It is easy to think we are not in India while sipping coffee at a Starbucks outlet in a fancy mall in Mumbai. It is not the opening of Starbucks and excitement that it causes that alarms me. It is neither the lamentations of a teenage college student, asking very seriously why India does not have an Apple store that bothers me.
What bothers me is the idea that Apple stores and Starbucks being considered as indicators of India being a first world country. Over enthusiastic media outlets often say “India has arrived at the global stage” – well with over 15% of the world’s population it never really left the global stage.
First world country is when most of these set of questions are answered in the negative, when people do not die in their hundreds because of malaria and dengue and when people do not literally spend small fortunes to afford their children decent school level education.
“India has arrived” I say that is pure bullshit. Time to wake up and smell the coffee, even if it is at Starbucks and deliver on the seemingly smaller, less dramatic but eventually more enriching indicators of India being a first world country.