The love affair of the Indian middle class with modernism “took wing with stainless steel”, says leading social commentator Santosh Desai in his new book Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense of Everyday India, a racy comment on the contemporary middle-of-the-order India.
“Stainless steel managed to meet the deeply traditional needs by being incontrovertibly modern. It was seen as pure and indestructible - the two virtues that give it pride of place in the kitchen," Desai says in the book that was launched in Delhi on Saturday.
"And yet, unlike gold, which is interwoven into custom and the ritual role of which is well-established, stainless steel has no past in India. Dubbed as 'ever-silver', in its early phases, it was clearly a modern substance, glinting with metallic hardness,” the author says, trying to encapsulate the changing Indian middle class with its morphing kitchen ware.
The Indian middle class, feels Desai, is coming out from the folds of its past and has to be seen with new eyes.
“It has greater headroom for social and economic mobility. And is now looking at the world through its senses - rather than the mind. The Indian middle class had always been uneasy about its senses because it had, over the centuries, been ruled by the mind,” Desai told IANS.
The writer, who heads Future Brands and was the former president of McCann Erickson, feels the Indian middle class would become a stronger social force five years from now with a more nuanced world view. But he adds that "it would not become a significant political force as it was still too consumed with itself”.
Explaining the objective of his book, Desai said: “Books on India tend to be big because India is a big country, but my book tries to get behind the scene to infer why the middle class feels sandwiched.”
“I have grown up in a middle class family. My father worked in a public sector company. To me, the essence of growing up as an Indian, if there is any such essence, is really in understanding what it takes to actually experience India in all its trivial everydayness,” he said.
Full report here Little About