New Delhi Diary – October 2021

India among the toppers by 2030
The good news that has emerged recently is that India will be among the top three nations in terms of high-income households by 2030, after the US and China, in that order. That is because consumption in the country is going to get a big boost of USD 1.8 trillion by then.
This was revealed in a study done by McKinsey, a global management consulting firm with its headquarters in New York. It is reported that up to 50% of India’s population will belong to the consuming class by 2030 as compared to the current 24 %. The consuming class has been defined as those who will spend more than USD 11 a day.
The key factors for this swift upward movement include rapid rise in income, shrinking of household size, doubling of the consuming class, and fast growth in e-commerce. And, Mumbai is expected to emerge as the fourth highest consumer city in Asia.

Ever-increasing hot days
The number of extremely hot days every year, with temperatures exceeding 50 degree Celsius, has doubled since the 1980s. A global BBC survey has revealed that such hot temperatures are being experienced in unimaginable places such as Siberia in Russia.
Between 1988 and 2009, the temperature exceeded 50 degree Celsius for about 14 days a year. The number rose to 26 days per year between 2010 and 2019. This kind of rise in temperature has become a grave challenge as it threatens the existence of various life-forms on our planet.
The survey also cited Dr Friederike Otto, associate director of the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, who said that such drastic changes in temperatures are due to the increased use of fossil fuels.

Reading habits of the rich
A recent survey report says that 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people have one common habit: Reading. Why could reading be the common habit for them? There are at least three reasons: To relieve themselves of the stresses and the strains of the business world; reading is the simplest and easiest form of entertainment while going around the globe for business commitments; and the value of education in serious reading.
These reasons hold good even for ordinary readers. For many of us, the sheer joy of reading exceeds any other joy. True, there are readers who indulge in reading for what they call “time pass”! However, reading enables serious readers to indulge in constant dialogues. This can be profoundly uplifting!

Good days are here again
Now that the denizens of the city are waking up to enjoy the lovely and comfortable days of autumn, life takes a different meaning. We no longer have to suffer the sweltering heat of summer and the messy and mucky rainy season.
It is time to go out and enjoy the fun that was denied for long now. The city is in a dynamic phase and keeps on changing. You get to see a newer city every time you visit its nooks and corners. But the biggest ‘revolutions’ are taking place in the food habits of people. The city adds several ‘food plazas’ every day to its joy-of-eating culture. Its 2.10 crore people never seem to have enough of ‘foodie joys’!

The myth behind frog marriages
A friend representing an American TV channel was asked recently to go to Assam and report on the annual mythical ritual of marrying off frogs by some communities in the state, particularly in Jorhat. All the villagers gather in the village square and get hold of two frogs to get them ‘married’ to each other. The ritual of marrying off frogs lasts a couple of hours with all the formalities of prayers and rites. The mythical belief is that when frogs are married off, the rain gods get happy and bless the earth with rain.

Tailpiece:
Teacher: Can February march?
Student: No, but April may.

By P. P. Wangchuk

P. P. Wangchuk is a New Delhi-based editor-at-large, columnist and professional speaker.

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