New Delhi Notes

Well, there’s broadband access and cable modems in India alright, just not for me 😦 Since my parents are based out of Singapore at the moment, the only internet accessible PC is in the office. Here are some very quick notes that I’ll follow up on the 15th. The office manager isn’t too thrilled to give up his spot to me right now 🙂

First, after reading the responses to Bruce’s recent post, I thought I’d do an informal survey of my long suffering family and friends on the topic of India’s much touted 8% growth.

Some of the best answers include my aunt, a homemaker, who said " Well, we usually give away blankets and food to poor every year on your grandfather’s death anniversary and this year, we couldn’t because everyone seemed to already have blankets etc. We couldn’t find the "poor" to feed ". She also said that when she travelled abroad there really wasn’t anything that she wanted to buy "because you get everything here now". Her son, however, did pipe up and say there’s no Gap outlet yet (if anyone can put me in touch with right person in Gap,he wants to invest in bringing a Gap franchise to India. Thanks)

The sweeper who has a mobile phone in a country where until about 5 or 6 years ago, most middle class families didn’t have landlines. Once the urban "poor" aspired to a bicycle, a radio and wristwatch, now they look to cellphones and DVD players.

The ratio of cars to two wheelers has reversed – where they’d be maybe 4 or 5 cars in the apartment block’s parking lot, there are now closer to 25 or 30. And not just "people’s cars" either, but Chevrolets, Audi’s, Honda’s, Toyota’s and that infamous indicator of a developed nation – The SUV. What I did like about Delhi was that over the past decade the majority of public transport is now powered by eco friendly CNG (compressed natural gas)  instead of polluting diesel or petrol (gasoline) – this is the first time in Delhi my eyes havent’ burnt from the smog.

Retail outlets include brands like Gucci, Tissot, Baume-Mercier, Cartier, Louis Vuitton et al where once there were only local brands with the occasional Levi’s (1995 entry) or Benetton.

The wide variety of loans available where once there was no such thing as a mortgage and I recall getting one of the first credit cards to enter the country back in 1995 – loans for festivals, computers, study abroad, houses, home improvement, weddings etc

The latest issue of BusinessWorld has as it’s cover story the recent ceremony to present the 2005 BusinessWorld/NID design awards. Satish Gokhale received "Designer of the Year" and I noted Neil Foley, Pradyumna Vyas and others in the awards list. Nice to see friends and teachers sweep the categories.

Indian Airlines, long the step sister to Air India, has just announced a major rebranding exercise in anticipation of it’s IPO. I believe that the rebranding was undertaken by a local advertising agency instead of a branding or design firm. Interesting twist that I hope to have more details on this soon.

Local editions of Elle, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire jostle for mindshare with totally overhauled and redesigned issues of Femina – where once Femina taught women how to care for the home, now it focuses on topics like "managing dual income lifestyles" or "selecting the right bustier". Whaaa? 🙂 Ok, I’ll admit I’m probably stereotyping the indian ladies 🙂

Cheap street fashions from Thailand and Indonesia – trendy clothes for under $10 (USD) – stuff that costs me $20 in H&M I picked up here for $6 or $8 (Yes, my suitcase is bulging). The clothes the girls wear, I keep wanting to tell them to cover up, it’s winter.

Oh and I’ve yet to capture the guy on camera, and I’ve been keeping an eye out but McDonalds DELIVERS over here!!!! WTF??? I have great shot of the local MickeyD’s menu until they hustled me out of there telling me it’s patented (um, yeah right boys) – imagine your local indian restaurant menu tossed in a wok with a cheeseburger.

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