The three basic needs of man are food, shelter and clothing. From ancient times man has always strived towards achieving these. But then his definition of ‘comfortable’ was very simple, something which he could easily attain. He was happy and contended when his basic necessities were met.

With the changing times, our needs and demands also increased. The definition for ‘comfortable’ became more complicated. Now we struggle day and night to attain these comforts.

Indians have always been considered a conservative lot. Though we try to imitate the West in many ways, the truth is that we are always far behind. Now more and more Indians, especially Keralites, are leaving the shores in search of greener pastures. They gradually get adapted to the way of living abroad and would want to emulate it. With the emergence of this new class of affluent Indians with tremendous purchasing power,

India is surging forward in all possible ways.

This change of taste could be seen and felt in all facets of life, be it food, clothing, house, and even electronic gadgets and automobiles.

Till recently Keralites were very reluctant in experimenting with food. They were happy cooking their own food and eating at home. But with much exposure to the outside world, we have also come to experiment with food. Thus we find specialty restaurants and international brands such as Pizza Corner, etc. making a clean entry into a conservative city like Thiruvananthapuram. And they are never out of work.

The youth of Kerala are now very particular about the clothes they wear. More than the looks, they value the brand names. This has paved the way for the entry of many international brands into the state.

Even the idea of a house is fast changing. From the joint family of olden times living in huge houses, to the nucleus family living in an apartment, Malayali has come a long way. There are many things to be taken into consideration while deciding on a house.

Accessibility is always given prime importance. Building the house on a prime location is something many dream. But this is not always possible. It is at such times that apartments gain significance. They are generally built in prime localities. Nowadays, within reasonable payment structures, a middle-income group Malayali can easily own an apartment.

But owning an apartment or house is never enough. Luxury fittings have become a prerequisite in these houses. Many gadgets which were once considered luxury are now something which many can’t do without. From the latest model of mixer-grinder, to refrigerator, centralised air-conditioning, home-theatres, washing machines, etc, the house of even an average Malayali is now bursting at its seams.

Many a time such ultra-modernisation is done to inflate our ego. It makes us feel absolutely important. It is the human tendency to always look up. We like to compare ourselves with those way above us, never those below us.

Ambika Varma