Delhi Diary- In the middle

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Mr Rajasthani wears a red Polo-Shirt and his best pairs of jeans. Mrs Rajasthani wears a colorful kurti and asks me for help, while she tries to decide which pair of earrings she wants to wear. The children look splendid as well and so do Mr and Mrs Rajasthani senior. They are part of the so called Indian middle class. The Indian middle class does not drive down to Saket on a Sunday morning. They do not own a BMW or an Audi. They might dream of it, but on a Sunday morning we all get into the silver-gray Honda  Suzuki Maruti that is maybe the symbol of the Indian middle class. Mr and Mrs Rajasthani are not on their way to the glittery world of the downtown malls. Louis Vuitton or ESCADA is a brand name for them but nothing they spent their time with. We and with us many other families are leaving the town in direction of Badarpur and Faridabad.There new apartment blocks, office buildings and Malls are built and built and built. Many more Honda  Suzuki Marutis are about to be expected. The mall itself is not one of those all glass- and steel buildings you find everywhere from Berlin to Tokio. This is a mixture of cheap concrete and traditional bricks. Inside you do not find high- end brands, and people such as Mr and Mrs Rajasthani are not searching for luxury. They are looking for Beijing porcelain, for salt and pepper shakers in form of a dog and decent tea-cups, they compare prices of LED TV’s and toaster’s. They buy a Sujata blender and are not quite sure if they want to invest in a PHILIPS vacuum cleaner. They are looking for the ordinary. They don’t want to bargain, they want to choose. They don’t dream of Egyptian cotton but of colorful bed linen and ergonomic pillows. Their world is nearly 100 percent plastic- made, easy to clean and replaceable. Products that were featured on TV sell better and as so many other middle class families the Rajasthani’s have a subscription for TATA sky. They love Blacklist as much as A Blast from the Past. The mall has a movie theatre and dressed up as we are, we fit perfectly in all the other families that look exactly like us. The children get popcorn, the Rajasthani’s grilled sandwiches and everyone drinks Coke or Pepsi. 60 Rs a can is double the amount they would pay in the shop, but they can afford it and look happily down at their children, munching popcorn. The movie Baahubali is as historical as fantastic, a long first part of an epic, the hero is good-looking and utterly strong, same applies for the heroine, there is singing and dancing and even more dying on the battlefield. A beheaded man walks further for a short sequence, we see his head flying high above the sky and the audience applauds. But the audience you see is not blood-thirsty, but the Indian middle-class present in the cinema, loves winners, enjoys clear morales and is in favor of those, who are straight-forward and able to decide quickly as the muscled hero. They do not only find joy in the movie but pride as well. Indian cinema is no longer to be reduced on the same, same but different romantic comedies the West associates with Bollywood, but able to create a cinematographic vision of its own including special effects and all other possible tantrum. India can show its face to the world. The second part will be released in 2016 and is already eagerly awaited. Mr and Mrs Rajasthani are convinced they did not only take me to the movies but made me see India’s ability to keep up step with the West. Afterwards we are buying Nutella in big jars- a special offer. Mr Rajasthani is happy. The children are hungry and KFC is the place to go. They love Pizza Hut as well but the OMG burger is irresistible. Now the children are happy too. The Indian Middle classes are not fasting on Tuesdays or Thursdays anymore, they eat meat and they do so nearly every day. They love Western fast-food chains but this day would not feel right if we and with us many other middle-class families would not go to „Haldiram“ for a snack. The atmosphere is sober, the restaurants all look like an American diner, are self-service and popular. We sip sweet badam milk, the children are having kulfi the Rajasthani’s enjoy their masala dosa. Later we will get sweets to take home. „Life is as good as it get’s“, says Mr Rajasthani between two bites of flattened bread and a chickpea dip. I am sure everyone around us would heartily agree.

2 thoughts on “Delhi Diary- In the middle

  1. A powerful description here of the differences between classes and the satisfactions of the middle class. The store sounds like our Walmarts and of course the fast food is familiar. Do you agree that the life you shared that day is as good as it gets?

  2. Well it is difficult and no I do not agree at all, it is not a life, it is not my life, I am more a visitor and I love and respect the Rajasthanis, who are the most warmhearted people you can possibly find. But I am convinced that Walmart is not able to make your life a fulfilled one and the Indian middle class faces the challenge to decide eat morales and concepts they do want to integrate into their life.

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