how green is green?

September 21, 2009
Green is become trendy now. People want to think green, see green and demonstrate green in their behavior. They want to save Mother Earth from Catastrophe, from Global warming, from Abrupt Climate Change. They want to conserve wildlife, they are bothered about endangered species (more so than some of the comrades of their own species).
They buy ITC’s classmate notebooks packed and double packed in polythene sheets! They prefer Euro IV standard complaint but still affordable cars, not realising that the rest of the 1.3 billion too would do the same, flooding and crippling the already cramped Indian cities and pushing the fuel consumption to never-before limits. They also want to make business plans on renewable energy when they dont give a damn about the tubelights, fans which keep running 24×7 irrespective of whether they are in their rooms or not and the laptops which somehow always “stands by” them as if shutting the laptops down will make their owners choke and die of suffocation!
Toyota, Herohonda and many other companies have campaigns running on “Green”. Particularly impressive is the one where orlanda bloom endorses the 2008 Toyota corolla Altis positioned for the Asian markets. How sweet ah! you see that ad, its so greeny and greeny, you feel ‘I will buy that car and be a green man/woman’ 😛 I mean environmental-friendly-man/woman or whatever!’

‘Green’ has come to be perceived trendy lately. People want to think green, see green and voice green through their behavior. They want to save Mother Earth from Catastrophe, from Global warming, from Abrupt Climate Change. They want to conserve wildlife, they are bothered about endangered species (more so than about some of their own species).

They buy ITC’s classmate notebooks packed and double packed in polythene sheets! They prefer Euro IV standard complaint ‘middle-class’ cars, not realising that the rest of the 1.3 billion too would do the same, flooding and crippling the already cramped Indian cities and pushing the fuel consumption to never-before limits. They also want to make business plans on renewable energy while at the same time, they dont give a damn about the tubelights, fans which keep running 24×7, the laptops which somehow always “stands by”, irrespective of whether they are in or out of their residences.

Toyota, Herohonda and many other companies have campaigns running on “Green”. Particularly impressive is the one where orlanda bloom endorses the 2008 Toyota corolla Altis positioned for the Asian markets. How sweet ah! you see that ad, its so greeny, you feel ‘I will buy that car and be a green man/woman’. I mean environmental-friendly-man/woman or whatever!

Advertisements

The joke – Saravana Bavan and me

September 21, 2009
The joke – Saravana Bavan and me
30 bugs is what I normally spend for a meal just before a train journey. The irctc catering’s egg biriyani is usually the cuisine I prefer 🙂 This time I spent 100 that too for eating almost less than half of that egg biriyani.
Thanks to my friend who told me that departure time is 30 minutes earlier than the actual (so confident was he about my puctuality), I had time to kill. So I went to this air-conditioned saravana bavan in Chennai Central. It is one of the busiest centres of this famous south indian  restaurant chain. I have always fantasized sitting in one of those ‘powerful’ seats. By powerful I mean those inside-facing seats of the tables at the centre of the edges of the 400 sq. feet dining area. You lay back and you can have such a ‘complete’ view of the entire gamut of activities of the restaurant and the people in it.
Vegetable biriyani (deliciously tasty, little in quantity to ensure second order) and curd rice  was all I ate. The quantity, it has to be emphasized, was so restricted, especially for the curd rice. It was just a small cup of rice.
But was it worth the money? I would say yes. The aroma of dry fruits and the ghee fried cashew,  pieces of fruits all mixed in the correct proportion, I must say it was heaven. Listening to the latest tamil hits from my new Nokia express music phone with the head sets on, I relished each and every bit of the ‘mini-lunch’. I was then an obedient consumer!

30 bucks is what I normally spend for a meal just before a train journey. The irctc catering’s egg biriyani is usually the cuisine I prefer 🙂 This time I spent 100 that too for eating almost less than half of that egg biriyani.

Thanks to my friend who told me that departure time is 30 minutes earlier than the actual (so confident was he about my puctuality), I had time to kill. So I went to this air-conditioned saravana bavan in Chennai Central. It is one of the busiest centres of this famous south indian  restaurant chain. I have always fantasized sitting in one of those ‘powerful’ seats. By powerful I mean those inside-facing seats at the tables in the centre of the edges of the 400 sq. feet dining area. You lay back and you can have such a ‘complete’ view of the entire gamut of activities hapening across the restaurant and the people in it.

Vegetable biriyani (deliciously tasty, little in quantity to ensure second order) and curd rice  was all I ate. The quantity, it has to be emphasized, was so restricted, especially for the curd rice. It was just a small cup of rice.

But was it worth the money? I would say yes. The aroma of dry fruits and the ghee fried cashew,  pieces of fruits all mixed in the correct proportion, I must say it was heaven. Listening to the latest tamil hits from my new Nokia express music phone with the head sets on, I relished each and every bit of the ‘mini-lunch’. I was then a marketers’ consumer!

