Monday, June 8, 2009

Fakey City..

Delhi is a city of whatever superlatives are there for the word big. You can easily travel 50-60 kms of non-metro routes in any part of India in the time that you take to cover 15 kms in Delhi.
And, last weekend I traveled almost 200 kms, within city limits, now try calculating the time I spent behind the wheel.
Saturday was spent in the by-lanes of Karol Bagh. I took my bike there for an overhaul, having heard that the place is a Mecca for auto spares. No doubt the work done on my bike for 4 hours by that experienced hand (who after every split second was showering the shop owner with choicest desi gaalis) was speaking for itself, the bike felt almost new.
But, the one thing that took me by surprise was the fact that Karol bagh had a fake substitute for each and every product I asked for, even mineral water. Every auto part, mobile phone or accessory, branded clothes, sun glasses, Iphones, DVDs, VCDs, bags, shoes, TVs and even plastic versions of Ipods were available and a fake product for each price point. Interesting stuff is that the business is booming, the markets are full and people love the Fake alternatives.
I had to check and recheck the authenticity of each spare part and according to the criticality of the stuff I was asking for, my order would be either ‘Original’ or ‘local chalega’.

I was thinking about the strange but lucrative business of Fake products when my next stop happened, and by coincidence it was the Notorious, Palika Bazaar, the home of Indian fake product industry. You cant help but be amazed by the stuff you see there, Generally a popular stop for fake DVDs and electronics, the place also boast of some amazing variety in clothing. I was flabbergasted looking at clothes, with tags from companies, which are yet to open shop in India. I bought myself Hollister shorts, for 300 bucks (initial price quoted, 750). Almost the same design that Beckham was wearing in one of his pics, and Hollister is yet to open a shop here. So is the story with Levis, and Wrangler and many designer labels (you could easily spot, bags and clothing with labels like D&G, Prada, Gucci, Versace and Tommy).
But the reality is no one is complaining, in fact the place is so full on weekends that you start feeling claustrophobic. And, then there are the touts and over zealous sales persons, don’t even dare to look them in the eye while walking, or they would chase you down the corridor, yelling the USP of their products and every time you say no, the price would start going down 30%. The guy at one electronic store did all he could to convince me that the Rs 100 “original” ipod earphones are great and that “if you open the ipod case, the packing inside is the same”, phew.

I just wonder how big is the ‘must be thriving’ fake products industry here and how keen is the junta, to flaunt their Palika bought Gucci Sandals or a Armani trouser.


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