Saturday, December 05, 2009

Here’s Looking at You, 2009 – Part III

The saga continues…. I don't know what 2009 had done to me to be so nostalgic, not wanting to let it go, not ominous, because I am not a superstitious type. Nah! So here goes my list of things that have changed, very droll, very self-serving cud-chewing type of thing, really. In a world of calloused sentiments that have turned into extremists warts, sour grapes of the un-fermentable variety, I am a softy with a core that refuses to develop a hard exterior, the hard kernel that I talked about in my first post, the one that started this "Here's looking at 2009" stuff. (Actually "here's looking at you kid" was spoken by Bogart's character Rick to Ingrid Bergman in "Casablanca", a film I loved and consider a classic.)

What Has Changed

The markets aren't stable anymore, we can expect more shocks, wild swings (Disclosure: I was earlier in financial journalism). The huge financial bubbles that hung over the markets haven't been deflated, not yet, they are still full of hot air waiting to be blown, one day, soon.

The job situation has changed. No longer are companies hiring for the heck of it and putting recruits "on the bench" but they are making do with the downsized, dwarfed drones who helped them pull through the recession.

The mall culture has failed in India. Most mall projects are finding it hard to sustain, even, take off. Long live the street corner kirana store. They combine hard business acumen that malls can't replicate, however much they try.

Outsourcing is on the way out. Outsourcing means greed and it was meant to destroy young men's/women's careers. Most of the young people I know who took to outsourcing are out of it and learning things like underwater welding (yeah!) as a solid way to make a living.

What Hasn't Changed

People continue to be callous about global warming. "Yeh global warming kya hai," asks Marxist thinker Kuriachen Kuriakose. "Another publicity stunt by the imperialists hegemonies of the west? They need a firm whack on their behinds for spreading canards such as this."

Slums continue to grow in Bombay in spite of the slum re-development program of the government. These new slums are situated just outside the high-rise free-flats created by the government for the poor in exchange for their tin hovels. Take a train from Vashi to Victoria Terminus and look to your right before Mankhurd station and you can see the steady progress of slums – another Dharavi in the making.

The rich are growing richer and the poor, well, poorer. In the US the number of millionaires doubled between the nineteen nineties and two thousand, while in China the number of dollar millionaires is about to double. In India I am sure it is set to triple.

Enough griping for the day. More anon!

1 comment:

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