It?s ?pehle aap? to corporate culture | india | Hindustan Times
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It?s ?pehle aap? to corporate culture

LAIDBACK LUCKNOW is now moving on the fast lane. Ever wondered, what has brought about this change to the ?babu? city? It couldn?t be Malls alone. Think again. Yes, it?s the steady influx of corporate houses into Lucknow during the last few years that has changed the city?s lifestyle. They have come, so have their culture ? a phenomenon that has virtually forced many of us into the lure of that elegant CEO lifestyle.

india Updated: Apr 02, 2006 02:03 IST

LAIDBACK LUCKNOW is now moving on the fast lane. Ever wondered, what has brought about this change to the ‘babu’ city?

It couldn’t be Malls alone. Think again. Yes, it’s the steady influx of corporate houses into Lucknow during the last few years that has changed the city’s lifestyle. They have come, so have their culture — a phenomenon that has virtually forced many of us into the lure of that elegant CEO lifestyle. Not that Lucknow does not have its usual set of problems in its underbelly, but there is certainly a perceptible change in the way life moves on here — with more people jumping into more cars, to buy more brands, at more malls. That’s Lucknow in 21st century and the party, they say, has just begun.

The party has begun all over the city. Just keep your ear to the ground to feel the city’s changing lifestyle and skyline. And for the corporate tribe, life is not about living out of credit cards but real hard cash. It’s the kind of life the hard-cash wielding corporate brigade live.

So brands that Lucknow did not hear of till the other day is here to stay (albeit their shelf life is sort as they are picked up as soon as they arrive).

Imagine that the city is host to 15 regional offices of corporates, banks and insurance majors. All these have opened since 2004 and are occupying prime floor space in Lucknow’s prime business locations of Gomti Nagar, Shahnajaf Road, Mahanagar and Park Road, where property prices are soaring beyond the affordability levels of many mid-sized corporates.

When the old Lucknowite splits his hairs to park his small car in Hazratganj, a large or mid-sized vehicle honks to make him aware of the reality. It’s time to give way to the emerging corporate culture.

Now, the city is witnessing a rise in theme parties. At city’s expensive hotels, executives raise the toast with imported red wines and scotch whisky. These clubs are replete with senior corporate managers, for whom evenings mean a live band some two miles away from the madding crowd.

To catch up with the corporate buzz, some city hoteliers have introduced service apartments — expensive apartment sized hotel rooms to house and entertain executives on the move.

The skyrocketing salaries of CEOs and middle level managers have triggered a unique “role model” concept for the young and cash-rich executives, who are virtually copying the expensive lifestyles of their seniors.

“I agree that these neo role models have sparked off a new consumption behaviour pattern here. Even corporate mannerisms of CEOs and regional heads of corporates are being aped by the juniors. Young executives in Lucknow are buying premium branded clothes and ala boss carrying latest gadgets to the office. This trend has been noticed and some of the world’s finest consumer brands have landed in Lucknow in just two years,” said State co-ordinator of the Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Anant Jauhri.

In fact, even two years back it was hard to spot Nike and Reebok brand shorts, T-Shirts and shoes in Lucknow. Earlier, executives used to shop these brands in Delhi. Nowadays, anyone can grab these global brands from a Hazratganj outlet or mall showroom.

And at these malls, the tring can easily attract you to the flashy mobile sets. And if you chance spot a corporate executive, you cannot miss the GPRS-enabled Nokia Communicator or the Blackberry. After all, the busy corporate man needs to access and send e-mails while on the move.

Senior corporate executives find shopping in malls a pleasure in Lucknow. Now the buying pattern had changed so much that when you go for purchasing five shirts, you end up picking eight shirts in a mall.     

And in electronics. There is a huge jump. A year back when Plasma TVs were being promoted by brand leaders such as Samsung, LG and and Philips India in Lucknow, corporate executives lined up to buy them. Even a price tag of over Rs 1 lakh was affordable to them.

Manoranjan Sahoo, head of the Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company Ltd (UP & Uttaranchal), loves going on a shopping spree whenever he is back in Lucknow after criss-crossing across Uttar Pradesh.

And what does he pick up while shopping? “Corporate people want to look presentable so all the accessories they wear is of global quality”, he said.

Thanks to the likes of Sahoo, outlets such as Marks & Spencer (where a pair of trousers could cost you Rs 5000) are making good business in the city.

But the passion to spend is such that Sahoo has been changing cars almost every year. “I had an Opel Corsa and now a Hyundai Accent. I am planning to buy a Toyota Innova as my kind of job involves lot of traveling and the SUV fits the bill,” he said. Like Sahoo, Nitin Saxena, vice-president, Karvy Consultants Ltd, Lucknow, likes to holiday abroad as well as in India. “As far as cars are concerned I still have a Maruti 800 and will upgrade to a Zen shortly. As far as shopping goes, visiting malls in Lucknow is a real pleasure,” he said.

Mayank Chandra, branch manager of the Zurich-headquartered Adecco PeopleOne Consulting, said, “Double income families with total annual salaries of Rs 16 lakhs or more have brought great spending power to Lucknow”.