Eazy Foreign Languages

This blog is about German and French Language in Vijayawada. Articles, poems, songs and experiences of poolabala

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mall culture in India

Mall culture

Deals in Foreign brands, rules Indian minds.
A slow poison that bites into our value system.

Spanish Macarena or Asejere Las ketchup or Albina Casablanca, or Beyonce diva  or some other Rock, Jazz, Pop or even mix of world music – Middle Eastern, Arabic, French or gypsy welcomes you into an exotic world of extravagantly emblazoned interiors, the walls bedecked giant size posters of half naked supermodels Adriana Lima Beatriz Barros, Laetitia  casta or Alessandra intoxicates your senses and literally  transports you into a tinsel world. In the fairy land of giant size images you feel like a Lilliputian. Tommy Hilfiger, Swatch, Arrow, Louis Vuitton and Nike. There is no room for Gandhi or Abdul Kalam. A mall can never mind or remind its customers of Gandhi. So forget about them. Even you had better forget about Indian culture. Shopping malls are centers for disseminating foreign culture. The teenagers in low-cut jeans hang out in groups, cappuccino is sold at kiosks. Try to feel like a reckless looking child in the poster with spiky hair and guitar in hand. Or wear his clothes to share his feelings. A mall has none of the features of Indian. McDonald’s, Lacoste, Pizza Hut, Benetton, Subway, Marks & Spencer. There is no room for Dal bati churmas or Kashmiri kahwas, idly sambar, Puri or vada. It’s a thriving place for international culture and a battle ground for the international brands, it is a wrestling ring for people to wrestle with their own psyche. Malls are surely slow poison which bites into our value system.

Decline of Mall culture in America:

Mall culture in the United States is coming to an end as the U.S. economic downturn causes people to reduce their trips to malls or stores forcing more shops to close and leaving malls deserted. While malls continue dwindle in America, that pioneered them they have gained momentum in India. According to the International Council of Shopping centers, malls in America are reshaped for a different purpose or torn down for the space as Americans developed aversion to malls. As they have always been, Indians are both quick and good at picking up what is being discarded in the west. The rise of Shopping malls is axiomatic of their na├»ve craving for western lifestyle. People are welcoming this new trend with open arms, unaware of what might be the consequences of this new culture. Crowded streets, traffic congestion, pollution problems, extravagant electricity consumption, withering of traditional arts, frenzy consumerism, worst of all is shopohalism, addiction for shopping which has joined the list after cigarette and alcohol. a kind of a physiological disorder.

Mall not only deal in goods but also deals with people. Malls deal with the shopping habits of people and more particularly rules their senses. Customers could best be enticed in a controlled environment. The mushrooming of the Indian malls followed by Crossroads, the country’s first mall opened in 1999 has transformed shopping habits of the people as much as the culture which is gradually fading into obsolescence. On the super highway of western fashion shopping malls are raising curtain to western credo creating mall freaks. What becomes of our traditional arts and culture? What is to become of these massive structures when the trend changes as in America? Malls are tangible evidence of India's new economic vigor. The upbeat weather at the malls is exciting and inviting. All-in-one stores, with everything from groceries and vegetables to footwear, clothes, cosmetics, furnishings and electrical items available under one roof, a growing middle class with higher disposable income, the metro and the urban crowd is heading towards these  escalating shrines of consumerism in droves, for a better living. Although much of rural India remains in deep poverty, many urban Indians are becoming richer and malls are the best places for them to do away with their disposable incomes. For some, it is a way to chill out on movies and food in air conditioned ambience.

Why many a mall has bitten the dust?
What are the blues associated with malls? Why are malls not successful?
Why most malls could not make a profit in India?
On weekends and on festivals, malls compete with a mela. One can see carnival-like atmosphere with no elbow room for the visitors. But is evident from Indian business history that many malls have bitten the dust. Trinethra Super Market Limited, Hyderabad was a multiple outlet retail store network founded in 1986 with a vision to set up 100 Retail Outlets within 3 years all over Andhra Pradesh to achieve a turnover of Rs 300 crores. Where is Trinetra now? Many people come to the mall to look around, but very few actually buy anything. Ninety percent of young people go to a mall just too waste time. Ten percent of the visitors are actual customers. Amid the glint of interiors the business is sluggish, and many shops are in despair. Those who wanted to be retailers settled as Discount shops. Some shops in mall have no break even after years. India's mall boom is premature for the country's level of economic development.  India's real estate developers are in a frenzy to cash in. They are planning to build hundreds of malls. "If all the planned malls do come up, 70% of them will fail," predicts Vikram Bakshi, managing director of McDonald's which is a prominent attraction in numerous Indian malls is. It's very likely that quite a few of the new malls will see occupancy rates of only 50%. Shop keepers in malls acknowledge that they pay more for rent and electricity than if his store were outside. Middle-class Indians are still hesitant about spending in malls because they think prices are bumped up to meet the costs. Another concern is that India doesn't yet have the infrastructure needed to support all of its new malls. The rich class customers use cars to go to malls create traffic congestion besides parking problems. Malls use their own diesel generators which cause smoke pollution.  But state and local governments are all glad to encourage it because they get great prices for the land. In the numerous half-empty malls that reflect the inability our inability to plan and regulate the growth of malls most people waste time and so do the shop keepers.

Malls in Vijayawada.

Vijayawada is a developing city and no doubt it needs bigger and more sophisticated shops to cater to the needs of its increasing populace. Once we had small shops where
People used to stand outside the counter to buy. People used to buy different things form different shops. When departmental stores came they offered the convenience of buying
all things in one place.  Chain shops like Reliance, Spencer and More added more comforts and customers got a choice of picking what they want.  Now-a-days, malls are spreading to smaller cities. In Vijayawada the malls are on the rise. Kalanikhetan, Chandana Grand, RS Brothers, M&M and Charmas most of the shops were set up in giant complexes. They fondly call themselves shopping malls. The latest shoppers stop is apparently the biggest mall with four cinemas. Once can easily guess that the craze for bigger and bigger establishments. The craze is on the rise but not the need. When the government can not afford to supply power to the common people without cuts it is necessary to decorate malls with colorful electric bulbs that consume thousands of watts each day? We are embracing the lavish lifestyle of the western society disregarding the traditional arts and our culture. The weavers in Andhra Pradesh are in a pitiable condition.  Several other artisans of this land are emaciated. The world renowned traditional workers of Bombay such as Bombay Dabbawalas are losing hope about their 120 year old saga of a traditional occupation. In the tide of emerging new culture Dabbawalas are going to be washed out soon. As people switched over to pizzas and burgers their future is going to be murky and dismal. Traditional arts are on last legs and if things go at this rate they will certainly be brushed off. Today we can find only some traces of Burra Katha, Oggukatha after the advent of cinema as a popular medium of entertainment which has badly hurt the Traditional stage artists. Retailers are unable to stand the competition of malls which are sucking customers like leaves. Changes are inevitable; however, positive changes are welcomable.  I much fear that the eventuality of the current trend is total extinction of traditional arts and serious damage to our culture. Shopping malls also serve as cool avenues of lovers. The Malaysian Prime Minister raised objection when he saw a big hording of a western model. He asked whether there was no model in Malaysia as beautiful as her and saw to that the model is replaced. When malls don’t care for culture or art, people ought to. They are the people.  What ever is the size and name of the shop its function is same.  Some tailors call themselves fashion designers.


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