Thursday, April 7, 2011

When Dettol was White

I grew up thinking Dettol was white.
And shampoos needed to be mixed in half a mug of water before usage
And skirts had to be unhemmed as you grew taller
And text books were hand me downs
And Cadbury's was a thrice a year treat.

No we were not poor
Yes my parents doted on me

But this was what the great Indian middle class was about in those days.
Working men had huge liabilities.
Mostly single income households, most men were responsible to getting their sisters and brothers  educated and married.
Money orders to parents every month was a must, they were not on pension plans.

My mother was an expert at making things last.
Whether it was our skirts, or textbooks, or every bit of a vegetable being used up deliciously.
Or changing the straps of the hawai chappals till they could be used nomore.

We were conditioned never to ask for expensive things
We were content with what we were given
If we weren't, there was no choice anyways.

We lived by value. Where Lalitaji ruled the roost with her "samajdari"

Later on in life, I realised that Dettol was not white.
My father would dilute the  Dettol in an empty bottle as he used it after his shaves regularly.
And that we could shampoo straight off the bottle.

Today, things are far better for all of us.
Our liabilities have reduced. Money orders have been replaced by annual gifts to parents.
Incomes have increased. Wives have started earning or becoming efficient home managers.

In all of this, I wonder  whether the value equation has also  changed dimension.
What does good value mean today?
It is obviously not just price and utility specific.
There is a big intangible dimension attached to every purchase, every brand.

What is this new conversation?


  1. Ummm...just that disposable income has gone way up, people are having a good time and penny pinching is so last year! :-)

  2. The difference between need and desire has increased so much that old desires have become needs of today...the old basics have evolved...
    maybe the movement ...
    before recession, during it and just after it can provide an insight..

  3. ...and face creams were applied as dots :)