Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Nothing is constant but Change...

Its was three months of staying in Bombay and people have asked me if I see any changes to the time I was last here (which was like 2 years ago). Yup, the changes sure are there, some for the positive and some for the negative.
  • The youth, or call it the next Gen (do I sound old?). I note this from many incidences I came across. The attitude is simply disrespectful. That too selective disrespect. This kid in the 18-20 age bracket was ordering his Happy Meal from Mc'Dees and was an example of rudeness in the manner he spoke with the girl taking his orders. And no, the girl was not at fault. Its high time we treat each individual as a human first.... and stop creating a divide as per the jobs we work! Enough of the "If you aint a doctor, an engineer or a banker, you aint good enough!!"

  • The traffic: Its got from bad to worse. Roads are cramped, and worse, more and more people break traffic rules... drive through signals etc. I used to hang outside the hospital when Mom was not well and sometimes just observe the traffic. What probably was a 2 lane road was running 4 lanes already. Immense amount of honking (hello, you are right in front of a hospital - but no one cares). The worst of the lot was I could see an ambulance about 50 meters away, siren on, flashing its lights stuck in traffic and no one giving way... and u cant blame them... here there are already 4 lanes of cars on a road which is meant for 2 lanes, how can you make way for an ambulance without space? Who suffers? We, the people. Because of? We, the people. On a positive note, the Western Express Highway is reasonably nice. Good traffic flow and you do manage to get to places fast. But leave the highway and tah-dah! Back to Square One.

  • Pollution: Its definitely up. Altho they say its less now compared to 9 months ago (thanks CNG) but I could still feel it. The air and the noise... everytime I was out I came back with a running nose. I should say I got used to it in a while... again on a positive note, the autos shifting to CNG etc. is thefirst step towards reducing pollution.

  • Cars: Lots of new models coming in... chevy, Toyota, Honda... already in and running! Porsche, BMW and Audi coming in soon. Benz getting in their SLK's. Lots of SUV's. WOW! I never thought India would see that... only question, where does one plan to drive a Porsche on crowded Mumbai roads?

  • Bank Loans: Anyone and everyone seems to be picking up a bank loan to buy property, cars etc. Ever since the entry of the better known names (ICICI, HDFC, HSBC etc.) getting a loan has never been simpler and paying in monthly installments is convenient.

  • Broadband: Its finally here... but the next step would be to make it dirt cheap and available to every household. Security threats will be very high after that.

  • Multiplexes and Malls: There is one almost around every corner. 6 years ago, saying I live near "Shoppers Stop" was cool. Now its like "What Shoppers Stop? That small little shopping complex?". Altho, the movie ticket prices for the night shows in the suburbs are exhorbitant.

  • Coffee Shops: I know, they were here 2 years ago. But the number has increased, altho they still charge you extra for every add-on. Where is Starbucks??? I heard there is one in Delhi? Barista is still not in the same league.

  • BPO's, Call Centers etc: They employ a lot of people and pay reasonably well. Start you off with about 8-12K and move you on to 20K+. As per my well placed sources, the moment a guy in India touches 20K he gets married.

  • Fitness and the Hip Look: The youth is into working out and staying in shape (which is good). Gone are the days where I used to see rather obese people who looked like they just got up from sleep, wore the first pair of clothes which fell out of the closet and walked into school (I was one of them - actually I am one of them. Mom just said she plans to give a quick crash course on eating, walking and dressing habits). Coming back to the point, walk into a grocery store and the the girl next to you will resemble someone who just came straight from a fashion show.

  • Prostitution: How much ever the non-profits and the other organizations try, its on the rise. There were a few nights when I walked home from Juhu (around the Mocha/JW side) and every corner had these ladies stare at you... and if you look around, all these big cars pull up to them. Sometimes I wonder, what could have led these girls to such an act?

  • Singles: Most of the girls I knew (I mean like old time buddies) are no longer single. Some engaged, some married. Actually, had I stayed on for another month I would have some 10 weddings to attend. No surprises if my next trip has me playing with their Kids!! Lesser singles I know...

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