Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Impressions of India - 2011

Bangalore is a much nicer city than Chennai. Lots of greenery and remnants of it's old and romantic past- parks, man made lakes and old structures reminiscent of colonial times. Sadly the old is giving way to the new. Its airport does Bangalore proud and is testament to what just a few years of industrial advancement can do. You could easily imagine yourself in an airport in the developed world except you can buy paneer katti roll and biryani at the food court. The perfect world of all things for any Indian. And the toilets, the signature give away, are maintained to western standards (at least to date). And oh yes, did I mention that the books and magazines cry out to be bought by any entrepreneur worth his or her salt. There is that irrepressible energy in the step of every young man and woman in this crowd - a new class of business traveler. I am eavesdropping on conversations where words like rfps, competitors, profitability, liquidity and green fields are liberally sprinkled in the language of this new breed. People are in a constant state of distraction, staring at or speaking into their smart phones or browsing or working on laptops. Whatever their preoccupation, they wear the burdens of their toil with pride. They are in that in between space where hope keeps them in suspended animation and "burn out" has been successfully held at bay! Another brand of the air passenger is the 50s home-maker, apparently intrepid, airing dirty laundry for all to hear while she conducts lengthy inane conversations on her smart phone. Her voice is raised as if to elevate the level of her discourse in this fashion. Her primary object is to not let that phone remain idle in so many wasted minutes of silence. Yet another sign of people grasping life in fistfuls and making the most of their device, the unlimited free minutes and their loquaciousness. Bengaluru airport offers a microcosm of business and private india demonstrating how mobile technology has been leveraged to make deals, personal connections and plain vacuous conversation. I like this India a lot, notwithstanding that it leaves behind in the dust most of India. They survive sniffing on the entrails left behind by the careless wealthy believing one day that it will be their turn. Little do they know that there are millions like them waiting with mouths open to taste the trickle.