted city in the country, the Delhi Government made an announcement asking cabs, ecommerce vehicles and food delivery services to switch to EVs’ (electric vehicles).

This immediately made me scan through my credit card summary, which, to my surprise, actually turned out to be a diary of the food I have ordered from different places throughout this month.

Well, that, and of course the clothes, the groceries, the vegetables, the milk, the cosmetics, the packet of chips, the single scoop of ice cream and even the paan.  

The fact that vehicular pollution contributes a major share of about 40% in the air pollution in Delhi, was still known to all of us but what shook me was that 30% of it was being caused by our favourite ecommerce and food delivery vehicles and with the whole nation celebrating the rise of the ecommerce unicorns nobody has even a clue that how much carbon footprint and addiction this new swamping of technology in our day to day life is bringing. 

Infact, while writing this article I just heard that someone in my building today ordered one pair of gloves, but they turned out to be bigger, so the ecommerce company will come again to deliver the correct size and ensure perfect happiness. Imagine the number of times they do back and forth just to add more to the pollution in the air.

Thanks to COVID-19, our urge to splurge daily has just been increasing as if there is no tomorrow. With lockdown after lockdowns, in many shapes and sizes across the country during 2020 and 2021 the glee and smirk on the social media handles of food delivery apps is nerve breaking. 

Sadly, a 15-20% discount on our favourite delivery apps makes our perfect morning now. Scrolling through these apps meaninglessly and endlessly every single day, one would say that online purchasing is the latest and the most expensive addiction to have today as they leave no space for you to be under any doubt either. 

Boosted by the lockdowns in the pandemic, the Indian ecommerce industry is set to grow by 84% by 2024. With the pandemic fuelling, the business of online food aggregators has grown unimaginably. According to IMARC (International Market Analysis Research and Consulting Group) it is further expected to grow at a compound online growth rate (CAGR) of around 11% during 2021-2026.

Way back in the 1990's, when a pizza delivering hut had launched the first-ever pizza online order, who thought that ordering-in would one day become more of an addiction than just a special evening’s need.

If you see it carefully, you will realise, the food delivering tech companies today are working overtime for addicting a young population and the future consequences of such an addiction are unimaginable. With a sizeable size of the youth and a growing population of women working, what we sometimes lack today is the time and effort required to cook our food ourselves. 

You sometimes feel that it is easier to order that biryani and wash it with gulab jamuns when you have been tired at work, and the compulsions of double income in a micro family without the support system normally required to run a functional kitchen is available to you. 

With 2 biryanis being ordered per second in 2021 and with 2.1 million orders of gulab jamun the question that arises is whether we are really hungry or are we only hungry for the convenience?

It is all in the mind and about the choices you make…

Ordering food and binge-watching has become the perfect idea of a tired weekend when the coming monday blues are already worrying you.  

‘Life is short, but do you really need those cosmetics online?’ and ‘do you really need to eat that Christmas cake?’  

But this convenient service alongwith all the comfort and ease also causes increased emissions from vehicles, unsustainable packaging, and excess food waste. Infact, it is projected that carbon emissions from food delivery will rise 32 per cent by 2022 which is around 6 million tons. Along with this are the added emissions from outdated two wheelers used in the metro cities from one building to another to deliver thirty odd orders in a given day.

So how about dining out with a loved one once in a while, or even cooking up your favourite meal yourself! 

Why would you anyway eat a soggy salty lump with additional delivery charges and taxes in the name of a dosa? Maybe because you are really, really lazy!

If you can’t even make yourself a cup of tea, and are also not interested in learning the basics of cooking--- brace yourself --- for ordering a cup of adrak ki chai or your favourite hot chocolate is soon going to cost you your life as the greens of the planet are being plundered to serve you your heavily multi-layered packaged tea. 

Climate change is for real and if the Delhi Government wants the ecommerce and food apps to shift to green vehicles the time has come for us to note that our addiction for e-shopping is costing the planet very badly. 

In a study of 365 students at Ningxia University, China, it was found that 34.2% of the students choose to order online because they had no one to go out for a meal with. Thus, the primary debate today is still, whether online food delivery enhances or reduces the quality of family time and social interactions.

So the next time when you have food cravings, try talking to a close friend instead or go for a walk. It will calm you down. 

With blue Yulus being used by the postmen to deliver mail in Bangalore, there is an urgent need for other cities as well to take a step forward and encourage the use of EVs’.

Hence, the time seems to be going further away when women had a moral obligation to cook for their family.

Infact, a time is now approaching when the primary questions put to a girl before marriage would be whether she has the ability to order the best food online with the maximum discount in the least amount of time.

With gender equity being the flavor of the season it is not a bad idea that both husband and wife perk up a few dishes for a romantic dinner at home rather than holding in hand a finger lickin garbage and thinking romantically thereafter.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Sudhir Mishra

The author is Founder and Managing Partner, Trust Legal.

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Simran Gupta

Associate, Trust Legal

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