Why it is better to be “charming like India” rather than “hot like China”
In 2004, most of Mrs. Neo’s friends were surprised when she announced that she had broken up with a rather handsome Ganesh and was engaged to marry the very skinny-looking Neo. Yes, they said, Neo was sort of smart, charming and funny, but – he’s so skinny!
It was a brilliant decision by Mrs. Neo – Neo started working out soon after he got married, and the rest is history.
(Single folks are now probably thinking that Mrs. Neo must be thrilled about how things worked out. Married folks of course, know better: There is not one visitor to Neoville that has not heard Mrs. Neo’s 45-minute sob story of how terrible the Neos’ wedding pictures look. Although, encouragingly, yesterday Mrs. Neo did spare the neighbors cousin who just happened to stop by for some sugar. Neo’s frantic silent-begging motions from the other room might have also helped.)
Tongues will always wag, but the truth is that Neo had nothing to do with Mrs. Neo’s decision to dump “part ways amicably with” Ganesh. That was all Ganesh’s doing. As the average reader* will probably agree, haranguing Mrs. Neo constantly about how she was damaging the environment every time she dried her hair wasn’t exactly the best way to soften her up for a marriage proposal.
The breaking point for Mrs. Neo was probably when she came home one day and discovered that Ganesh had entered her apartment using his copy of her apartment keys (oh yes, they had exchanged keys, and almost rings), and thrown out her brand-new Calphalon cooking set – because he felt strongly that “steel is healthier than Teflon!”. Perhaps Ganesh should have done what all sensible men do – wait until after he got married to let out his inner control-freak.
But this post is not about gloating or about pointing out that Ganesh is still single. Nor is this post about the priceless look on Mrs. Neo’s friends’ faces when they see the “neo-Neo physique” – it is about India, specifically India vs China:
Don’t let the make-love-not-pollution liberals fool you – there is an epic competition brewing between India and China. Economic growth is not a zero-sum game, but there is a limited supply of oil, food, water. skilled labor and demand for shoddily cheaply manufactured goods in the world.
At its heart, any bet on India (such as investing in India, or moving to India for career reasons) is a bet that (much like Neo’s shoulder measurements) India’s problems, while serious, can be fixed in the not-so-distant future.
Neo can argue (and is arguing) that it is easier to increase growth and fix infrastructure/governance issues when you have a fundamentally free and a highly educated population (i.e. India) than it is to try and control a repressed and un-free people forever by bribing them with fake economic growth (i.e. China).
Neo’s day job allows him some access to Indian government officials, and one of them remarked to him last week – “the problem with China is that its GDP growth numbers are decided three years in advance, while the problem in India is that we can’t agree on what the GDP growth numbers were three years ago.”
Yes, this is the age of Twitter, and so like most other things in life, the India vs China problem can be reduced to a 140-character bumper sticker: “I may be fat, but you’re ugly and I can diet!.”
Epilogue: Yes, Neo does sound like an Indian fanboy at times. Well, at least he didn’t have to hack through a poor-Cisco-imitation firewall (yes I’m looking at you, Huawei) and risk death-by-being-eaten-alive-by-worms or worse, death-by-being-forced-to-eat-worms just by posting this.
(Disclaimer: No skinny people were insulted in this post. Also, Mrs. Neo now says it is untrue that skinny men are unattractive. It would be nice if Mrs. Neo had realized this 78,344 hours in sweaty gyms and $19351.23 ago).