Monday, 21 May, 2007

...a Few Dollars More!!

This happened a few days back. A very good friend of mine, a buddy from my high school days who currently works and lives in the US, is back in India for a short vacation. His last trip was three and a half years ago. We met up for dinner and stuff.

And he was talking about how things have become expensive in Bangalore. "A coffee for two for Rs. 115, that's almost four dollars!", and "our dinner bill is Rs.1800? That's about 45 dollars"...and so on. What I found surprising was not the fact that my friend found Bangalore expensive, but HOW he was going about explaining his point, i.e., by converting the rupee value back into dollars!

I still remember the days (not too many years ago) when I had friends from the US visiting me, my grandad's favourite pastime was to ask them how much things cost there, and figure out how many rupees that was by doing what we referred to as an 'into 42' (that's a multiplication of 42 - the conversion rate we worked with) - and marvel at how high things cost abroad. Just a few years down, the tables are turning, somewhat.

I'll concede that life in India, and in a place like Bangalore, is getting expensive to get through, to a point where comparisons can be made to the West. But here's the thing - where an American might think a bit to spend $60, we don't seem to think twice for shelling out close to Rs.3000 for something very similar. And we swipe our plastic just like anyone else. I guess one of the reasons we in India are unafraid to spend could be that a lot of the services we get are that much cheaper here than in the West (a haircut in the US is about $12, in India it is about Rs.50 at a really decent place), thereby leaving us with more cash to shell out. But that's just one reason, on one side of the argument. I'll leave it to the readers to do your own thing now. Go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yup. Disposable income is much higher in India than the west. Consider this: we pay close to 40% of our monthly salary on renting apartment.