Dear Mr. Chidambaramji,
This is regarding your latest alleged remark about how the middle class doesn’t fret over spending on a ice-cream cone of Rs.20 or mineral water bottle at Rs.15 but object to one or two rupee hike in price of rice and wheat. Party spoke person later clarified that you just wondered this aloud within the earshot of the Indian media who is ever needy-greedy for sensational quotes from you and that you addressed the middle class as ‘We middle class people’ which only portrays your humble nature. Sir, but not sure you are eligible to be part of the middle class. According to your latest asset declaration neither you nor any other cabinet minister have assets worth less than a crore and though Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia hasn’t defined the bracket for middle class people like he defined people below poverty line we assume that anyone with or above asset worth a crore wouldn’t want to be identified as middle class.
The purpose of this letter is to give you updated information on latest rates of ice-cream cones and scoops that we get in our nearest ice-cream parlor and you cannot get an ice-cream cone at Rs. 20 there. Your ignorance on the latest ice-cream rates can be quite disturbing and confusing for us because it is the various announcements from your government like new list of taxable commodities, new VAT rates, fuel hike, and so many things that affect our ice-cream prices. First it confused me how rupee devaluation or news on coalition instability hiked the price of my ice-cream cone but now I have got some gist of it……..
But I’m still willing to consider your unawareness despite you being so influential party to our economy. For ex. I don’t know the price of a cigarette pack since I don’t smoke. Similarly, you can’t be bothered about ice-cream prices if you don’t consume it at all. It’s alright, you are normal; I have seen people of more eccentric dislikes, who don’t like chocolates or mangoes. Or it could be your doctor who told you to stay away from fatty substances like ice-creams after checking your cholesterol or sugar level. My one assumption is that the ice-cream cone in the Parliament canteen still costs Rs.20. O yes, I should have guessed this before, I have heard of that. That you guys, I mean MLAs, MPs and Ministers get lot of exemptions and food allowances because you serve our country and its people and they vote you and because so many people love to vote you, you are entitled to all these privileges.
Though let me ascertain you that prices outside the Parliament canteen have been swelling quite infuriatingly. 5 to 6 years back 1 litre milk in a dairy shop would cost Rs.22 and then the prices have been like on fastest, steep roller coaster but only on an ascending ride. Today, it costs Rs. 48 per litre. We also get low cost milk varying in between Rs.32 and Rs 42 per litre. The quality of course varies according to the rates. So far I believe that milk at Rs. 48 is the best quality milk but friends from rural parts or in dairy business challenge us that we city folks don’t know the taste of unadulterated milk. We wisely never accept this challenge. They tell us that the most costly ranged milk is also somewhat adulterated with water. We citizen don’t mind water mixing since the popular fable read in the younger days of a milkman and the monkey has subconsciously prepared us to accept that the milkman will dilute the milk for some extra bucks. However, lately the scary news we hear is that it is no milk at all. We learn on news channel that it is mixing of some two dangerous sounding chemicals that produce milk like substance. The news channels tell about a milk mafia caught by the food inspection department which only leaves us paranoid about the other gangs at large.
Now honestly, I do know about a Rs. 20 ice cream cone. I didn’t put that before because I’m sure you never had it. I have been thinking that if I was a manufacturer of ice-creams I couldn’t have afforded selling an ice-cream cone at Rs. 20 after purchasing milk at say the least price of Rs. 32 per litre. And so I have been linking these ice-cream cones to the above news on news channels and only then I can understand how it can be economical. Yesterday, I also saw glasses of lassis being sold on the railway station platform at Rs. 5 each. Again I started doing the math which has been my weakest subject. You might find it funny how much time I spend on calculation at the vegetable stall when the seller quotes that the green capsicum is Rs.50 kilo and all I need is pav kilo. It becomes all the more complicated when the green capsicum is Rs. 55 per kg and simpler to divide when it is Rs. 60 per kg though then I prefer opting for some other veggie. Sorry, I digressed.
Sir, now coming to talk of mineral water, kudos to your sharp observation about our growing fascination for the packaged water and that we without argument are ready to pay the accelerated rates. Honorable home minister, since you are known as intellectual personality, a minority class in the political India, you must have known it all the time that the water we call mineral is simply processed and purified water and it doesn’t contain any kind of minerals. Unlike me, who learned this fact some few years back when drinking mineral water wasn’t so common for common people. Then we used to boil the water for 20 minutes. This latest fad for mineral water is because we middleclass have become very lazy. Also that boiling water for 20 minutes means added daily consumption of gas, cost of which too has doubled in last 5-6 years. To top that, we panic easily when we hear of gas cylinder shortages. So we think that the ‘mineral’ water bottle is still affordable as we also take into account the medicinal cost and doctor fees lest we fall ill after drinking the tap water directly.
Dear home minister, I thought that we middle class owed you an explanation on our wayward behavior and that why we are so unlike the ideal middle class of 70’s. We also realize that we have become very demanding people and started using terms like accountability from political class which you all find very cynical. But unfortunately there is no going back now just like you don’t expect from us to expect 70’s price rates. Welcome to the new age which will bemuse you further about the middle class indulgence on many more luxurious commodities if only to breathe out the depression created by the morning newspaper reporting the latest land scam or a certain minister out from the jail on bail and heading to participate in the parliamentary proceedings.
Not so great Indian Middle Class