“Wobbly cardboard boxes tied with neon yellow twine. Rusty grandfather trunks emblazoned with peeling paper stickers. Cheerfully bulging, shapeless chequered suitcases. Indians have the dubious distinction of carrying some of the world’s ugliest luggage” writes Shonali Muthalaly in The Hindu Metro Plus, while welcoming a new range of trendy travel accessories that had been unveiled by a large brand.
She then adds this glowing tribute : “The pieces displayed were sleek, highly polished and shone with that self-confident sheen that invariably accompanies unabashed luxury. Prices range from roughly Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 15,000. Which is not too bad, really, considering in the global luxury market, you will easily pay about a lakh for a Louis Vuitton."
Forget the expression, “you will easily pay about a lakh” for a moment. What I understand from the article is this. If I am a buyer with even a modicum of decency, I should not swoon on looking at the price tag of any luxury item. When I am at the duty-free shop at the airport and I spot a Tissot watch with a price of say $200. I shouldn’t be a cheapskate and compare it with a Titan watch back home that costs an equivalent of $50. I should remember Shonali’s reasoning and convince myself that it is a steal at that price, for I would easily pay $2500 or more for a Longines or a Cartier, or some such fancy brand.
It’s all a matter of perspective, as I noted in an earlier post. Don’t worry that you are coughing up Rs 15000 for a suitcase. This is not too bad really. Be thankful that you are not shelling out Rs 1,00,000.
I have often found this irritating tendency of 'educated' people who make fun of Indian customs and practices. Especially by people who had a chance to board an international flight at least once.
Like a cup of coffee, say at Saravana vs a cup of coffee at the Taj - you want to pay for coffee or the ambience ? ditto for luggage too - Louis Vuitton vs VIP to carry your undies + a few shirts / pants / toileteries ?
Raj - why are you partial to Titan and forgetting HMT watches...by the way are they still around ? !
When I went to stay in a hostel a few decades back, I took all my stuff in a mulitary green "hold all", and it was with me for the next 5 years. None of the current branded stuff can come close to the assorted pieces that my good "hold all" carried faithfully and the abuse it took on trains with quiet dignity.
By the way - do you remember the massive Green belts that some folks use to wear to hold up their Dhoti / lungi - those belts practically carried entire household stuff ! In fact those belts were made popular by Tamizh movie villians like Ramdas..Manohar etc. Those belts have disappeared - if only I could lay my hands on one such, I think it would come in handy to carry bberry / laptop ( even a desktop ) !
If Shonali could visualise a dhoti clad person in an airport with the said green belt holding a laptop / bberry / Ipod etc, I think she will realise the farsightedness of India designers !!!
Mambalam Mani, I agree with you. In India,, durability and functionality over-rode other considerations. And looks are subjective anyway.
Balaji: I have no issues with anyone marketing their brand of luxury goods at any price. But when they try to justify the high price, pointing to something that is priced even higher, the "iru Kodugal' trick gets my goat. Also that bit about Indians carrying ugly luggage, I felt was highly insensitive.
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