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Ups and Downs

Piccadilly today. Fair use

London is such a bright, electric place today, so different from the London of the Sixties, gloomy and depressing (apart from the pop & rock music scene, absolutely fantastic at that time: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Shadows, The Animals, The Who, The Kinks, Donovan, Pink Floyd etc.)

I remember a melancholy evening at Piccadilly Circus, August 1967, I think. It had been such a rainy day I was wondering why the hell I had decided to spend my much-awaited vacation in such a miserable climate.

Suddenly this guy came up to me asking cautiously if I wanted any blue movie. His face was so unusual since he was weirdly blonde but his skin was dark, this dirty offer making him look even more fishy (the colour combination struck me: I had seen only black Africans so far but surely no blonde guys like that.)

Italian scooters mass production (Lambrettas)

Well, that suspicious person’s episode in Piccadilly Circus became in my young mind like the symbol of a society I found decadent, static, conservative: everything looked old, demodé (cars, doors and windows handles, and those incredibly small houses with two floors and wooden creaky stairs.)

Italian society was instead very fast-moving at that time (see pictures above and below.) It had recently experienced its post-war boom together with Germany and Japan: the three big losers of WW2 had economies weirdly thriving, while the winners (in Europe) were stagnating.

Italy for instance was Europe’s China in some ways (although on a smaller scale) and produced very good (and cheap) products which swept the European and World markets. Italian cars, it is an example, were both inexpensive and excellent and were sold everywhere, from Europe to Russia and India.

Italian economic boom

London now, quite reversely, is not any more annihilated by the loss of her empire and is so future-oriented. Such a great capital again, London.

Italy, instead, struggling desperately to be once more dynamic is ending up in just stagnation.

The ups and downs of life.

About Man of Roma

I am a man from Rome, Italy. I’m 60 and a Roman since many generations. In my blog, manofroma.wordpress.com, I’m writing down my meditations. The idea behind it all is that something 'ancient' is still alive in the true Romans of today, of which few are left.

8 responses »

  1. Italian cars, it is an example, were both inexpensive and excellent and were sold everywhere, from Europe to Russia and India.

    Ah yes, Fiat was at one time the market leader and god of Indian car makers. Today its indian position is so bad that the company has withdrawn from the market and uses a local car maker Tata Motors for distribution. Tata though you may have heard of. They used to make defense vehicles for the british at one time during WWII. Today Tata is one of the biggest indian companies in a variety of fields.

    Your comparison reminds me of the Indian city of Kolkata which 20 years ago was predicted dead and stagnating but today is one of the most resurging cities in India. On the other hand Mumbai, India’s commercial capital is on the verge of stagnating.

    I think its a cycle, something blooms, and blooms, and blooms until it crumbles on itself and then rebuilds back only to crumble a few decades/years/minutes/secs later.

    Reply
  2. @Ashish
    Fiat was at one time the market leader and god of Indian car makers. Today its indian position is so bad ..

    I can understand. Fiat has gone through a big crisis. Now Fiat is a little better, but it is not what it used to be. They made *many* mistakes tho had some little successes, like Ferrari, which belongs to Fiat and has done well.

    Today Tata is one of the biggest Indian companies in a variety of fields.
    Yeah, I know Tata since the days I went to India the first time (u’ll see later in which occasion).
    I saw many busses with the name TATA on them, being often driven, strangely enough, by Sikhs who at that time seemed to me people linked in some way to transportation, do not know if it is right.

    I know TATA group is absolutely h-u-g-e. The TATA entry in Wikipedia gives an idea of TATA power: India’s largest conglomerate company, with revenues in 2005-06 of Rs. 967,229 million (US $21.9 billion), the equivalent of about 2.8% of India’s GDP operations in more than 40 countries across six continents and its companies export products and services to 140 nations.

    Wow, you are about to become emperor of the world, dear Ashish. So you are King, and AutumnSnow Queen, lol, being Chinese. I will be the cook at the palace, if you two want, since I am starting to learn how to cook.

    On the other hand Mumbai, India’s commercial capital is on the verge of stagnating.

    This surprises me and makes me sad because Mumbay or Bombay is the city I prefer in India, where by the way I spent my honeymoon, it is time for you to know THAT.
    I thought it was blooming together with modern India. Weird.

    Reply
  3. by Sikhs who at that time seemed to me people linked in some way to transportation, do not know if it is right.

    Well most of them are in the transportation biz, but Sikhs are mostly associated with import/export and transportation even here. Not all of them but most of them.

