Travel

The Mashup of Consumerism in Developing Markets

India sketchbook1 copy
Sketching the scenery of south India from a moving vehicle, I was forced to take it all in and put it down on paper as fast as I could.  Indians are absorbing consumer culture just as quickly, and adding the best of the "new world" while retaining the uniqueness of a 4000+ year old culture.

I passed by a Pizza Hut next to actual "huts", villages with intermittent electricity, bullock carts and bustling Internet cafes where farmers were trading commodities while students were doing their homework.  Fresh sugarcane juice was being squeezed with a sturdy device that looked like an improvised clothes wringer with a flywheel.  Next to the sugarcane stall were signs for Java programming, SAT and MCAST preperation classes.

A book that I picked up at Bengaluru airport, We Are Like That Only,(Winning in the Indian Market  is the U.S. edition) by Rama Bijapurkar  sheds light on the consumer mashup in modern India.  Generalizing a market of a billion people and their demand for consumer goods based on per capita income, past behavior and population growth would be short-sighted.  Indians don't want to emulate the west, they want to adopt western goods and services in their own way.


No time to make a masterpiece? Start with a first draft

Indiasketchbook3
I took my sketchbook on a recent tour of south India.  With a jam-packed itinerary, I didn't get to paint anything serious, just sketch scenery from the window of a bus or train (and paint it in afterwards). 

It was disappointing not to create a "masterpiece" with the rugged scenery and vibrant colors I saw, but the process of rapid-fire sketching was a reward in itself.