Pulse Media


The fantasy of endless consumption


In an earlier day and age, the middle class' craving for consumption was satisfied by foreign trips, and by dowry. No more. No more do you have to wait for a rich uncle to return from London or Dubai with flashy goggles, a Walkman, and a bottle of Johnny Walker. No more is extortion through marriage the only way to acquire a Bajaj scooter of dubious fuel-efficiency. Not that these avenues, benign as well as benighted, are no longer in use. Just that these are no longer the only ones available. Your bank calls you on Diwali-eve to give you a pre-approved loan of half a million rupees. What for, you ask. The call centre employee at the other end is incredulous: "You mean don't want to buy anything?"

Debt servicing becomes a critical part of the monthly budget. Some cope, some don't. Those who do, trapeze from one high-paying job to the next higher-paying job. Consumption has to be kept up. The only way to do so is to ensure that you don't hang around in the same company too long. This is of course the very opposite of what our fathers and uncles believed in. In those Five Year Plan days, you joined a company and grew with it. Today, though, if you want to keep up with servicing your debt, fidelity to job is anathema.