That jingoistic feeling again – this time about mileage!

Off late something has happened to me – I am suddenly taken up and appreciative, nay proud of my nation and her heritage and the culture and everything else. To  my cynical eye that is hardly surprising – everyone in the world today is fascinated by India and I heard a rather verifiable rumor that at some of the best B schools in the US – venture capitalist funds give you upto $200 million if you even so much as have an Indian girlfriend!

 Hmm… our time has come so said I and once long back a gentleman by the name Dr. Ravi Batra ( from his website: Dr. Ravi Batra, a professor of economics at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, is the author of five international bestsellers. He was the chairman of his department from 1977 to 1980. In October 1978, Batra was ranked third in a group of 46 "superstar economists" selected from all the American and Canadian universities by the learned journal Economic Inquiry. In 1990, the Italian prime minister awarded him a Medal of the Italian Senate for correctly predicting the downfall of Soviet communism.) had sort of prophesized it.  How nice that some prophesies come true – especially the Indian stories!

 Often economists have surmised that the developed countries do per person consume more of the world’s resources than their poorer developing nation brethren. I personally know this for true – in Scandinavia for example – people never ever switch of the lights – rather expensive and spendthrift of them one may remark considering the amounts of work and pollution that go in producing electricity. This is in my mind especially scandalous when you think that the Scandinavian nations enjoy (sort of) total sunlight for at least 4 months a year. In India if you recall some of the rather impoverished folk live at less than one american dollar a day (which is forty five to forty six Indian  rupees to the dollar as I type this) which kind of puts things in what I like to term a mixed metaphor kind of a perspective!

 Indians have given the world a lot of stuff like among things they have at America – the ‘desi’ – an Indian word which translates perhaps best into ‘from the country’! At the US it is a term used sometimes in derision which utra chic Indian Americans use to often look down upon the new comer pretenders but often representing also all that is pure and from the country (India). Indians however at the US are anything but country bumpkins (though they are often as Peter Sellers once did  in a film, portrayed thus) many of who though with what may be characterized as beginnings less than fortunate have often left a mark for all to see. There was once a list drawn up of people who matter the least in the world in spite of their holding positions of strength –  an Indian was there at no. 3 or 2, I believe!

 So yeah there are many success stories as there are failures of the Indian experience and a good way to find out or to be able to perhaps appreciate them is to read the travel advisories that other (developed) nations have out on their web sites. Most scare you with threats of every nature and I am not sure if anyone at England or Germany or Japan knows what Dengue but yeah some of the stuff that could happen here is scary and particularly offensive. Well as I said I am the one that is into trying to put a positive spin to it and often I wonder why? I think the reasons are many as are the many contradictions; hues; metaphors; imageries that is India. I don’t know if there can ever be any one picture or image that represents the humanity and culture that is Indian and many have though tried before. At Air India our national carrier the Maharajah was a symbol and a brand identity – a pity however that the airline was never perceived well otherwise and has its name etched in history with a horrendous air crash by sabotage

If I were to suggest a symbol I might even say the auto rickshaw – the tuk tuk as some of our other asian brethren call it. There is a reason why I say so and it is because any A list celebrity that ever visits our country (and my mind is immediately on this hollywood power couple that is camping out in a town near fair Mumbai  shooting a movie about a murdered journalist) wants to and does take a ride in this affable though possibly risky three wheeled automobile. I don not know if it is uniquely Indian as there is an Italian company also that does make these – sold more or less only into India – but there is something about the auto that does capture the mind of the itinerant westerner. Some have even purchased and shipped them back home and there is at least one professional ‘tuk tuk’ service at the UK. The english usually being people who are tickled pink about the idea of spending 20 quid (approximately four thousand rupees) on a joy ride

I recall recently in beautiful France people with concerns for their environment burnt parked SUVs around town. This was an occasion different from the other one where they burnt Paris to decry joblessness and racism. But burning an SUV sounds so mean – I mean if global warming be your thing – burning the damn thing is not really the best thing to do now, is it? Actually the SUVs fell foul of the greens due to their low mileage – some of their finest being 13 miles per gallon – or 5.44 kilometers to the liter. Come to think of it – at that kind of mileage even Indians would have burnt them – but more democratically by ensuring that the product never sells! An Indian built 3 ton 3 litre SUV for example helps you be green and mean at the same time spewing out approximately 27 mpg.


About Soumya
A technology enthusiast, forever enamored by all that it hath wrought and of course here is an attempt at making sense of it all and perhaps simplifying it!

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