Give Us This Day...

Our daily bread comes to our doorstep in the morning. On a bicycle. The man who brings it is just one of the many vendors sent out by the many small old world bakeries that dot the city we live in. They’ve held on in the face of competition from the big guys and the array of different breads in the supermarkets. We don’t buy from him every day because I get enough for a few days and freeze but I do know people who wait for him every morning so they can have that hot, crusty bread for breakfast.

freshly baked every morning
freshly baked every morning

Maybe the loaves don’t look as symmetrical or as perfect as the ones in the stores but the freshly baked smell is to die for. Even when it comes out of the freezer, all you need to do is thaw it for a bit, slice and toast – and you’re in bread heaven! There’s a choice – small loaves that are melt-in-the-mouth, crusty loaves that are soft on the inside, puff pastry squares that are delicious with tea, flat breads that have such a wonderful flavour, buns with sesame seeds scattered on top and they taste divine with a dab of butter.

The thing is, how long will our bread man survive? Will the younger generation continue to buy from him? Or will he fade into a ‘the way things were’ memory? Will high-rise gated societies and huge supermarkets take away his livelihood? Whose responsibility is it to see that not only does he survive but keeps doing better? It just has to be our responsibility. I’ve realised that electing leaders and expecting them to do anything for anyone just doesn’t work anymore. Politicians are a number-crunching breed apart whose only worry is where the votes come from and how to get them. Not for them the headache of seeing that our taxes go to help the unfortunate ones amongst us. So that leaves us. And if we pull together, we can be a force to reckon with.


Why promote the small businesses around you? Because in the long run, it means you are shaping your surroundings to become better. By supporting people like the bread man and helping him earn his livelihood, it means his family eats better, his children get educated and they have enough to stay healthy and happy. Without that, what does a man do to feed his hungry family? Can you blame a man turning to crime?


When the oft-used phrase Think Global, Act Local was used in a business context, it meant that multinational giants were putting down roots at the local level to improve their bottom line. What we need is an upturning of that system. What we need are local roots that need to be nourished so we need to think local first. We need to become more aware, we need to spread the word and if need be, we need to make it fashionable to buy local produce and to encourage the small people in business around us. If we need things around us to change, we cannot wait for a faceless government to do it for us. We need to do it ourselves. So it empowers us as much as it does the ones at the grassroots levels around us. When we empower the microcosm, the macrocosm will automatically get better. Our positive actions with a local focus will only help us act better in a global sense.


For me, I’d be happy to continue seeing that smile on the face of my bread man and the many like him.

More by this Author


Comments 34 comments

Cris A profile image

Cris A 4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Unless your bread man changes his magic recipe, I think he's got at least one loyal customer till the time he has baked his last dough. I like how you effortlessly maneuvered your story into a call for support for small grassroots business. :D


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Across the road from me in Qatar is a small bakery comprising a floor-sunken clay oven and a serving hatch. One baker, one assistant and only one type of bread - flat, well fired, about the size of a dinner plate - one riyal a piece. I'm doing my best to keep him in business, at least until the bulldozers inevitably move in.

You are absolutely right that elected officials are not going to help us preserve small businesses and local economies. We have to do that ourselves.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 4 years ago from India

Shal, send your bread man our way - we will guarantee him good business! :)


Charlie 4 years ago

Shalini, I pray the best for your endeavors. I'd hate to see you lose that. Our small city has devoted itself to preservation of local business and it is working despite Walmart. Great hub.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Your story reminded me of the milkman, the farmer, and the scissors grinder who made their scheduled rounds in my neighborhood...too long ago. Here in the US, they are long past being "a dying breed." If we were so fortunate to have your bread man, we'd also have to take responsibility for removing the local taxes and permits that would make it almost impossible for him to make a living. I applaud your call to action.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 4 years ago from India Author

Thank you Cris - it's great to see you back writing and commenting again! My husband played a Bread album after ages, the bread man rang the doorbell and the hub happened! And yes, I do hope we are have the privilege of buying his wares for a long time!

Hi Paraglider - I'm sure the bakery values your patronage! Does it look anything like the flat, round ones in the picture on top? It's called naan pav here and it's usually served with a spicy minced mutton curry in Muslim homes.

FP - I'll ask him :) The broon pav is soooo good - used it for an open tuna fish sandwich for lunch today.

Charlie - thank you so much for coming by and reading. I guess all our little ways might just add up to a global revolution - I hope it does!

