The Great Mall Mania is on. As soon as a big retail mall like Big Bazaar opens in a locality, swarms of consumers swoop on it like locusts in a cane field. TheIndian consumerist soul repressed for decades finds its nirvana in the wide array of choices and freebies. This modern day Kumbh Mela goes beyond shopping and has significant social impact. Jayesh and I plan to dig deep into the mall culture and come up with our views and findings the whole of this week.
So stay tuned all this week for this unique attempt at colloborative blogging.
Every day Kumbh Melas
I went to the newly opened Big Bazaar at Kandivali last Sunday and believe me, I was astounded. The place was as crowded as the Kumbh Melas. The queue length at the cash counters were longer than ones before the Madam Tussauds. How has our country suddenly changed from being one full of spiritual individauls who at the drop of a hat quoted ancient texts to scorn at the materialistic instincts of the rest of the world? Well, for the first time, so many of us can really afford it. But there are several other factors also. For instance, I think India is getting increasingly fashion conscious. Girls have stopped wearing their dad's shirts and trousers. Salwars are no more made for kangaroos but for homo sapiens. And the lettuce, broccoli and aspargus has made a quiet entry into the Indian kitchen. The malls also offer the highest ratio of attractive faces per square feet compared to any other public space in India - so "Lech Mans" and "Lech Crofts" can have a ball. And for some, its just the pleasure of passing time in a clean air-conditioned place without being questioned.
But given such attractive propositions and a limited number of malls in India, the existing malls are getting overcrowded and shopping is increasingly resembling an ordous attempt by an Andheri resident to get down from a Virar fast train. Chances of a stampede are increasing and the malls might easily be targeted by terrorosits. So i suggest taking a few drastic measures to make shopping a more pleasant experience. We should have expressways and traffic signals inside malls to allow faster navigation. No person should be allowed to shop more than 20Kg and for all bills above Rs 3000, one would have to get an income tax clearance. Also apartment dwellers can engage in community shopping by sending one representative from their flat to shop. May be some malls can adopt a "no stags allowed" policy during certain hours. Congestion taxes could be imposed in high visit areas. And like restaurants, people may be asked to book a space in advance before coming to the mall. Are these drastic measures? Well afterall, these malls are evoving into heritage monuments and are definitely emerging as institutes of national importance.
Relationships between the sexes have changed because of the coming of the malls. See the complete post on Booletpoint to see how 'malls they are a changin'.