Rahul Bose’s bananas & the age of convenience
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Rahul Bose’s bananas & the age of convenience

August 24, 2019

On July 22 at 2.30 pm our hearts swelled with pride as Chandrayaan-2 took to the skies, just two hours later another event got us even more excited — the cost of actor Rahul Bose’s bananas ! 

Rahul Bose was staying at a 5-star hotel in Chandigarh, he went to the gym and when he got back to his room he felt like a “potassium” fix; so he ordered bananas and he was shocked. No, not by the size but by the cost. It was Rs. 442.50 !  

He was upset that a banana, a ubiquitous fruit in the Indian diet, should cost so much. So upset was he that he made a video about it and shared it with the world — as if it were a gross injustice that the world needed to hear about and be warned about. 

Phew! Thank God he got the rather long Cavendish bananas, God only knows what he would have done if he had been given the tiny Elaichi banana — he probably would have made a short documentary. 

We wonder if Rahul Bose ever thought we feel the same way when we pay an exorbitant amount for a ticket in a multiplex, popcorn and cola while watching his movies? At least bananas are guaranteed to give him a potassium fix when eaten but in case of movies we may not even get our entertainment fix after spending all that money. 

We are sure, Rahul Bose and his film fraternity will defend the multiplex cost citing better ambience, quality of food and service. They may even suggest we go to a single screen theatre if cost is an issue.  

There is a price for luxury. Even the price for a coffee changes every 100 meters depending on the type of outlet and service. A cart will sell coffee for Rs. 5, a small restaurant for Rs. 15, a Nalpak for Rs. 24, a Café Coffee Day for Rs. 150 and Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel for Rs. 350.  

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But why are 5-Star hotels expensive? Well, as the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) explained, unlike a retail store where bananas could be purchased at market price, a hotel offers service, quality, plate, cutlery, accompaniment, delivery to the room, sanitised fruit, ambience and luxury, and not just the commodity alone. 

When is the last time any rich Indian saw the right side of the menu? In fact the joke is if you eat at a 5-Star hotel’s restaurant it’s advised not to look at the right side of the menu, lest you get a heart attack. If Rahul Bose was as conscious of his cash as his calories, then he should have checked the price of the fruit platter before going bananas looking at the bill !! 

Luxury is about exclusivity, be it hand bags or cars or hotels and it comes with a hefty price. Just like how Nestle tea, that Rahul Bose endorsed, costs more than regular unbranded chai patha. 

Now, why couldn’t Rahul Bose simply walk across the road and pick up a banana? Even better, since he is a gym rat, why doesn’t he carry a dozen bananas and keep in his room? Probably because today urban-rich suffer from two problems — Audacity of Affordability and Lethargy induced by Convenience. It is not a Rahul Bose problem, it’s a problem across the Nation. 

Most technological innovations are driven by the need to make life convenient. Once it does, we become slaves to convenience. Just a few years ago we slowly stopped getting up to do things. 

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First it was the TV remote. Then even ceiling fans got a remote. Then both our clothes and dishes could be washed and dried by a machine. Then we could just click and shop for grocery, clothes and cars. Now, all this can be done by just instructing your digital “home assistant” named Alexa to do it. 

More recently things have gotten even crazier as we don’t even have to cook to eat, you just have to touch an app called UbberEAT or Swiggy it. Soon to be released are driverless cars, and even a bed that wakes you up with a soothing alarm and then gently moves you up, putting you in a seated position to get out of bed! 

Of course, technology has made life convenient and helped us save time. It has been a boon for people with disabilities and the elderly. Convenience adds to one’s comfort in life, but too much of it can be counter-productive, for both, one’s physical health and financial health. 

While convenience saves time, what do we do with this time? Do we all spend it productively? Do we follow our passions, exercise or spend time with family?  Or do we plunk ourselves on sofas watching Netflix and browsing through other people’s social media pages feeling envy? 

People who complain about costs seldom take action to reduce it because the convenience outweighs cost. So while Rahul Bose was outraged by the cost of two bananas and spent time making a video of it, all he had to do was just step out and pick it up — Good for health and good for the pocket. Sometimes inconvenience has its benefits, both physical and financial. 

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