The Contrast

The Contrast

Rupee’s worst losing streak since Lehman crisis continues (Fri Jun 1, 2012, Reuters)

The aforementioned headline is sufficed to presume the degradation of the Indian economy. Our beloved motherland is also being hounded by ever increasing petrol prices and crumbling stock markets. It is appropriate to assume that the populace would be struggling to meet ends with the sky-rocketing prices of essential commodities.

Luckily, a parallel universe materialises at night. Young, bright and oblivious of the outrageously ineffective governance, Noida Sector 18 portrays the ‘Shining India’ and ‘development’ that government after government claims to exist. Swanky cars varying from BMWs and Audis to SUVs and sports cars, assorted with music ranging from genres as vast as Dub step and Hip hop to Punjabi classics are attributes of these nights.The night is loud and the costs are high, yet effortlessly borne at the drop of the hat. Conversations are fluent, drunk and even perplexing with topics ranging from extremely personal opinions to business dealings. Whenever digits are uttered, they are done so without any precaution or restraint, lakhs, crores, thousands are discussed amongst casual drags of cigarettes.

The ladies are impeccably dressed, some scantily with toned physiques and intoxicating eyes. The aura of self-righteousness coupled with imposed perfection is omnipresent. As the night descends from the post-meridiem to the ante-meridiem the crowds are quick to multiply, friends, colleagues, neighbours and familiar faces are everywhere.

The night has just begun and sales are at the diurnal high due to the outburst of consumers. Police personnel are the next entrants; the flashing beacon attracts attention but is a regular entity for the participants in this extravagant portrayal of opulence. One delves deeper into the night as the clock ticks into the 2 AM dread zone. The remainder Sector 18 market is an imagery of post-apocalyptic terrain with traces of human life and abundance of redundant infrastructure.

The ever pensive Pranab

The life in Noida seems to be concentrated to one corner of Sector 18 based around a few shops. The price of commodities is as steep as the deplorable quality of products. It is beyond the ambit of the sane mind to purchase those products in ‘broad daylight’ but the night is compelling and alluring, these products are subject to market forces of demand and are therefore supplied without any hesitation. The dearness of the products is also justified in hushed tones when there is certain familiarity with the laws of the city. No shops are permitted to function beyond 11:00 PM and the facilities provided at this hour of the night surely have a cost which is subject to be forfeited to the police. The night proceeds but the crowds rarely sparse out, the popular hookah is available at a premium cost in the comfort of the luxury cars. Sale of cigarettes is enough to strengthen the GDP of the country by Lakhs in a month alone. The neo-rich apparently carefree of the cost of life are seen racing down the 6 lane road at neck break speeds.

And yet there is turmoil in India our motherland over the rising fuel prices and the basic cost of subsistence. Fortuitously, to support the media clamour, a frail mother is seen on the streets. Her appearance and apparel are not subject to her will. Weak as an ailing patient she sits down at the end of the same footpath where the parallel universe is operating. She unpacks one piece of roti, breaks it into 2 for her two children one 4 years old and the other 2 years old. The concavity of her stomach evidently emphasises that she had not eaten for the past 4 days. The sole achievement for her life is restricted to being able to subsist throughout the day.

She blames the ever increasing price of commodities for her plight and slowly curls into slumber. Propitiously, the Deccan Herald very rightly says – Eurozone crisis is impacting India: FM (New Delhi, May 22 2012, The Deccan Herald).

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2 thoughts on “The Contrast

  1. I like the irony, the contrast.

    I like very much the description of what it’s like at and post midnight in Sector 18, Noida, about the women, the business meetings, the utterance of digits, the entry of Police etc
    .
    “The aura of self-righteousness coupled with imposed perfection is omnipresent. ” —> Nice!

    Although, as you know this is the ‘usually’ spoilt elite youth we got here and this represents a very small fraction of India; however huge quantum it may have to offer in terms of the moolah involved but the number of this lot is relatively low.

    The empty-stomach lady now represents the major part of what our ‘motherland’ comprises of.

    This was a good, brain-exercising read.

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