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Showing posts from November, 2013

Caught Cochinitis?

The Gulf’s lunar hold on Kerala has been long and defining but Kochi’s race to become a “second Dubai” is sending the Malayali, ever chary despite his wanderlust, into a tizzy. The gold souks were always there but the cityscape is suddenly all-new: the once-quaint little coastal city is chock-a-block with hypermalls, fancy cars and designer boutiques. Its main artery, the MG Road, is crammed with ever more jewellery shops—as if gold can be panned right out of the Arabian Sea. And the parallel highway is hemmed in, even visually, by gigantic car showrooms, five-star hotels, fancy hospitals and what have you. These two lifelines culminate in that ultimate orgy of retailism, the Lulu Mall, touted as the “biggest” and fanciest mall in India.

As is the wont in Kerala, this obsessive consumerist behaviour has attracted its share of caustic comments from soc­­ial scientists who fear it’s causing a “cultural erosion” and “intellectual pov­erty”. One abiding symptom is the regularity with whic…