Big fish preying on small fish

Big fish preying on small fish

The Kannada idiom Attegondu Kaala, Sosegondu Kaala succinctly portraying the plight of persons having a whale of a time enjoying boundless authority and influence both in the family and society at large forced to play second-fiddle to another person taking over the reins may not be familiar to the present generation’s flock. The resulting loss of face and also clout translates to a few consequences including depression due to hurt ego, deprivation of hold over the family’s kitty, a feeling of remorse (Pashchaathaapa) for indiscretions committed while in a position of authority and so on. The equivalent of the foregoing idiom can be traced to the expression, The old order changeth yielding place to new, attributed to the Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892). The message in the words of the renowned poet could not have been simpler. Parting with power and pelf, particularly after commanding both over extended period proves to be both sad and painful to the losing party to an extent beyond words. This feature is common in the business world and calls for vigil about the oncoming change.

The conflict between two generations, described euphemistically as generation gap is a direct result of both sections not prepared for the changes on many counts such as (a) Giving up time-honoured customs, (b) Attiring in daily life as well as for special occasions, (c) Food habits, (d) Etiquette, (e) Preferences to modes of entertainment, (e) Commuting by fast-moving automobiles, (d) Splurging money for frivolous ends and so on.

To survive and endure in the modern world of business may not be taught in the business schools of present times while the challenges faced by the small-time retail store outlets in days gone-by were neither visible nor happening as a surprise package. The analogy comes from the fast disappearing Kirana shops and grocery stores traditionally owned by the region’s trading communities — Komtis and Banajigas. Even villages hosted at least one such retail source of virtually all necessities of daily life which could be had within whispering distance of resident’s dwelling. The biggies of the retailing sector first emerged as larger version of the now extinct Kirana shops and then the much-patronised departmental stores, followed by a chain of hyper markets. Lately, the urban spaces are hosting malls and multinational retail corporations.

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The process of death-knell to the next-door homely Kirana shop has only assumed pace and space similar to the proverbial big fish devouring the small fish. Even Flipkart, an indigenous e-retailing enterprise, is to soon lose its identity following the acquisition of its ownership rights by Walmart, a real whale of the retail business world.

May 16, 2018

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