Sally's Trove - isn't that sad? It looks like that's the way things are going here too. We still buy from the fish man, the milk man and the vegetable vendor who comes to the door. But they are all being forced to come into the system and I guess it's only a matter of time before they are eased out of their trades. I guess it's up to us to try and turn back the wheels of progress in this area - will it work? I honestly don't know.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

It's a wonderful hub with a wonderful premise. The small town where I was born has succumbed to the big Walmart, but, still, it's a Texas/Mexican border town with a large Mexican population and there are still many family businesses.

As a kid, I looked forward to the Hot Tamale vendor coming along our street and selling the home-made (delicious) tamales to people who ran out to buy them. They'd be wrapped in their corn husks, as tamales are, and then however many one bought would be wrapped in newspaper to keep them hot. That was so long ago that they were only a penny apiece! How good they tasted!

There's a bit of irony in this, though. People here are concerned that so many of our jobs are being outsourced to your parts of the world and it hurts our workers, many who are out of work. It would be better, possibly, if your own products made there by your workers were being imported here and our own, made by our workers might be exported there!

Seems that politicians and entrepreneurs don't easily see and consider the real effects of many decisions. Sad. These are "hot topics" right now with our national elections coming up this year! Maybe someone running for top office will 'see the light' and be able to make it work!

Good work here, shalini! I much agree!


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

A bit flatter, more like a tandoori roti. You have to eat it the same day. By second day it is tough as leather!


VioletSun profile image

VioletSun 4 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

Shalini, The photo of the bread looks very yummy! Can almost "taste" it. :) I like to support local business whenever I can. I personally prefer local businesses than big chains. Your hub is a good reminder for us all!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 4 years ago from India Author

Hi Nellianna - that was a nice peek into your memory lane! I am of the opinion that if we supported local business then any outsourcing, imports, etc would only be what we needed and couldn't produce. Like you and the problems of outsourcing vs the local available workforce, in India it happens with products. Coke/Pepsi vs the locally available fruit juices, McDonald's and KFC vs the local snacks. Slowly but surely the small farmer and the small vendors are being eased out by the large - and in the long run, it is the country that loses out because a lot of the profits find their way out of the country. That's why I feel it's necessary to think and buy and support local - everywhere in the world. If one labels it charity, then most definitely it should begin at home!

Hi Paraglider - yes, we have those too. The ones up there are soft and 'yeasty'.

Hi VioletSun - they are. You could always come by and taste them :)


LexiLaponte 4 years ago from Coastal California

I just signed up on the Hub today and was looking over the articles written by other "hubbers" when happened onto your article, which was an immediate interest "grabber" for me.

I live in a small beach community and the majority of those who live here are all about supporting the many local, grass roots business.

I 100% passionately agree with you on every aspect of your article.

I love the "Bread Man" and I am going to suggest it to a local baker where I live, especially since the primary mode of transportation in this area is by bicycle or by foot.

Thank you for such a Beautiful and Inspiring article!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

It's sad to see the local business man going out of business, it's years since we've had a milkman.

We always support the local business's as much as possible, very often they are no more expensive than the big stores.

I wish your bread man was local to us...

Thank you for sharing and voted up.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS

Speaking of "at home" - I used to bake all my own bread! That's not pertinent to this discussion of local businesses, but in a way, it's part of the drift away from the home scene, isn't it?

And, Shalini, what a pity that the imports there from here are such empty calories as carbonated sugary drinks and McDonald's, which replace the more healthy local choices there. The pervading wrongness is a glaring fact.

People need to recognize what is good and valuable where they are & take their personal responsibility in supporting it. Buying locally is one way to do it and establish it. I agree with you! The impact is multi-leveled.


Linda Compton profile image

Linda Compton 4 years ago from The Land of Enchantment

Dear Shalini,

Thank you for a wonderful hub. Your wisdom here is so powerful and true: "When we empower the microcosm, the macrocosm will automatically get better. Our positive actions with a local focus will only help us act better in a global sense."

And I am grateful to be able to connect with you via hubpages. I spent a month in India travelling and studying many, many years ago. Those timeless, precious memories continue to nourish and inspire me. In what part is your home? Namaste, Linda


quicksand profile image

quicksand 4 years ago

Hi Shal, looks like you are not one of those ladies who drives to work munching away, with one hand on the steering wheel and the other clutching a burgher! ... Cheers!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 4 years ago from UK

"local roots that need to be nourished". I am with you there for sure :-)


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

In a time when people are looking for "real" food, it seems as if your local bread man will attract more costumers. I hope so. What a wonderful business! There is nothing so delish as real bread. I just heard that in some cities in the US, people are selling fresh produce out of trucks like they did back in the old days.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 4 years ago from India Author

Hi LexiLaponte - welcome to HubPages! It's amazing how there are so many people who are in some way supporting this grassroots revolution. Here's to your baker doing more business with that bread man!

