My ebook: Journeys with the caterpillar

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Journeys with the caterpillar: Travelling through the islands of Flores
and Sumba, Indonesia
" is available at
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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

There are malls and then there are the Gurgaon Malls

Like the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Gurgaon has got a mall mile which is the main attraction of the city- only difference being that in Washington, the magnificent mile consists of Smithsonian institutes and national monuments, while in Gurgaon, its a series of swanky shopping malls. But undoubtedly, Gurgaon is the mall capital of India. And Gurgaon malls are the only place in Delhi an its suburbs where people are friendly in an otherwise rough city.
A few differences can be noticed between a Gurgaon mall and malls in other parts of India like Mumbai. For one, there are mostly families roaming around in the Mumbai malls while the Gurgaon mall crowd consists of a lot more young groupies and lovebirds. Secondly, one can see a line of auto-rickshaws and taxis outside any Mumbai mall; in Gurgaon its only a swarm of private long-bodied cars.The Gurgaon malls also have the same stores in all the malls- a Pizza hut, a Reebok, a Levis etc.
But for all the promise, some malls are not being able to sustain themselves in Gurgaon. A big store- Arcus, has closed down. Many stores are also up for sale while some are offering big discounts on clearance sales. The mall crowd consisting predominantly of call centre workers is yet to afford a Rs3000 shirt or a Rs 500 meal on a regular basis. So what next for malls in India. One option is to go for the niche segments. So we expect malls that target only people above size 44, malls for stags, and malls only for window shopping which charge a small entry fee.

PS: The plight of some of our malls has been even covered in international media, the Time and the International Herald.

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