Harrycool

November 18, 2009

Its just too much

Filed under: Environment — Tags: , , — HarryCool @ 1:09 am

Very very very very well written!

Its just too much
Pritish Nandy – The Times of India, Nov 17 2009

We live in the Age of Excess and no one knows this better than the Americans. The recession may have hurt them and toned down their extravagance a bit, but they are still a nation that consumes more and lives a richer, more flamboyant lifestyle than any other nation in the world. As any environmentalist or social scientist will tell you disapprovingly, the world cant afford another America. It will simply collapse.

But even though no one can quite match Americas excess, the world aspires to it. They see it as development, growth, progress. Thats why every nation, including us and our neighbours, the Chinese frugal by history and instinct now want to become modern by emulating the Great American Dream. You see it in all that we do these days. We are raising 100-storey towers even though we know how unreliable our builders are in terms of using the right building material and technology to ensure their safety and security.

Wherever you look, new vertical townships are coming up without adequate infrastructure like electricity, roads, water, public transport to support them. The idea is simply to build, build, build, in the hope people and prosperity will grow at a fast enough pace to buy into them. Thats why we measure our success and well-being in terms of GDP growth without worrying about the price we pay for it.

Look at simple things and you will know exactly what i mean. The humble pizza has grown more fanciful. The even humbler dosa, once the vegetarians favourite, is now sporting an incredible number of variants, from meat to oysters and snails. The poor mans rolls are becoming bigger, fatter, with more bizarre fillings. Nothings what it once was.
Its not just food. Have you seen how Indian weddings have grown in recent times Have you noticed how much people have begun to spend on them, even in the smaller towns of India Bollywood movies flaunt their budgets. Fashion designers show off their price tags. Malls, till recently, were parading luxury retail brands till the economic slowdown forced many of them to downsize or shut down. Even magazines have become fatter than they ever were. Computers and cellphones are offering so much memory and so many more features that you can spend a decade learning how to use all of them.

Airports are increasingly looking like townships, offering everything from hotel rooms to spas to movie theatres to hundreds of dining options. Movie theatres offer you anything from dinner to a bed with warm blankets . Offices are no longer just workplaces. They have gyms, pool tables , basketball courts, libraries, auditoriums to watch movies, and creches for working mothers.

Choice is the argument proffered for excess . But does excess really help you make a better choice or does it make it tougher, so much so that we have to hire middlemen for assistance How many of us can file our income tax returns on our own or see our assessment through How many can any more take a simple OTC drug and hope to cure a flu attack How many can decide which life insurance plan to buy

Whats the result Even our most basic needs are getting more complex. Our expectations are rising and we are killing ourselves to meet these expectations . Excess is taking over our lives. Look at the kids on TV. Look at models on the ramps. Look at clothes on the racks, fine dining menu cards, bathroom accessories , jewellery shop displays. Bookshops no longer sell just books. Cake shops no longer just sell cakes. Music shops no longer sell just music. Just as life is no longer only about living and marriage is no longer just about love. That would sound terribly boring, wouldnt it in todays larger than life world

The writer is a media entrepreneur.

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