buying power

May 12, 2008

it all burns down to three square meals a day, a warm blanket and a roof over the head.  but in this ultra-modern age, we hanker after a living that provides for a lifestyle rather than a life.

today’s 4-year old is no more a smiling, baby-talking, angelic, innocent, curious child.  she/he is an english speaking, elite-school going, class-differentiating, show-cased, parent-trained rude or sulking snob.

today’s guest is no more welcomed, received, fed, entertained and seen off after exchanging pleasantries and good wishes.  he/she is treated as a trespasser but is always welcome to ogle at the wealth, if any, and take back stories of the household’s affluence.

today’s man is not just a bread-winner or a house wife or a dependent or a provider.  he/she has a high-paying job. or is too royal to work.  he/she can afford to go to a many-star hotel and talk to the waiter like they are not fit to even touch the path they have walked upon.  he/she may be running a company with a turnover of crores, but cannot afford to wait a minute in the line at the buffet and has to shove you out of the way to reach that appetizer.

respect equates to an imported extravagant car, a cool cell phone and designer clothes.  prefereably income in anything but rupees.  if in rupees, then announce that the value of USD/euro/whatever is plummeting.

yes, today we have the buying power.  but we are not looking at what we are buying ourselves into.  i am not on a spree to criticize.  i am only making observations.  i myself am one of the observed.  i am an indian, residing abroad who yearns to come back to my homeland but will claim a foreign land as my home.  that is true.  it is also true that my blood is as red as an indian or an american.  globalization also means looking at the human race as one. 

in the midst of this, i also had a chance to observe this boy of probably 8 or 9 in age.  he steps into the elevator after me.  looks like a typical dravidian – dark, no fashion sense, rural.  he politely asks me “which floor?” as he is shutting the elevator door, but before i answer somebody else runs to the elevator; the kid hurries to open the door and lets him in.  i press my floor button in the meanwhile.  my floor comes and i say thank you as i step out.  he says “you are welcome”.  this boy – this boy is who i consider “hep” – polite, civil, elite, educated, evolved – unalterated and unpolluted humane child – his parents have reason to be proud.

the number of people who probably read my blog, i can count in one hand.  even those might have lost interest in this post had i started it with “food, clothing and shelter”.

such is our day.  it is all about embellishments.