Friday, October 29, 2010

To Spend or Not to Spend

I recently read an article on Mukesh Ambani’s One Billion dollar splurge on his 27 storey home and some readers’ reproachful comments about him frittering away wealth instead of feeding 68 million kids for 20 full days! Mr Ambani is the fourth richest man in the world, has built a vast empire employing several thousand people and still people expect him to be charitable as well as though it is his responsibility to eliminate poverty in the world! Eliminating poverty is certainly not as simple as all the rich people in the world donating their wealth to all the poor. If they choose to be charitable, it certainly helps in some way, however that is not something that should be imposed on them and it certainly is unfair on them to be judged because they spend their money the way they like. And honestly, I wouldn’t even call living in a beautiful home a splurge (even though I found the Ambani mansion pretty ugly!) Everyone has that one dream of having a beautiful home and a comfortable one. Why then deny Mr Ambani that pleasure and insist he live in a 3 bedroom house just because the even wealthier Mr Warren Buffet does. Who is John Galt after all. (for those of who may recall Ayn Rand’s tome Atlas Shrugged)

Well, those were my views on this one rich man spending his money on his dream house. However, this article brought to my mind the other stuff the rich and famous buy and which I don’t approve of! I know, now I m being judgmental just after all those statements above about each to his own. . I completely endorse buying something that would lend value, a technologically advanced car with more features, a large home that’s in a prime location with the latest gadgetry and comforts, to some extent for creativity in outfits and accessories, but I fail to understand how people can actually pay the ostentatious amounts they do for objects that are as ephemeral as passing seasons and stuff that they may not use probably twice. My case in point is handbags

The Luxury bag market is a multi-billion dollar industry and luxury brands Hermes, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Chanel all jostle for space as new brands try to entice rich gals with their expensive goodies. Well, I was astonished that salaried people even bought these bags at all but apparently they do! Check out the prices of these bags below. Don’t be taken in by the simple design you have probably seen on the roadside purse shop as well! For starters this seemingly simple wallet from Hermes costs $2,600 or Rs 1,16,000.

Now if that ain’t too bad, how about a fancier and larger purse from Hermes for you? Well that costs $7,600 or Rs 3,40,000.

I continued this eye-popping exercise of checking the prices of these bags till I reached a magic figure of…. 1 Million Pounds or or $1.6 Million or Rs 7 Crores for the world’s most expensive bag!!!

Well if Mukesh Ambanis wife, Nita Ambani buys 600 of those bags, it would cost as much as her home would! I guess, the new home is a good bargain after all then!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

I wish I had a Time Machine

How I hate waking up in the morning and getting dressed to go to work. Maybe in the near future, we won’t have to go to offices anymore. Maybe we will have a few screens showing us the people installed in our homes for meetings and a robot to take down notes and email them to us after formatting them. Maybe we’ll have flying cars. Maybe shopping will be through simulated rooms with us experiencing even the feel of the fabric and not just plain online shopping. Perhaps we will be able to touch our near and dear ones from miles across on the computer or whatever becomes of it. Maybe we won’t need to know different languages. Speak in English at one end and have it translated and come out in perfect Chinese at the other end which is something I believe Google is working on.

Floppies have become pen drives and hard drives, desktops have become laptops and will soon be tablets or phones or something else totally. Landlines have become mobiles which in themselves are computers. Maybe we will be able to use any surface as a laptop with some projections out of thin air and of course we will have a robot cook and clean for us. I hope we don’t become all fat and wobbly creatures with all that work being automated and not having to step out. Post offices will cease to exist and philatelists (stamp collectors) will perish if they already haven’t.

Maybe schools will cease to exist and kids will be taught like they do in The Matrix..put in a CD through the brain and copy paste the ‘books’ or delete to make more room. No more mugging up History! Books, paper and pens of course will not exist and maybe even most trees won’t. Hopefully we will have travelled to some more inhabitable planets and shifted half the population there. Maybe we will be able to control rains and storms. Maybe we will never run out of food.

Maybe biodegradable only will be the only norm, maybe plastic will be abolished. Maybe the world will cease to have boundaries and maybe there will be no more terrorists. Maybe everyone who is corrupt will stop being so. Maybe there will be no more diseases.

Maybe there will be a nuclear war fought over water not oil. Maybe trees will be present only in Museums. Maybe there will be an ice age, or maybe the ozone layer will tear apart and half of the world will become uninhabitable. Maybe aliens will attack us. Maybe a new form of disease will come and eliminate humanity. Maybe the world will become a garbage dump. Maybe there will be no more room for more population on earth. Maybe, Frankenstein’s monster will become reality and Sarah Connor will not be born.

We are all getting so ahead of ourselves in Technology or maybe I was born just after the dinosaurs! Computers in all sizes, Google, smart phones, Global Satellite systems (GPS), Video conferencing, e-readers, Social Networking are exploding and the world is closer and more aware than it ever was before. What was unbelievable in the past is reality today and we are still in awe of the technology wave that is sweeping us. While the human race is not just ambling ahead, but taking great leaps racing ahead, let us remember the bleaker side and take steps starting with recycling, generating less waste, using fewer disposable things, saving electricity, planting trees and spreading the word in building this amazing future perfect world called Utopia!