Four Stray Thoughts : November 10, 2009

Here are my Four Stray Thoughts for the day:

1. VVIP’s are a real nuisance: Last week, there was a sad news of how the Prime Minister’s cavalcade of cars prevented a needy person from getting medical aid in time. As a result of which, the man passed away. You see, the problem with these VIPs is that they block several roads to ensure that the Prime Minister has a smooth ride. Agreed that he is the Prime Minister but blocking roads and resulting in deaths of people is not something that the Prime Minister should add to his list of achievements. It is not just the PM but also several other VIPs who create this nuisance. Consider Mumbai. Most important spots in Mumbai are in South Mumbai and the entire stretch from the Airport to South Mumbai is at times cordoned off to allow these VIPs to zoom by. It is beyond my understanding why a helipad cannot be constructed to help these VIPs move and bring relief to thousands of commuters who anyways have to put up with a pitiable infrastructure and bumper to bumper traffic. A man losing his life is sad enough but the day is not far when the patience of certain people will simply snap and result in bigger casualties.

2. Brand obsession : If there ever was a ranking system for being “Brand obsessed”, Indians would rank right at the top. The obsession of being seeing around with a popular brand is more important than the item in possession. Designer Clothes, High end cars, shades, shoes, etc form the long list of items that need to have a a popular brand tag attached to them. The best way to do a sale in India is to declare in an advertisement that a popular brand is available for a 50% discount. Once you announce that, you can be assured that we will arrive by the truckload and pick it up. Even after 50%, most of these items are overpriced but then you get to say to your friends that you got a “very good deal” and the Nike shoes that you bought were only 6,000 and they were priced originally at 9,000. Wow, what a deal, your friends would announce and then true to the Nike slogan, you would really be flying in the air.

3. Circus! Circus! : After 3 weeks we finally had a government taking oath in Maharashtra. And this despite the fact that the parties had won a simple majority and should have got on with their business immediately. Their business? That is the problem. The business that you and me, as common people think is not the same as the business that our politicians can think of. So despite the fact that there was a majority, the plan was to corner the most plum of ministries so that the next 5 years can be milked to perfection. In fact what is most disturbing is that because of the clear mandate given to them, they can actually ignore the common people for the next 5 years easily and there is nothing that we will be able to do about it. With the ruckus created in the Assembly during the oath, we have ourselves to blame for having voted for them and thereby reducing us truly to an Animal Kingdom. All animals are equal but our political class animals are more equal than others.

4. Up! Up! and Away! : The prices of everyday items is rising by the minute. There have been so many price shocks that all of us have resigned to the fact that prices will keep spiraling and it is simply beyond our control. The poor on the street can no longer expect the rich to feed them simple “Daal and Chaawal” because as per the current prices, “Daal and Chaawal” is a premium dish now. Our Agriculture minister tells us that things will improve in the second quarter of year 2010. If that is true, then he should become an astrologer and not be a minister. What is surprising recently is that the prices of vegetables seem to be fluctuating like Financial Stocks with huge variations found within a week or so. Maybe it even makes sense to make a quick buck and stock up on potatoes and onions instead of Bank Fixed Deposits. Vendors of products like sandwiches, bread, South Indian snacks, etc have jacked up the prices blaming the increase in prices of the raw materials. One thing is for sure, even if we are to trust our Agriculture minister and assume that prices of grains, essentials will come down, there is no way prices of other byproducts like sandwiches, road side snacks, etc are going to be reduced by the vendors. They are here to stay and we will manage somehow. And we will get one more chance to boast about how resilient a society that we are.



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