Most of us have long given up the battle to avoid buying 'Made in China' (henceforth MiC) products. They are ubiquitous to our existence. So when Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and Mayawati sound the alarm about FDI into retail, the coming of Walmart and the "flood" of Chinese goods one feels like telling them they are 20 years late. Here is a log of one day in a city and the "encounters" with Chinese goods.
6.30am" Wake up to cell phone alarm. Battery and charger MiC. Slide feet into slippers (MiC), plod my way to the bathroom, switch on the light. The switch, bulb and fixture: all MiC. Soap dish, toothbrush stand: lovely brushed stainless steel: MiC. Fixtures say they are Made in Italy but the nuts, bolts and pipes: don't know
7 am: into Kitchen. Tiffin Box, Toaster, Kettle, and cutlery. I turn every ruddy object and it is either MiC. Make my jasmine tea. Oh! Wait, that is MiC again.
8 am: Newspapers and TV switched on. Newsprint imported from China. TV remote MiC. TV set is Korean brand but all parts MiC. Air Con and fans: Indian and Korean brands but produced in China.
9 am: Breakfast. None of the foodstuff is foreign. From cereal to fruit, it is bought in an Indian store and from the roadside fruit and vegetable vendor. But wait did I check if the seeds for the fruit and veggies were Indian? What about the oats and corn, did I check if that was made in India?
9.30 am: Get into car, music system is MiC, carry on coffee cup for the drive is MiC, Car is Japanese but the parts inside: guess. None of the newly tarred roads (thanks to the Commonwealth Games) could have been made without Chinese technology.
10 am: Newsroom. Every piece of equipment is MiC. Computers, video-edit consoles, cameras, sound equipment, cables, printers, scanners, stationery, and furniture: MiC. TV studio: lights, cables, teleprompter: all MiC. Anchors' outfits and make up: MiC. I now have to hunt for some "Made in India, pyara soniyaa stuff."
12 noon: Getting a bit desperate. My table is full of MiC stuff, stationary, computer, glue, stapler. Head to edit room, Aah here is some stuff that is not Chinese. Not in any way. Storyfall of the day: Intruder tries to force his way into Parliament. Cameraman calls, we have the shot, he is being yanked out of Parliament. Channels call "shot hai kya? Usko maar padii kya? No? No blood shots? Achcha chalo use ho jayega." So Indian.
1 pm: Time to file the news story of Parliament adjourned due to unruly scenes, intruder arrested �but wait another story pops in, and that is also so exclusive to India. Some lunatic slaps the Agriculture Minister. This could not happen in China. Slap connects. Minister unperturbed. Daughter says she forgives and Pawar becomes a martyr. How Indian is this civilised behaviour to an uncivilised act?
3 pm: All hell breaks loose in the newsroom. Anna has reacted to the slap, slapper and slapee. He said "what only one slap?" Now that sounds like a Chinese reaction. Then political parties react with outrage. Right to free speech, right to protest at its best and worst. Democracy on the overdrive. Definitely not: Made in China. Don't like: will slap, will shout, will 'de-elect', and will throw out.
5 pm: Time for a coffee break, in a mall to meet a source. Sigh! This is a temple to MiC, I am sure. Shop after shop, I see Chinese goods. Handbags, hair accessories, shoes, electronics, clothes, sports goods. All MiC. I look carefully at the people buying them. Woman in a Tussar saree in a Louis Vuitton store, purchasing a bag for about Rs 2 lakh. She pulls out wads of cash from a worn out MiC handbag, which she will probably use more than the LV. Her husband clad in shiny MiC clothes, digs out a pan masala box and looks approvingly at his wife. Chinese meets French meets Indian.
9 pm: Bedlam in the newsroom. Uma Bharati threatens to burn down Walmart if the govt permits FDI in retail. Murli Manohar Joshi and Mayawati say China will flood our market and ruin industry. Wonder when was the last time these people went shopping?