Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The great Indian bulge

As I was waiting to catch a flight at the KGIA, Bangalore, the late night blues let my sleepy mind wild and I ended up thinking about my bulging tummy. I then looked around and felt consoled by the countless other Indian men who shared by unwelcome physiognomic feature.

As I am happily treading towards 30, this current state is not what I had foreseen for myself ten years ago. Perhaps the scales have been reinvented at the national level, or so I am made to believe.
When I was a teenager, a bulge was usually associated with men in the late 30s and 40s and beyond. But suddenly in the span of a decade, it has become normal to have a bulge in your 30s.
Traditionally, in the Indian context, the bulge has connotations with prosperity and satisfaction. The satisfaction attained either by the worldly achievement – read a good job, good wife, happy children, happy parents and respectful position in the society.
At this perspective, does it mean, that the advanced onset of the bulge means we are satisfied too early now?  
With a hike in the disposable income following the market liberalization since the 90s, and the lack of burdensome responsibilities such as educating and marrying off siblings (seen in a majority of middle class households from the 80s and 90s), there certainly has crept some comfort zone in the millennial teenagers.
The cushy jobs, where the starting packages usually are outdoing the father generation’s retirement salaries, is a new phenomena driven by the position of India as a low cost opportunity for foreign companies. We have been made to believe this as a sign of development, albeit some believe this to be modern slavery, and we are happy to be a part of it while it lasts.
We are glued to this sedentary lifestyle and are proud to have it.
With a massive population adopting this lifestyle, the drug companies, specifically the ones producing medicines for the lifestyle diseases, are preparing themselves to meet this demand. The good times for these companies shall begin when this generation tcrosses the near fortyish.
On the ground this generation had stopped being active when they entered their teens. The pressure of education had killed the joy of sport and sport turned out to be the major outcast in most middle class Indian homes.  The only running happened around between tuitions and parents were happy to stuff their children with nutrition, manuring their investments as they grew.
“There can only be one Rooney or a Federer, and we Indians don’t have it in us”, thundered an Indian father who aspired for his son to succeed in life and have a bulge.
And most Indian sons have succeeded with time. Hence, the great Indian bulge.