An Indian for India
My India

I had visited Karur, a small town near Trichy, in Tamil Nadu . We had gone there for a relatives wedding. As all Indian weddings have it, we socialized, met up with long lost relatives and got to know of people whom I didn’t seem to remember. My mom was the only person in her element. She seemed to know everyone and anyone, and if she didn’t know anyone she would unabashedly go up to them, and introduce herself telling and complementing them on how beautiful they look in that saree. Now who would not want to be friends with someone who compliments you on the first time you meet! They chit chat and exchange views on everything from the petrol prices to how aunty’s blouse isn’t matching with her nail polish!

But that is not what we are going to discuss in this post. In our sea of boredom, my brother, my dad and myself decide we cannot hang around smiling with all 32 each time we see someone, laughing at all their jokes and whatever they say just grinning back in acceptance! We decide to go on a movie. There are only three theatres in Karur I think, two of them running the same movie. We decide to go for the 10.45 show and reach the theatre by 10.00. I stand in queue and get tickets for us. Each costing a handsome 100 ruppes. I am pretty shocked that it costs so much, even in Chennai the costliest ticket bought right off the counter is only Rs120. We stand in another queue to get in, which limits itself by the wall on one side and a metal railing on the other. On entering the building we notice another counter. Here in this one, a man takes the ticket that we have been given and hands us a real ticket which says Rs25! We were just fleeced! Actually, everyone was fleeced, the theatre ain’t exactly full, but it isn’t sparsely populated either. The theatre guys made a killing 400% margin on the ticket without paying a single paise as tax! But that isn’t what surprised me, what really knocked my rocker was that there were so many people buying tickets for Rs100 and 80 in a small weaver village in a third world country. I doubted whether their daily wage was that amount!

Then it dawned upon me, money is actually percolating into the smaller towns and villages and the people of our country are having more spending power than we imagined. We city folk think twice before spending on a hundred rupee ticket for a movie, even though our parents earn that, followed by a couple of zeros every month. So where do these people get this sort of money from, money where they can afford a three hour entertainment for a hundred rupees! I just guess they get most of their necessities taken care of. Free TV sets, rice at Rs2 per kilo, free education, free cycles, now even laptops for the toppers, the list goes on !

Later on the day we met a jeweler, he told us how his gold business was booming all year round and how he is doing very well. We asked him, if he really is doing so well in such a non metro why doesn’t he branch out into Chennai ? He coyly smiled at us and told us that the city folk hardly ever spend. People from the simplest of backgrounds walk into his shop and walk out with a kilogram of gold, all paid in full by cash.

Money is surely reaching the common man, so I don’t really think he is common any more. Rural India is consuming so many luxuries that it is quiet unbelievable. I saw fancy cars in Karur which I would find tough to spot in Chennai.

India really is growing, and growing fast. What we thought of the average Indian village is being redefined even as we speak. The only thing, we don’t get to know. The sad thing, less than 2% of the population pays income tax. With wealth percolating into the smaller towns it is high time we look at the bigger picture here. We are growing out of that shell and it is time we awake. What we wait for, is a leader.

=>> the stone with a heart
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  • The Support

    Should we have a Meeting every Saturday?