Walking through the narrow and busy streets in Itwari area with Rohit Bajaj and Prakash Jain and meeting some other long time friends like Ashok Yadav andÂ Gaju Deolkar over a â€˜half cupâ€™ of tea took me back to my school and college days.Â Surprisingly in most parts of Nagpur things have changed significantly but in some parts things are the same.Â I remember Ashokâ€™s Sari shop from more than 40 years ago â€“ we used to meet there â€“ and even today that area called Dharaskar Galli remains the same. Â It was a unique feeling of sitting in 2006 in the environment that I used to share with him even before 1966!!
In other areas things look very different.Â There are signs of Shopping Malls replacing smaller shops in many areas.Â Considering the trend towards shopping malls, this is a period of transformation for Indian small businesses.Â Malls are going to result in consolidations that will drive out many small businesses.Â Many countries have gone thru that and now people here will be going thru that.
Sometimes one meets strange and intriguing behaviors.Â Many shops in India donâ€™t seem to like somebody taking photographs of their shops.Â I was asked not to take a photograph of a modern looking book shop by the security people there.Â Later Rohit took permiossion from the manager of the shop.Â I remember being stopped from taking a photo of a menu in a Tea shop at the Leela Palace â€“ an outrageously expensive hotel in Bangalore.Â Are these people worried about their competition imitating them or is it just a behavior that results from uncertainty and ignorance?Â I think it may be later â€“ many things, including most religious practices, are practiced by people without any conscious reason.Â In fact, some times I feel that we Indians have much more than our share of such dogmas and irrational behavior compared to other countries.
I tried to capture some of my experiences of this nostalgic event in Seraja