Of late, I hold my breath each time I go to Greater Kailash 1 M Block Market. Wonder why? Well it is because I shudder to think which shop will have pulled down its shutters and closed and whether it will yet again be replaced by a new jewelery shop. Over the past years we have seen this happen time and again. I have lost count of how many gold and silver shops there are in this market. I would not be surprised if the market score a century in the very near future. Last week I wanted to buy a pair of jeans from the Levis store and to my utter dismay I found the shutter down! I can bet we will have a new gold and diamond store. Once upon a very long time GK M block was your regular market where you found all your needs. We had meat shops, grocery shops, pastry shops, Indian sweet shops, a haberdasher, paint shops, book shops and so on. All of these have disappeared. I was also saddened that my favourite coffe and tea shop is now closed. I have heard we are on the way to getting a Starbucks.
The reason for all this change is of course the exponential rise of rents. The rents are so high that simply selling a couple of pair of shoes or branded clothes cannot meet the rent and running costs. The only ones who are still there are those who won their premises and have judiciously managed to rent part of the space at an astronomical amount and tucked themselves away in a corner. Others have preferred renting the entire building and living a more than comfortable early retirement. For me, GK Market has become and extremely restricted space with only a few of the old hands with whom I find myself reminiscing about the good old days.
For quite some time now I have been buying my 'foreign' groceries from a shop in another so called up market market. The place is run by a father and son duo whom I have got to know over the years. I like going there as it is not only a pleasant and personalised shopping experience but also the occasion of having a chat. Last time I went, I was surprised to see a lot of construction and remodelling. You see the basement had once been rented and the upper floor were used for storage. I asked the son what was happening and we answered that they had decided to redo the store and use the whole building. A brave move in the times of super markets and malls but I am confident that they will succeed. The son however told me that his father had toyed with the idea of renting the entire space and the option of a lucrative retirement. The son however felt that he did not want an easy life but one with challenges and hard work. This was because he felt, and I totally agreed, that it was important to set the right example to one's children. A father that ambles and wastes his time is no role model to his child. And yet this is what is happening among the rich and richer.
The son recounted and incident that happened in his shop a few days back. A father brought his son to the store and the child demanded a candy that was quite expensive. The father resisted and chided the child. After some negotiation the son quipped: Papa did you not earn enough money today! The shop owner was shocked and just retained himself from reacting, noblesse oblige! Needless to say, the father buckled under. Sadly this is the rule, not the exception. On a lighter note, my grand son, all of four
An old doctor friend from the rich and famous tribe was recently in Goa. He came across a group of lads busy gambling. The combined loss of the rich father's progeny was 1 crore or 10 Million rupees. But they laughed it off by saying that anyway it was papa's money and papa will give more.
This is nothing short of frightening! A whole generation of supposedly educated children who will never learn the importance of hard work and the pleasure of its rewards. I can never forget how my attitude to money changed when I got my first pay packet. In spite of having been brought up in extreme luxury and overabundant love, my parents were the first ones to push me to start earning soon after my 18th birthday. being proficient in French, I found casual employment at the French Section of All India Radio. The broadcast was from 12.20 am to 1 am. I had to reach by 9pm to translate the news and then read it past midnight. With the rather lackadaisical running of the AIR transport system I was fetched around 8pm and then driven around the city and dropped back around 2 am after another session of Delhi by night! The next morning I had to be at JNU at 8 am for my MA classes. For each news bulletin translated we got the princely sum of 50 rupees. I must admit that after this I never took money from my parents, something I so easily did earlier. In the western world that we so like to emulate, children leave their parental homes after they are 18. I can never forget the 'philosophy' of very dear friends of my parents who were very rich and have their children all they wanted. But come 18, you had to leave home and learn to fend for yourself. Any money you needed was lent to you with interest. If you did decide to stay home longer, then you paid for your stay. Even children of the richest families abroad babysit, clean homes, work at petrol stations and so on. I guess for rich Indian parents it would be infradig to have their kids do such menial tasks. We are prisoners to too many hand up and social taboos. So we are bringing up overgrown kids we feel we have to pamper and cosset for heaven knows how long. And they squander our money with impunity.
It is time things changed.