The term ‘family business’ is used to be associated with a commercial enterprise – like a shop, or restaurant, or other service provider – wholly owned and, partially or wholly, run by people related to each other. A family business was a way for the family to make money by getting other people to spend their money.
This meaning of ‘family business’ has recently been inverted in a process by which families, any and all families, spend money so that other, unrelated people can make it.
How has this happened? The latter-day Einstein of that science of money-making known as marketing has devised a new ‘Theory of Relativity’, the workings of which dictate that having a family, having relatives, oblige expenditure on your part.
As almost everyone has some family – often a lot, in a country like India where parivar is paramount – this entails recurring financial outgoings from kith and kin and a regular source of revenue for non-family folk who operate establishments providing all manner of goods and services.
In May we had an officially declared ‘Mother’s Day’, leading up to which everyone was exhorted by in the print and other media to show appreciation of Mom, for being Mom, by giving her a treat, like a box of chocolates, or a eat in a swank restaurant, or any other token of thanksgiving which involves monetary outlay.
This month there’s ‘Father’s Day’, when it will be Dad’s turn to be feted by being bestowed with all manner of goodies, like aftershave lotions redolent of pine forests, or a pair of designer track shoes branded with an emblematic ‘Whoosh’ which in sign language urges one to ‘Just do it!’
If Mom and Dad come, can Nani and Nana be far behind? And while Moms and Dads come in twos, Nanas and Nanis tend to come in fours, which means double the cost of felicitating them, and all the more reason for some bright sales spark to come up with Grandmother’s Day, and Grandfather’s Day.
Then there could be Auntie’s Day and Uncle’s Day, Niece’s Day, and Nephew’s Day, Daughter’s Day, and Son’s Day, Wife’s Day, and Husband’s Day. Not to forget the in-laws. We could have Mother-in-Law’s Day, Father-in-Law’s Day, Sister-in-Law’s Day and Brother-in-Law’s…
Thanks to marketing strategy, our Family Days might become our Family Daze.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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