In a heavily charged consumerist atmosphere, it just takes a tiny little spark to kick off a carnival of shopping. Say it is gold, everyone will sit up and notice. Give it a religious twist, you are sure to win. Over and again.
That’s what a well-known jewellery brand did some years ago in India. Two years ago it laid bare how it flagged off the Akshaya Thrithiya mania and how the idea got drilled into the collective consciousness. All other brands followed suit. For those who wanted to splurge, it simply gave another reason to satisfy their lust for gold and also rationalise their spending. After all, you don’t need to explain why you need to buy gold in India.
I don’t remember growing up listening to how “auspicious” Akshaya Thrithiya is. Even if it was there, I don’t remember seeing people flocking jewellery shops in hordes.
I guess it all started sometime at the turn of the century. Now, with India’s dream of becoming superpower gaining new hues with each passing day, it not only needs its citizens to have the buying power to keep its dreamboat afloat, but also flaunt it. The corporate sector will do the rest. The media will celebrate it without questioning the madness behind it. Why would it when it has ads streaming in relentlessly?
When it comes to the glitter of the yellow metal, all logic, rational thinking fades away. I remember having a long discussion with my domestic help a few years ago. On one such “auspicious” day, Meera was rushing off to buy gold from her hard-earned savings. Like others, she also dreamt that her buying power would multiply with each Akshaya Thrithiya and was waiting to be hit by the weight of good fortunes.
It did. But Meera somehow couldn’t realise that her true wealth was lying just right before her eyes. Her daughters who studied hard and became self-reliant with decent jobs were elevating her economic status. When I added this thread to our argument, Meera did say how proud she was of her daughters.
However, Akshaya Thrithiya was independent of all this. “Everybody buys gold on this day. Why not me?” she laughed.
When educated, well-informed people willingly fall into this trap, isn’t it unfair to expect someone like Meera to let logic win over her beliefs?