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How do you sleep at night?



Hindi movies post-independence and pre-liberalisation often compared the quality of sleep the rich had vs the not so rich. The rich might have had the soft beds in their ‘palaces’, but it never could match what the street dwellers had on their side – a clear conscience. Inherent in this was the suggestion that if you were honest in license raj India, you would be living on the streets anyways.

This was an important message in those days. To help the not so rich majority cope with their lot and not feel too resentful. The pre-dominant mood of the nation which at some stage boiled over in the form of the angry young man.

Couple of decades of beyond Hindu rate of growth later, we have another predicament. The co-existence of people living in the agrarian, industrial and knowledge age.


While the first lot serves as inspiration to the other two scrambling to send their kids to English medium schools to escape their lot, they have a problem of their own. Now a sizeable population (addressable market), this lot sometimes struggles to sleep in theirtwo or three or more BHK palaces.

Not necessarily because they worry about their honesty, but something else is keeping them awake at night. The question – what price do we pay to get here? At a more obvious level, the price seems to be the stress, the long hours at work, the never ending week, the vanishing time for our loved ones, loved pursuits, the toll it takes on our health…

The real worry is perhaps the sum total of it all. What kind of a person we are turning out to be in this chase. Or worse, what ugly truth about ourselves are we revealing to ourselves. As we struggle to live up to our ideals of being a good son, brother, parent, spouse, human wondering if we have become the palace dwellers we once despised.

And so today it is the relatively rich that need the coping mechanism.

And for that, ironically, they need the ones on the street. Daan-punya has always been our way of earning brownie points – with the powers up there or the voice in our head.

Not surprisingly, if KBC was the idea of early liberalisation, Satyamev Jayate is the idea of today. You don’t call to become a crorepati, you call/sms to give.

Many brands have woken up to this reality, lifting social do good from the peripheral to right at the core of their idea. Resolving a conflict which lies at the very heart of consumption, by making consumption itself a force of good.

I am certainly not complaining. It would be a good day (night) when to sleep well, no one will need to live on the streets!

Maybe it’s time then to revisit what your strategy articulates as insight. And see if you spot a ‘problem’ there?