Consumption on the street, of the street…

September 21, 2009
The place is midway from vellore to cuddalore (my hometown). It’s actually a bus station, if that’s what we call a place where buses start, end or break their journeys.
But if we look closer, we would see a cauldron of numerous other micro-activities through which many earn and spend their daily bread. An extreme form of one such activity is why this is being written here.
A matter of 10 minutes from the time a bus vacated a platform to the time the next bus got parked there, was what a family needed to complete their ‘mini-circus’ in an attempt to enthuse people to donate a few pennies. The vacated platform with two fully loaded and idling buses on the two adjoining platforms, one could see, was like a downscaled Indian version of the colloseum.
It is a family living on the streets – a girl in her late teens with a one-year old son in her lap, a three-year old daughter and a 20 year old looking man, all with equally battered skin and emotion-less faces – carrying out a ritual. The man, the master of the family who has been successfully leading his family on the streets looked more like directing the circus rather than being part of it,
Agreed, we see thousands of such families across the country. But what makes this family different is the coldness with which they, especially the girl and her daughter, performed or were made to perform the acts of the ritual. The ‘master’ himself seemed to have little role in the enaction, other than using his feet to kick the poor 3 year old into doing multiple somersaults in the air, as she kept sobbing and muttering, what it occurred to me, like a mourning of the murder of her childhood.
The ‘show’ seemed to pay off. The collection was good in the end, much to the relief of almost everyone who watched the cold ritual. An emotional person like me would have, impulsively, wanted to go down to the man and say. “Hey take this 100 bugs, atleast don’t make your daughter do that again” But, a second introspection, he/she would know the response himself/herself. Simply put and coldly thought, that is the USP of the show the man is directing!

The place is midway from vellore to cuddalore (my hometown). It’s actually a bus station, if that’s what we call a place where buses start, end or break their journeys.

But if we look closer, we would see a cauldron of numerous other micro-activities through which many earn and spend their daily bread. An extreme form of one such activity is why this is being written here.

A matter of 10 minutes from the time a bus vacated a platform to the time the next bus got parked there, was what a family needed to complete their ‘mini-circus’ in an attempt to enthuse people to donate a few pennies. The vacated platform with two fully loaded and idling buses on the two adjoining platforms, one could see, was like a downscaled Indian version of the colloseum.

It is a family living on the streets – a girl in her late teens with a one-year old son in her lap, a three-year old daughter and a 20 year old looking man, all with equally battered skin and emotion-less faces – carrying out a ritual. The man, the master of the family who has been successfully leading his family on the streets looked more like directing the circus rather than being part of it.

Agreed, we see thousands of such families across the country. But what makes this family different is the coldness with which they, especially the girl and her daughter, performed or were made to perform the acts of the ritual. The ‘master’ himself seemed to have little role in the enaction, other than using his feet to kick the poor 3 year old into doing multiple somersaults in the air, as she kept sobbing and muttering, what it occurred to me, like a mourning of the murder of her childhood.

The ‘show’ seemed to pay off. The collection was good in the end, much to the relief of almost everyone who watched the cold ritual. An emotional person like me would have, impulsively, wanted to go down to the man and say. “Hey take this 100 bugs, atleast don’t make your daughter do that again” But, a second introspection, he/she would know the response himself/herself. Simply put and coldly thought, that is the USP of the show the man is directing!

What women wear..

July 24, 2009

Datamonitor® estimates that 41.7% of the womenswear market in India is non-traditional, informal outdoor wear. And the 100 million strong young women population (18-25) in India build their wish lists around getting into newer and newer of these ‘in’ outfits. Well I am not suggesting some inferential marvel like ‘young women today increasingly prefer western style dresses’- maybe, maybe not. Infact, the fashion industry has already seen huge money by introducing a breed of mixed (Indo-western) or to be precise ‘confused’ kinds of dresses.

I can hear you people yelling at me “So? What is the point?” The point: a ‘common’ Indian female is caught in the dilemma between being the traditional ‘kandhani’ girl and following her page 3 role models who ‘hang out’ with ever converging necklines and hemlines! (The IIM Kampus trend too is fast catching up with the latter). No, I am not being a hypocrite here. And I am not being cynical to either concept.  Even I like hanging out with ‘forward’ girls. So long live receding hemlines! And the traditional homely types too!!

I have a friend who has her roots from one of the most conservative societies of India. She has been working, and so staying independently, in one of the most sophisticated cities of India for quite some time now. Generally I admire her dressing sense. She carries even the most sober of a suit so well that it looks great. But I am yet to understand her obsession towards anything which is ‘sleeveless’. But the irony – rarely does she buy one. When I ask her about this madness, she says its ‘way too cooler’ for her to wear sleeveless. And once she surprisingly added that she likes being with me because she thinks I am kind of cool. (I know… Sorry… But atleast that’s what she thinks…) Now that I have said all this, I pray my friend never ever gets to read this post.

My friend and millions of other young women in India have perceptual boundaries drawn about their personalities. The extent of these boundaries depends on their ‘coolness quotients’. For those with high levels of this quotient (say being an IIM grad) the boundaries could be broader.  But generally these boundaries are pretty narrowly defined. A  significant component of this constrained personality is the dress they wear. Sometimes, such an ‘out-of-the-usual’ dressing could accompany a break-free occasion:

There are not many discotheques in Jalandhar – the city of my graduation college. And when we planned to go to one in my third year of graduation, it was a first time for almost all of us. The way girls in our gang came dressed up for the day hinted at what was in store for us. I never thought about this then, but that was the day they were ‘breaking free’! They were crossing their perceptual boundaries.

A day will come, when a discussion like this won’t make sense to anyone at all. That is when these seemingly resistant boundaries rooted to the culture which was once strictly Indian, will dissolve and stand no more. That day is not very far!