Since 1984, a company called PNC has been doing the PNC Christmas Price Index by tracking costs of items mentioned in the folk song The Twelve Days of Christmas. Though light-hearted, it does its research seriously and gives important insights. For instance, when it first started, goods were more expensive, but now services have become more expensive. This year, the CPI made news when, for the first time, the True Cost of Christmas (cumulative cost of all items through all their repetitions), exceed $100,000.
But, what if it were outsourced to India? Here’s what we got. True cost of Christmas in India: (1 partridge + 1 pear tree x 12 days) + (2 turtle doves x 11 days) etc. = Rs. 725,740 (about $14,015.83). A saving of 85.9 percent.
Selling partridges in India is illegal. We suggest a quail, for Rs. 150. With a small potted pear tree (Rs. 200), that comes to Rs. 350 a set, half the US cost.
Two Turtle Doves
Turtle doves aren’t indigenous to India. May we recommend pretty white pigeons instead? A pair would set you back about Rs. 1,000.
Three French Hens
The French didn’t stay long enough to impact poultry. Except in Pondicherry. We figure hens there have enough of a French accent. Cost: Rs. 450.
Four Collie Birds
Once more, not Indian. But could we interest you in some fine koels? Price: Rs. 8,000. If you still insist, we assure you the koel has a very fine voice indeed.
Five Golden Rings
For five wedding bands, with about four grammes of gold each, and with a good deal on the making costs from our family jeweller, we would charge Rs. 56,630.
Geese aren’t too easily available in India. But we know a guy who knows a guy, and can get them at Rs. 1,500 each.
The PNC index puts swans as the costliest on the list. Here, it’s worse. It starts at Rs. 125,000. Each. Source swans locally. We can provide the wading pools.
Like PNC, we went with minimum wages. Unskilled dairy labour would be about Rs. 80 per hour. You will be providing the cows, yes?
Bollywood dancers would be happy to get freelance work, what with the goras trying to nab their jobs. Keep the cheques for Rs. 1,500 (each) ready.
Our closest equivalent to lords sit in our Rajya Sabha. Instead, some kallaripayattu experts? Fee: Rs. 1,500 per hour per person.
You need a professional troupe? That’s Rs. 30,000 an hour. But if the musicians in our wedding processions work for you, its Rs. 5,000 an hour.
Our drummers are enthusiastic, and they get a lot of practice with all our religious processions. Rs. 5,000 an hour for the troupe.
Note: All rates applicable in India only. No shipping (or visa charges) included.
P.S. : The print version of this article listed the cost of maids as Rs 800 per hour, It is actually Rs 80. The error is regretted