March 29, 2020
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Branded Mile

Branded Mile
CG Road in Ahmedabad is about as subtle as a transvestite. It sends out hints, signals and suggestions which combine gross cravings with grotesque desire. It has everything on loud display. Van Heusen, Louis Phillips, Arrow, Allen Solly, Benetton, Ray-Ban, Nike, Reebok-they have all staked out the road. There is jewellery, cosmetics, furnishing fabrics, gadgets and appliances, crockery and cutlery, clothes and fashion accessories. CG Road is almost a state of mind. Colaba Causeway in Mumbai looks decidedly grotty in comparison. Similarly, the pretentious shops in Delhi's South Extension are no more than a warren of rabbit holes. Keshav Verma, the high-profile municipal commissioner of Ahmedabad, has worked hard in recent months to keep CG Road in the news. It has been widened and cleared of junk and debris, an exercise which drove the local press to ecstasy and hyperbole. One scribe wrote that the road was now looking like a boulevard in Paris. One wonders if the reporter had ever been within nodding distance of a Paris boulevard. CG Road remains a strong signature of the city. At least a mile long, it is flanked on both sides by an immense concentration of air-conditioned space housing the power of brands of the world. Cool, serene looking Gujarati bens exchange wads of currency notes for whatever catches their fancy in these shops and then casually drive off in their Cielos or Opel Astras.

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