Lee and Pepe @ Varapuzha
I witnessed the arrival of electricity to my home around four decades back. It was a great life changing event and luxury. Every day cleaning of the lanterns and refilling kerosine / oil were deleted from the daily chores of the households. Along with that went the time pass of observing the flies attracted to the light at close quarters during the study time. Our electricity connection number reads as 777, indicating our presence in the early adopters list. Then came the telephone, and our telephone number was 275. We had those big black telephones with the mechanical dial and the ring ring tone. To make long distance calls (trunk calls), we had to book the call and wait, till Sam Pitroda brought in the STD. This was followed by television and internet. Thanks to the vision and the global exposure of Rajiv Gandhi. When I visited one of our neighbors who was on his death bed, he attributed the credit of bringing cricket and shuttle badminton to our village to me. That was a revelation for me. Something which even I did not know. Can you believe this…forty five years back, when we were among the first few who started wearing foot wear, the villagers used to make fun of us saying ‘chapthi, chapathi’. When I went to Bangalore in the late 70s for my engineering, the bell bottom pants gave way for wrangler jeans, which was a very expensive and rare commodity those days. We did not have the duplicates or seconds, nor the money to buy the originals. I was fortunate to get it as gifts from relatives settled in US, whenever they visited us. That me, when I saw this shop selling Lee and Pepe jeans in my village, terms such as liberalization, development, globalization, marketing strategy, new generation etc splashed through my mind. When I was focusing to click, as a reminder of the economic divide of liberalization / globalization, this man from the previous generation (my generation), who is not yet influenced by these modern day fancies, slowly but steadily cycled across the view finder of my camera, after a day’s hard work, may be to provide for the global brands his son or daughter craves for…Good luck, dear Varapuzhakkaran.