I am home
Yes. Iam on a customary 3-week yearly vacation and I am having fun in Chennai. Even though I come every year, this year I see a palpable difference in the lives of people here. They live in style. Well, I know when I say "people", I am talking about the growing middle class about whom we read in every newspaper, magazine, website etc. Cellphone is omnipresent. Try catching an aunty without holding one in her hand and lets not even talk about college students. Didn't I notice this last year? I think things have changed quite a bit in one year, I am sure.
All my cousins from teenagers to not-so-young people have cellphones, talk about cars all the time and they plan on a vacation abroad. I emphasise that the lifestyles of kids who are born to these parents are no different from those of the ones who are born in any other developed country. Thats heartening. Strollers, car-seats, Nestle formula, bathing station, changing table, pump...;-) hmmm.......
My mind rewound a little bit and was thinking of the days when we got new clothes only on Birthdays and Diwali. We waited for special occasions so that we could touch the feet of the elders in the family and add an additional 25 paise to our piggy bank. We had one toy each and the first borns were the only lucky ones to get first hand clothes and toys. These things dont happen anymore, not in the society my family and extended family, friends et al belong to. In no other country, d we find such a great divide between the "middle class" and the class below that. And I am very sure the middle class I belonged to when I was a kid was so very different.
With malls, boadband internet etc being present, if I had any doubts about which countrty I was actually in, they were dispelled when I opened the newspaper and saw Ganguly sporting a V sign for getting selected into the team on the front page of the Hindu. I yelled "I am Home - yes Tilo, I am home.:-)