Recently, I visited Phoenix Mills in Mumbai. The transition in this place is symbolic of the New India. Its what many cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok and others must have gone through in the past decade. We are seeing it for the first time in Mumbai.
Phoenix Mills is along a stretch of road that was until 15 years or so ago home to the various textile mills. It had slums lining the roads. It was a place one only went to by accident.
Today, this area in Central Mumbai has become the icon of all that’s new. The various mills (Phoenix, Morarjee, Kamala, etc.) have now become home to ad agencies, finance companies, publishing companies, law firms, telecom companies (and even us).
A part of Phoenix Mills now has a bowling alley, McDonald’s, Big Bazaar (India’s version of a hypermart), Planet M (a music store), something called Switch, Barista (the Indian answer to Starbucks), and Funkie Orbits. Stand in the area called “High Street Phoenix” and one could be at a mall just about anywhere in HK or Singapore.
This is the change happening across India. The old is giving way to the new. There is an energy, an optimism in the air. I cannot but contrast this with the news I get from and about the US (tech slowdown, layoffs, sniper shootings). I for one, am confident that the coming decade will belong to the world’s emerging markets, especially India and China. India’s government pulls us back, but its people, and especially its entrepreneurs, propel us forward.