Sunday, February 5, 2012

The walls come tumbling down....

or will they in India?

But first I must transgress. The title of this blog is, of course, a song by The Style Council led by Paul Weller, previously of The Jam. Paul Weller was my working class hero, songs of class struggles in the UK back in the day. So what of Mr Weller today? I had to investigate -  still fighting for the cause? No, he has had a complex personal life, 7 kids to 4 different ladies - his most recent offspring at age 53, twins with his 25 year old squeeze. The google image I came upon -  he and his latest, fallen prostrate in a drunken heap on a street corner in Praque.. Maybe at twenty odd, but at fifty plus, please..... How the mighty fall or how one's childhood idols can disappoint. But I guess I still have Bono.....

India has seemed to us a myriad of walls both physical and invisible (social, economic, educational) - around our complex, around Infosys, partitioning the haves and have nots, the calm and the chaotic, the finished and the half undone. The biggest yet around Bangalore's newest, biggest, finest and most western looking shopping mall - Pheonix Market Mall.

Shopping being an national Indian pastime, the Malls being air conditioned and clean, disposable income in urban areas sky rocketing, the influx of western fashion, the increase of women in the work place (women being more prolific shoppers and spenders than men!!) ........and shopping Malls seem to be opening all over Bangalore. The latest, the Pheonix Market Mall recently opened in Whitefield, a very up market ex-pat area in Bangalore.

Last weekend Simon, Ads and I went to check it out. The first thing we noticed was not the deluge of western stores but the lack of people. By Indian standards the place was a ghost town! The western stores having brought with them western plus import duty prices!!

This whole place was so spacious and up market - even by American standards. It sort of felt very strange, familiar yes, but not in the right place - if that makes sense! Lots of entertainment for the kids, places to eat (even CPK). To me, somehow these western influxes of wealth, excess and convenience seem sort of unnecessarily flashy, building yet  more economic and social walls - but I guess they also provide jobs and bring money into the country.

After we had had our fill, with Ads and Simon in a shopping mall that didn't take very long we returned to India! A few pics (not very good as the short cut Simon decided to take was a rather adventurous long cut!!) from our drive home. I'm sure you can spot a few differences from those taken inside the Mall walls!
 Yes - this is the temporary road while the flyover is being built.

Bit of a jumbled blog but the in your face comparisons in India between the "haves" and "have nots" does not sit well. Some times its a hard place to live. Maybe that's what drove Paul Weller to drink and debauchery! I have just down loaded some Style Council songs I haven't listened for years and they still tell a story.

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