So, I have taken my (rare) treadmill sessions out to the streets in this “blink-and-you-miss-it” winter in Mumbai. I think people living in Mumbai, who can walk to a walking track of a half a kilometre, are truly blessed. My colony happens to have one such stretch, with a circular cul-de-sac of half a kilometre where there are no vehicles moving around, at least at 7 in the morning. So, this winter, I decided to use this stretch on weekends as a walking track for myself. (there are about 15-20 other like-minded people here at any point of time). The below are my thoughts from today’s walk…
First point I learnt was to do away with the music system from my ears and listen to the chirping (less) and cawing (more) of the morning birds. At least for two of my seven rounds, after which the sounds of nature became repetitive and monotonous J.
After that, to keep myself engaged, I started counting the cars parked on the road where I was walking. These were the cars which have spilled over from the parking spaces of the building. There were 70 cars parked on the road. Of these, 52 cars had a non-MH03 registration number. MH-03 is the registration code for my local area. So, 18 was a very small number for cars to be registered in the “correct” local area. Of the 52 non-MH03 cars, 14 were from MH01,02 and some from outside Mumbai – unlike the other 38 cars about which we talk about below, there is no monetary incentive for people living here to register their cars in MH01,02 or other cities. These 14 out of 70, which is 20%, showed the mobility prevalent in India of late. People are travelling across cities and across locations in cities to take up jobs, to move to bigger homes, a sign of growing economies.
As for the 38 cars registered in MH04/06/43/46 registration centres – I have explained in another blog piece the phenomenon of registering cars outside Mumbai – you save octroi charges, which could be in the range of Rs 30,000-Rs 1.5 lac per car for the type of cars parked on my walking track. Substantial, by any means ! This 38 out of 70, that is 50%+, shows the extreme bargain-seeking behaviour of the Indian consumer. And the cars were not all small cars – there was a BMW 320 and a Merc SUV among these cars – and pls remember, these are the spilt-over cars, so the better cars are in the parking lots of the buildings and bungalows. The point being that the owners are easily in the upper-class of the society and economy, and marketers, especially of luxury items need to understand well this bargain-seeking behaviour.
BTW, all of these 38 cars might not have registered on fake addresses (as erroneously mentioned in my earlier blog piece on this topic) – many of these people now have apartments for investment in Navi Mumbai / Kharghar (a trend over the past 5 years), and hence, all such people can legally show that address of theirs, and register the car on that address. Another trend – investing in real estate in Navi Mumbai / Kharghar in expectation of prices there rising further in years to come (and possibly, in wait for the international airport coming there).
Finally, moving away from cars…I started noticing the newspaper delivery “boys” of today – so, I was amazed to see four delivery boys zipping in on their scooters and mobikes. They come double-seat with a pile of newspapers and a big bag full of milk pouches. They park outside one building and use that as the base. For there, they run to the neighbouring buildings and deliver the papers and milk. I also saw a man on a mobike, delivering flowers and garlands for pooja. Talk about a growing economy, with people growing richer. Am sure the delivery has also become more efficient !
While I was returning home, the calm of the morning was broken by the ringing bell of a bicycle – it was the man selling bread, paav, eggs. Possibly, he too might come on a bike in a few years from now…however, even today, he was carrying more brown bread than white !!!