(On the occasion of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s India visit)
It is a little difficult to imagine Chairman Mao, humming along a Hindi film song. But it is said that the founding father of communist China Mao Tse-tung quite liked the Chinese rendition of Awara hoon, from Raj Kapoor’s Awara (1951).
Had China been the manufacturing powerhouse it is now. the lyrics of another popular song from Awara could have been a little different.
Mera joota hain Chini,
Ye patloon Chini,
Sar pe laal topi Chini,
Phit bhi dil hain Hindustani
It’s been 50 years since the ‘Himalayan Blunder’ of 1962 when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) unexpectedly rampaged into Indian territory and reached the outskirts of Tezpur in Assam before making an unexpected retreat.
The war was fought much before I was born, but being born into North East India, I heard a lot of stories and sometimes as a kid imagined where would I be and what would I be doing if the Chinese had captured the entire North East, including Shillong, my home town. I, who was struggling with my Hindi writing, in my imagination, was dreading the idea of mastering the complex Chinese script.
50 years later, the Chinese have indeed captured India (and much of the world). It is not PLA’s doing, but that of cheap labour and big factories. The laptop I am typing this post on is made in China and so is so much of what is in my home and also at work.
This reminds me of a joke that my brother shared with me, when my son Googool (Advay) was born:
A boy goes to meet his new born sister at the hospital. On seeing the sleeping infant he starts looking for something, lifting her sleeves, closely analysing her feet and when he tries to turn the baby over, his father interrupts and asks, “What are you looking for?” “A tag, to check if the baby is also made in China,” the boy replies.
The front page headlines in The Sunday Standard dated October 21, 1962, announcing the other kind of Chinese invasion that happened half-a-century ago.
I am not an avid online shopper, but am slowly changing my purchasing priorities. While nothing can beat the experience of the touch and feel of offline shopping, there are stuff that you cannot easily find in the neighbourhood stores. And there are things that you discover online that is very unlikely to get any shelf space at physical store.
Here’s one such sample – maternity jeans for men. Came across this on Alibaba.com, China’s leading e-commerce platform. The product in question is manufactured by Shunde Junzirui Garment Factory, Guangdong, China and the minimum one can order is 500 pieces.
The only customer that I can think of for the product is Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior (1994). Moreover, it doesn’t also look anything like maternity jeans.
In all likelihood it is the result of a mix-up. Nevertheless good fun.