Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The irony of the Indian middle class.

The last Sunday was a very rainy one and we decided that the best dinner, along with watching 3 Idiots on TV, would be Pav Bhaji. This decided, I went to the ShiV Sagar just below our building where I am currently residing. Around 9 PM in the evening, this is possibly as crowded a place as any other can get! Atleast 4 groups of people, about 15 of them were waiting ouside, and about 50 odd were inside, having a nice Sunday evening dinner with family and friends.

Lots of stuff was being served on every table. Starting with spring rolls, to dosas, to veg garlic to what not, dinner consisted of an equally big variety. Right from the regular chole bhature, to ofcourse, the favorite- Pav bhaji, right down to a pizza, food was being ordered and enjoyed. Now that’s a perfect end to a weekend, for a slightly upper middle class family aint it?

Come Monday morning and I had to travel all the way to Thane taking that damn dreaded train. The 1st class people offers only the luxury of about 10 people less as compared to the general class, in a normal population of about 200 people. The crowded train itself speaks a story- rather, it poses a question. These very same people, who were enjoying a lovely LUXURIOUS, PREMIUM dinner yesterday, who probably spent 500 bucks watching Inception as well over the weekend, what are they doing yelling, sweating, quarelling, irritating in a very very crowded, (filthy if I may call) train?

Come out of the station, and you see many of the same people waiting in long queues for the B.E.S.T bus! Its raining, they are wet (half due to the sweat and half due to the rains), their clothes are messed up, and they still wanna wait for the bus? Many of them also share rickshaws.

All in all, when it comes to transport and other daily MANDATORY activities, this same middle class Indian seems to be very very price sensitive. He is ready to be late, ready to be dirty, ready to wait on crowded trains. But this same Rs 50 K per month earning man is not ready to trade money for comfort. And yet, his weekend expense, borne out of STRICTLY OPTIONAL activities, almost always exceeds that of the entire week!

What is this irony about the Indian middle class? Is this man so tired of saving and fighting over the entire week that he indulges expensively over the weekend? Or is he a careless and over spender, but makes up for the guilt by cutting expenses over the week? I guess it would be difficult to really know why this irony exists, but exist it does.

Time for me to grab my dinner  I got to go early for work tomorrow. And oh yeah, I go to take the train 

1 comment:

Rujuta said...

well, it costs an average 200 bucks a day by auto. Would i rather spend 500 bucks over the weekend enjoying with family or spend a 1000 travelling alone in an auto that is no better than a bus in terms of getting stuck in traffic and flying over potholes?

you earn - thats a chore, you spend, thats gotta be for pleasure