There was a time when we adored the aristocracy and their mere presence said it all. Blue blood was something that could not be transfused. The royals behaved as they should have. As if they owned kingdoms. This was a time that has long passed us by.
The India of today has a different breed of royals. Men and women, who are commoners but like Edward, have become great pretenders. Their brand of blue blood is what they make of it. Not what flows in their veins. And like the erstwhile royals, they have control over different kinds of kingdoms. Some run riot in cricket, others rule Bollywood, some try and run India by power brokerage while a few, very few, emerge from the ranks of industry. A vast majority made money by indulging in petty arbitrage of real estate and have given rise to a whole new way of conspicuous living in the age of excess.
Our extravagance has been ingeniously built to keep up with the Joneses. The humble pizza has grown more fanciful with newer and newer toppings. The even humbler dosa, once the vegetarian’s favourite, is now sporting an incredible number of variants, from meat to oysters and snails. Look at the interiors of homes, offices. Look at the amount of marble and granite we use when we do our interiors.
Have you seen how Indian weddings have grown in recent times? Have you noticed how much people have begun to spend on them, even in the smaller towns of India? Bollywood movies flaunt their budgets. Fashion designers show off their price tags. Malls, till recently, were parading luxury retail brands till the economic slowdown forced many of them to downsize or shut down. Cell phones are offering so much memory and so many more features that you can spend a decade learning how to use all of them. And social media is there to flaunt your new wardrobe, your new location and your lifestyle. That subconscious yearning to create your self identity by ostentatiousness.
Airports are increasingly looking like townships, offering everything from hotel rooms to spas to movie theatres to hundreds of dining options. Movie theatres offer you anything from dinner to a bed with warm blankets. Offices are no longer just workplaces. They have gyms, pool tables, basketball courts, libraries, auditoriums to watch movies, crèches for working mothers. Schools and colleges are sold on campuses rather than academics. . Look at the kids on TV. Look at models on the ramps. Look at clothes on the racks, fine dining menu cards, bathroom accessories, jewellery shop displays. Bookshops no longer sell just books. Cake shops no longer just sell cakes. In fact, wherever you look, new vertical townships are coming up without adequate infrastructure like electricity, roads, water, public transport to support them. The idea is simply to build, build, build. In the hope people and prosperity will grow at a fast enough pace to buy into them. Should we say it’s the Trump way of living ? Hope its not a blasphemy.
Just as life is no longer only about living and marriage is no longer just about love.
( Courtesy : Pritishda)