Original fakes

Al Ngullie

It’s great that Adam and Eve hadn’t to worry if some fashion house might be trying to manufacture a cheap, fake version of the fig leaves which hung precariously on the two. Ok God was original enough. And the rest of us, are not we originals? Nope, just fakes that happened after Adam and his sweetheart decided to gulp down the forbidden fruit then got enlightened, got scuttled out of Eden and decided to multiply like rabbits on Amphetamine. So there, it’s only natural the world too would breed fakes, rip-offs, wannabes, cheapies, 3-grades and a nutty lot of such first-lookies. Let’s go through some stuff vulnerable to second-creations and duplication. 

   Let’s start with Jockeys. I just love forcing my wallet into severe dieting and just so I did after June’s salary. After my usual dose of sweating around for news and interviews, I rode off for Hong Kong Market for a nice set of Jockeys since my last one had begun looking like a G-string swimsuit that somehow survived the Hiroshima atom-bomb blast. Anyway instead of the usual store from where I get my stuff this time I figured to a different shop. The owner was a coal-black guy from somewhere Bihar. He showed me a rack full of underwear and boxers even Superman would envy. Striped, Checked, Polka-dotted, Nylon, woolen, cotton and there was even one that suspiciously looked like it might be plastic due to the sheen it gave off. Imagine going around coolly with a plastic underpants underneath. Anyway, I simply asked him if he sold Jockeys. “Zokey? Ase-to! Ase-to!” said the guy enthusiastically. Out came a box from the under-shelf. Then I noticed the dud – It wasn’t a Jockey, but Jokeey. I told the guy the thing was a fake. “Original ase, dada! Mumbai bura direct ani-shay!’ the guys protested and then begun on the thing that he never sells any “duplicate” stuff save originals. Then he took out another lot. They were not Jockeys, and not even Jokeeys for that matter but Joykeeys, Joyceys Joyks, Lux, Steve and even a Kalvin Clenn. So much for originals. I decided it was best to get Joykeeys...er...Jockeys at my usual Jack n’ Jill. And that’s not mentioning about the Nikes and Adidas, the Gucci and the Versaces You’ll find all the variants of the world over there.  

Then there are foodstuff rip-offs too. Summer Heat can be really cool if you happen to be a businessman with fiery ambitions to make hot cash from cold food. Well just make sure fiery commercial ambitions don’t burn up your pockets. Beware, because Journalists consume chilled food stuff too! And you never know they might be somewhere near you! Confused?  Well, read on!

   Yes, Journalists have to be continually out in the Sun which also means that joints selling chilled food-stuff are a favorite haunt to cool off after a hectic day of news-reporting. So like, after a severe bout of involuntary sunbathing news-reporting, I walked into this really famous bakery/provision store (located alongside Nyamo Lotha road towards Hong Kong market) and asked for a tam of Lassi (stirred curd). Well the Rs. 10 Lassi looked like a Lassi alright except that it reminded me of the floods in Assam. Why? Because, there was no Lassi in the Lassi but lots of Paani in the Lassi itself. Instead of chilled Lassi the thing was three-fourth water while the actual content of curd accounted only about a slim half-an-inch at the bottom. What’s more, the plastic pet can was deadly-transparent enough to make you think it might be suffering from vitamin deficiency by reason that there wasn’t on it any sort of label, registration number, manufacturing company’s listings, date of MFG etc which usually are characteristic of ‘honest’ food-brands with complete trade formalities. It was topped only in a thin silver foil and the can was so thin one could see inside it was all-water and only-half-an-inch curd.

Astonishingly, this particular food-by-default product was being sold in a store which is one of the most well-known food outlets in Dimapur and Nagaland. 

The non-local attendant behind the counter had no idea from where the water-ful Lassi had come. Also he had little awareness about consumer rights and that if people found out, the owners as well as the reputation of the store would face consequences more damaging than legal action or consumer-rights activists. Obviously, either the store itself was intentionally manufacturing and selling the faulty product to unwitting customers or some unscrupulous businessperson was making quick bucks supplying them. The Lassi tam was similar those manufactured by the popular local dairy corporation ‘Komul’. Perhaps, this particular store was cashing in on Komul’s popularity. And we’d thought only the likes of the Nikes, the Adidas, the Reeboks, the Guccis and the blah blah blah of the world got imitated.