    This surprises me and makes me sad because Mumbay or Bombay is the city I prefer in India, where by the way I spent my honeymoon, it is time for you to know THAT.
    I thought it was blooming together with modern India. Weird.

    It’s still part of the old guard. Half of them refuse to advance. The main problem is that many of the buildings and stuff from the old days were never meant to hold such a volume of traffic that goes on now. It is way too overpopulated, lack of infrastructure and planning and the overall tendency to ape China rather than focus on India. They want to make Mumbai into Shanghai, why not make it a better Mumbai? :)

    Ooo, Honeymoon in India? lol. Most people won’t consider that today! :D

    Reply
  4. Ooo, Honeymoon in India? lol. Most people won’t consider that today!

    I do not understand why you say that. It was a great honeymoon and it occurred 30 years ago. I was into India even at that time. Maybe I was a bit ahead of time but now it strikes me how you Indians do not probably perceive – I might be wrong – how your world image is changing.

    Of course it takes *time* to be accepted in the so-to-say VIP circles because people are biased, so your world image still doesn’t correspond to your real cultural and economic power.

    Look at us Italians, smaller-case example tho rich (we are only 55 millions). Many people in northern European countries (UK, Sweden, Finland, Holland etc.) still do not understand why the hell we are in the Great 8 Club (G8) – sorta corresponding to the most developed countries. Of course we’ll be kicked out soon because of Cindia (which I accept because, let’s face it, we are tiny and you guys are 2.5 billion) but it makes me angry this silly laziness and narrow-mindedness. It really makes me angry. Which doesn’t mean much, I get angry easily now, as I said in a *post about anger*.

    I remember these guys from cold and rough weather who think they are so civilized while only a few generations ago they were total barbarians lol: they even tried to impede Spain, Italy and Portugal to join the Euro. Stupid of me to say that, I know.

    I’ll give you one personal example of India’s charm (India IS charming.) One of my sisters turned into a Hindu. Yeah, she is a follower of this saint, Sai Baba in Kerala (dunno know much about him tho). I suppose it is due to my father’s influence. He used to tell us stories about India, as I told Ish once. Since I have sisters and many female cousins my father made me often the main character of those tales (often pulling my leg in some way: not always a good relationship between us) and these stories 90% ended up with me coming back from India to Italy with many rich & beautiful Indian Maharajas, princes and all, so that ALL this enormous female population in my family could happily marry, be rich and happy. Plus he told us of course ALL Kipling tales his own way. Really his own way. Great storyteller, my father, but difficult father to live with, without a doubt.

    Reply
  5. Ah no no. I’m not talking about the whole of India, but the city of Mumbai which has become congested. Sort of like the Indian cricket team where seniors are losing favour to up and comers, same is happening to the cities. The older ones are going down, and newer ones come up, only for the older ones to come back rejuveneted. Something thats happening with the world, Rome the first super power collapsed, others came up and now Italy is slowly coming back up. Perhaps its the hindu coming out in me, but “This Shit happened before.” is sort of true. :P

    She is a follower of this saint, Sai Baba, in Kerala

    She’s in Kerala? Wow. I DO know about Sai Baba though, the one saint I revere most. [Technically I'm a Shiva the destroyers follower, but I won't discuss my complex worship plans] The reason? He strived for unity of humans over religional divide. Infact Sai Baba is from the same state that I am, Maharashtra. Shirdi is where Sai Baba lived and now theres a huge shrine there for him or so I’ve heard. I went there when I was 3 or 4 and don’t remember anything. :)

    Reply
  6. Atleast this time I won’t be sarcastic… Maybe … I’llbe alittle…

    @ man of Roma
    Regarding Sikhs… they are a damn jolly people and often the dumb character of our jokes let’s say an Indian version of Blonde… And they take jokes very sportingly…

    I remember A sikh friend me a joke once…
    Q. What is the similarity between a sardar(sikh) and a Donkey?
    A. 1. both look extremely cute when young
    2. both grow up to go into Transport businness.

    (Ps: it is not to hurt someone’s feeling)
    jus to give u an idea as the amount of sikhs going to transport biz.

    @ Ashish
    >>Ooo, Honeymoon in India? lol. Most people won’t consider that today!

    Jus one question… most people won’t consider what
    1> Honeymoon or
    2>honeymoon In India
    lol

    Reply
  7. @Ashish
    @Falcon
    I will reply to both when I have time. To Ashish about Sai Baba (I know so little, but it is interesting). To Falcon about what he just said. Best regards

    Update. Could not: too busy fighting against cold :-(

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Us and the Hyperboreans. 1 « Man of Roma

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