Friday, August 26, 2005

Everything for export only?

Some time back, while gawking at the things in the kitchen accessories section of Debenhams (a slightly upmarket departmental store), I came across a cake tin - the sort of storage tin I'd been searching for, for quite a while. It was a good sized round one, made of stainless steel, with a high domed lid that had a transparent glass top and attached to the bottom plate with clips. It cost a whopping £40 (roughly 3,200 rupees) but it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. So I bought it.

This isnt about me being disappointed with it when I got home. No, it was still exactly what I'd wanted even after I unpacked it at home to admire it. What took me aback, however, was the printed tag that said "Made in India". Made in India! And to think I'd looked for precisely that kind of cake storage tin in the "hep" supermarkets of Madras and Hyderabad when I came over (two years in succession, and then again this year) but was it available? Was it heck! And now I know why - it's because the good quality items are reserved for markets abroad!

I dont know quite how much things have changed in the last 6-7 years in Madras (and other places in India too) but I cant help wondering if all the best things made in India are exported to the west, instead of being made available within the country to its citizens as well. Maybe it's all for export, maybe not.

I personally settle for the "not" - I remember from my (all-too-brief) time in Srinagar, quite a few moons ago, how the best apples grown in Kashmir were only for export, not available in the local markets. I dont suppose things would have been any different in the rest of India then, or are any different now, a good decade later. But I wish somebody could tell me I'm wrong. For once, that would make me happy.

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