India in general and Bangalore in particular is undergoing a huge metamorphosis. It is a time when almost everybody is getting paid handsomely. The poor are moving to the category of “Middle class”. The lower middle class is moving to upper middle class. The upper middle class is moving to the category of “Rich.”
It is no wonder that there has been an enormous increase in luxurious vehicles on the road because the common man now can afford it. The jazzy bikes, the expensive cars, the latest mobile phones, ipods and other gizmos are all on the rise.
A couple of years ago, my north Indian friends working in Bangalore used to book train tickets 60 days in advance. And used to complain when they couldn’t get tickets if they didn’t book exactly 60 days in advance. Now none of my north Indian friends ever go in train. Thanks to Jet, Kingfisher and Air Deccan.
Come to think of it, very few of them ever travel in BMTC local buses. Autorickshaws or taxis are standard mode of transportation if there are no private vehicles.
Not that BMTC local buses are any cheaper. The BMTC Volvo buses, I am sure will soon ply only with Rs 50 denominations. Autorickshaws too have started charging exorbitantly, at almost about Rs 7 per kilometer, the highest in any mode of transportation. And on top of this, its double the rate, if the time is over 9:30 pm. Or if its raining.
The fast food industry has doubled its rates in a very short span of time. The land rates have tripled. In terms of properties, there doesn’t seem to be any value to anything less than 40 lakhs.
The currency is now only in denominations of Rs 10. So much so that beggars return back any coins given to them as offerings. The dakshina given to temple priests too are in huge currencies.
A decade ago when the Oberoi came to Bangalore, a coffee costed Rs 100. It was big news everywhere. Now, it’s a common thing to have a 100-buck coffee in Barista. Or something similar in Café Coffee Day.
Why not? When the upper middle class moves higher up, the lower middle class would want to move up too. Everyone wants more pay. The employee wants more pay from employer and the employer wants more pay from its clients. When there are people willing to pay more, why prefer those who cannot afford.
In the midst of all this, there are old-timers who still get the same pension in a now-practically-unlivable Bangalore who cannot even afford the maid servants. And old-timers cannot live without maid servants considering all the house-cleaning, dish-washing and clothes-washing that needs to be done in the same traditional manner. And it is then that it all made sense to me when my grandma said….
“Everybody is becoming rich....except us!”