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Offbeat: Writing

By Sapna Bhatia. July 2012

Image Credit: Reuters

As a journalist, I covered the closure of the open outcry trading at the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) in London - BBC Article.

Just before the closure, I had met the traders over pints of beer in a pub located conveniently next to the Oil exchange. These men had for many years walked into the pit in the exchange – flashing their jackets, talking through signs and haggling the best price. There was tension, stress, victory, laughter and camaraderie. One trader said, “Look at me, in the pit I am all over the place and now they will put me in front of the screen”. He was referring to the exchange being digitized to bring in more volumes. I spoke to some old time customers and they said that they felt more confident dealing with a person than a machine. But, the numbers of these customers was less.

I wondered, why couldn’t both systems co-exist? Why does the Big always swallow the Small?

https://theiddm.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/invest-in-artists-rebekah-joy-plett.jpg

I have lived with this question and suffered the consequences as a child. My father was a small businessman, but he was the King of ideas. The problem was after his idea became a success someone would do it on a bigger scale and knock him out of that business. The bigger business, obviously offered better price riding on economies of scale and standardization of products. This spelt doom on our family finances. We would see some prosperity and then the business would dry off.

On a larger scale this has been happening in the country as well. Mass produced goods have killed the small scale companies – the handloom weavers are a dying breed, local artisans are taking to different professions….you have heard these stories. Don’t get me wrong, I know as a consumer, I am spoilt with the cheap choice. I understand the goods made by big factories off shore are cheaper. But ,can I make some conscious choices to buy stuff from the small guy? I may enjoy coffee in the secure, comfort of a café owned by a big chain. But, can I also take the risk of walking into a small, local shop? By making these decisions I am not only saving the small but also keeping the option of choice open for me. If I don’t make these investments than I would only be left with the “Big” world. I came across this quote on facebook and it is pretty apt for the subject.

We had these thoughts in mind when we conceived Bringhomestories. Apart from many things it is also a platform for the “small”. This is a conscious exercise that we follow e.g the Bringhomestories rickshaws that are so much part of our brand identity have been made by Mr Ramniwas. He sits on the footpath in Lajpat Nagar market. You can see him twisting, rolling and shaping metallic wires. He is almost invisible and you have to make a effort to see him.Here is the man and some of his masterpieces.

Everytime, we order rickshaws and our greeted by a smile that has now become the part of our world. We know that we have saved the world of “choice” in which big and small can live happily.

Bring Home Stories Rickshaw

Related Links

uk.reuters.com/article/2012/01/16/oukoe-uk-markets-slang-forex-idUKTRE80C0LE20120116

www.firstpost.com/election/varanasis-weavers-dont-just-want-sops-they-need-nutrition-212438.html

www.guardian.co.uk/society/joepublic/2008/sep/03/communities


 

 

 

 

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