Hi Movie Master - yes, it is sad, isn't it? Maybe they belong to a less hurried way of life that we have today. But then again, maybe we will stop and slow down and welcome the milkman and breadman et al back into our lives. We still have a milkman who brings us our milk as soon as he milks his cattle. However, most people prefer to buy milk in a tetrapack :)

Nellianna - why am I not surprised? I'm sure the bread must have been delicious! I agree with you - one needs to actively support local business to feel the benefits on various levels.

Hi Linda - thank you for reading. I'm glad you travelled through India. We live in Pune - do drop by if you are in these parts. A hubber from France is visiting this month :)

Hello there quicksand - always great to see you. No, I don't eat and drive - I walk whenever I can and you can't eat and walk :D

Hi De Greek - thank you!

Hi Dolores - That spells hope. If only more people came out and sold their goods, imagine what a fresher, healthier world it would be!


Prabhat Ross 4 years ago

hi! staying in bustling busy delhi are dependent on mass-produced store-bought bread not the wonderful bread (with butter and honey) i used to have in my grandma's house in trivandrum 35-40 years back. Even now, i just have to close my eyes to remember the aroma of freshly baked wafting from the small bakery near her home. aaah...bliss!!


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 4 years ago from New York City

This hub is truly interesting, because I thought it was simply going to begin as a sort of religious spin on the "Our Daily Bread", phrase used in Sunday school mostly, and told during many church sermons.

As I continued reading further it began to unfold that this was a hub about the actual person or group of persons who are somewhat responsible for stopping the daily bread man from his humble existence as such a service to our local communities, and I agree with you in every way about the fact that people should support their local businesses.

This is something we all need to become more active in doing, but also we need to realize that the powers that be will work much harder at denying us all, with creating other issues stemming from agenda's we all have no control over.

That doesn't mean we should just give up and quit trying to make the changes we all need, unity is key and all these occupy movements are also proof of such, lets just hope there's something conducive to gain out of all this uproar, besides all the media monies being made to generate more news coverage on such things today. It also has pointed out many many other issues as well, indirectly that we all been facing today.

Fantastic hub, voted up for many obvious reasons.


R. J. Lefebvre 4 years ago

Shalini,

I wish the local venders were still present. On the commercial side you never really know what you are buying. I remember many years ago we used to buy our milk from a local farmer, a quality product we may never see again. Your hub took me back many years ago, not only we could buy local foods, we also knew our venders first hand. I'm looking forward to buying from farmers markets, hoping they are mostly organic.

Ronnie


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 4 years ago from India Author

Hi coz - oh, yes, with butter and honey.....bliss indeed! And the buns were to die for!

CloudExplorer - what a lovely name! - yes, all we need is unity. We the people have the numbers but maybe we just don't care enough to come together. If only we would! And if we did, if only something constructive came out of it!

Hi Ronnie - I agree with you - it's more than just the freshness of the produce - it's the camaraderie and the warmth of connectivity. If only....


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

You are writing at hubpages again? I have not received notice of this, but I am thrilled! And this hub... well, it puts things into beautiful perspective. I could copy that last paragraph and paste it on my mirror to brighten the gloomiest of political headlines. All we hear in the news lately is politics, politics, politics. Panic this, protest that. This hub puts power back where it belongs, despite the police state we seem to survive on a daily basis. LOVED it.

Oh! And as to the bread, well, my mouth is watering and I have a fresh loaf from a local bakery on my counter. Knife and butter coming up!!!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 4 years ago from India Author

Hi there Story! Thank you - it's always great to see you come by! I'm sure that bread is delicious - enjoy!


Dim Flaxenwick profile image

Dim Flaxenwick 4 years ago from Great Britain

I like to think the bread man will survive.

So much better than supermarket bread.

Great hub. Thank you, Shalini


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 4 years ago from India Author

Thank you Dim - always great to see you!


Joy56 profile image

Joy56 4 years ago

I so enjoyed that, thankyou.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 4 years ago from India Author

Thank you - great to see you around more on HP :)


phillippeengel profile image

phillippeengel 4 years ago

Your story is very intriguing, written in a candid, frank tone. I enjoyed your writing.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 4 years ago from India Author

Thank you, phillippeengel!


n.ansari 4 years ago

shlini your writeup is really thought provoking and down to earth.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 4 years ago from India Author

Thanks for coming by and reading, n.ansari


traslochimilano profile image

traslochimilano 4 years ago from USA

I enjoy here very much


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 4 years ago from India Author

Thank you for coming by and reading.

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