Ever been to a mall in India? Try going to one on a Saturday or Sunday.
While America’s economy lies battered, and its people are learning how to save whatever they have, attempting to leave behind their uber-consumer personas of the past, something very different is happening here. And, I mean, happening!
Today, America’s malls are more often than not empty, shops are closing or closed, and there is a general depressed mood in the air. Malls in India, on the other hand, are vibrant beehives of activity and energy. The picture below gives you an idea. This is not just on special occasions, such as Christmas, either. This is the scene every weekend!
Admittedly, the shops themselves are not bustling with the same level of activity. The movie multiplex, the food court, the kid zones, the restaurants – that’s where you find the crowds, and I mean, crowds. During weekends, curiously more on Sundays than Saturdays, malls appear to have become the go-to place – especially for youngsters and young families. Where else can you find air-conditioned comfort and clean, open spaces for virtually nothing? Plus entertainment galore and a tasty bite or two at affordable prices.
No wonder then that there are more malls cropping up everywhere you look. And each one boasts a title, it seems – largest in Mumbai/Chennai/Bangalore/…, largest in South/North/Eastern/Western India, largest in India, largest in Asia (I know of two malls in India that seem to be claiming this title).
It remains to be seen, however, just how sustainable they will be given that most people go there for cool air, comfort, food and entertainment, rather than for shopping and serious retail therapy. But, after the increasingly slow pace of mall life in America, a weekend visit to a mall here can indeed be a sight for sore eyes!
Photo: By ashwinrb (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons