Calm in Chaos?

I am glad Oprah was here. I have to thank her for making us feel good about the chaotic traffic in India. According to her it seems there's an underlying calm to everything that's witnessed in everyday India. Sadly, the heady feeling Oprah gave me went up in smoke as I travelled to work this morning. Maybe Oprah should travel back and forth from work everyday in India, and then wait and see if the 'calm' theory stays. My bet is, it won't.

Calm in chaos? You gotta be kidding me! Consider the statistics. According to the World Health Organisation's first ever Global Status Report on Road Safety (2010), road accidents have earned India a dubious distinction. With over 130,000 deaths annually, India has overtaken China and now has the worst road traffic accident rate worldwide.

But I guess Oprah will have none of the statistics. She will parrot what most other foreigners do about India. That's there's a spiritual calm to everything here. Now such 'blind' attitudes are easy to explain. Its akin to how consumers build zombie like attitudes towards premium lifestyle brands, never mind the products in question having zero differentiating features. The only feature that matters is the brand name. As for the differentials perceived, they live and last in consumer heads. Which is why consumers part with gobs of cash for labels.

Now I am not complaining. If perceptions can engineer and sustain premium sales, so be it. If perceptions can get Oprah to sing paeans to what is otherwise an unparalleled nightmare on Indian roads, probably I should sit back and let the heady feeling stay. And I mustn't worry too much about living such illusions long, for reality will hit.

Like it did this morning. On my way to work.


Unknown said…
Well written professor, i guess the reason Oprah or most foreigners don't speak practically & openly about our infrastructure conditions is because they say to themselves "it's not worth the fight".
Assuming Oprah had made any statement about our roads and traffic - the media & political parties would have twisted and turned her statement to make it sound Insensitive and racist like..
ahmedabadonnet said…
Good write-up...
Anonymous said…
oprah cannot beat the crowds. she does not even know what going to the mall\store in regular hours is like. ivory tower opinions are good to spoken on TV - remember she is the queen of talk show . she practically invented

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