20 September, 2020

Karma Chameleon

Karma Chameleon
"You have come from India? Then I will take you to the most expensive diamond store in Durban," suggested the taxi driver. Ten years ago, the conversation would have gone as follows: "You have come from India? Then I will take you to the best cut-price shop in town." We have come a long way since those bad, old days of chronic hunger, cheap drugs, kama sutra, exotic curry, instant nirvana image. There has been a tectonic transformation in the way the international community looks at us in 2006. Outlook’s opinion poll mirrors the changed perception dramatically. Present-day India is seen as a rising, confident superpower challenging China, the United States and France. Its well-publicised strength is manifested in crazy real estate prices, rich middle class, glitzy malls, software domination and L.N. Mittal. We’ve never been so admired. The world is at our feet.

But hang on. There is another India the foreign visitor meets as he departs our improving airports. The journey to the 5-star hotel may have been sanitised, courtesy better roads and the absence of defecating...



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