LIFE

The all-pervasive American way of life

War or not, it seems to be brisk business here.

War or not, it seems to be brisk business here.  

A FEW NGOs here have called for a boycott of all things American, to protest against the U.S.-led "unilateral war'' against Iraq. Small-time celebrities are in the process of deciding on giving up various American brands of soft drinks, soaps, toothpastes, and other consumer goods.

As for the people, the American life goes on, undeterred by exhortations for change in chat rooms (the Internet kind), newspapers, and other media. A fringe group of political opportunists may decide to take out a parade with "naked pictures of Blair and Bush''. But when people get tired by the roadside, there is no one to offer buttermilk to slake their thirst. Soft drinks, on the other hand, are hard-sold down our throats.

The Two Towers opened in Symphony Cinema a couple of days ago, and if ever one wanted evidence of with how much love the next Hollywood hit is craved for, the late night show on the opening day was it. People were frantic to get in at any cost and those who sold tickets "in black'' had a field day. A "Johnny-come-late" created a little ripple of derisive laughter when he loudly asked for aisle seats.

Indoors, pizzas were the staple of many a couple who had skipped dinner to be early enough to stand a chance at the ticket counter. Of course, it was heartening that "masala puri" was giving some healthy competition to the pizza.

Away from Symphony, there was a young couple at a bookshop well known for crammed space and great books. After choosing the books, the woman, who was pregnant, waited patiently, while an assistant in the shop brought out a series of comics, for the yet-to-be-born child perhaps. Her husband stood beaming at her, in sweatshirt, cut-off jeans, sandals, and rimmed glasses. Nice man, soft-spoken, and surely back from a U.S. university after a degree from an IIT.

Maybe, he was a software programmer, who had started out at the time of the boom and by now had established himself. The car was parked outside nearby. The love towards four-wheelers too comes from the Americans: they just cannot have enough of them, so our roads will also see many a sports utility vehicle soon. Well-known industrial houses have already put us in the general direction with models that have names anyone from Detroit would be proud of.

By Harichandan A.A.

Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

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