Thursday 9 January 2014

Ubiquitous India : No 2 - The Plastic Chair

I have to admit, I am not being original in observing the ubiquity of the moulded plastic chair in India - it was noted in an article by the BBC entitled "10 things you might not know about India - No 6. Everywhere you go, you see plastic chairs". And it is so true!  There are plastic chairs absolutely everywhere! Plastic chairs at weddings, plastic chairs sat on by guards, plastic chairs on boats, plastic chairs in schools, plastic chairs on the pavement, etc etc etc.  Plastic chairs are also nearly always lined up outside roadside cafes (dabbas). They come in a rainbow of colours and designs. Most are plain, some are fancy. Some are more comfortable than others.

So stackable and manoeuvrable that you can even get a load on the back of a bike!

But why so ubiquitous?  Well moulded plastic chairs are of course cheap; cheap to manufacture and cheap to buy.  They have an amazing space saving, stackable design - so important in crowded India. Plastic chairs are colourful and cheery. They are easy to wash and they are monsoon proof. They are almost disposable and can also be easily recycled via India's plastic recycling plants. Although I suspect they have quite a long life in the first place.  Plastic chairs are great for any 'bulk' situation such as weddings (where guests typically number 1,000 upwards), conferences, pop concerts and ceremonies. 

The use for the Indian plastic chair really is endless.  It is surely impossible to go a whole day in India without seeing a plastic chair....test yourself next time you are out and about!

Here is a selection of photos from my archive ....I didn't even need to make an effort to find these:

Child does her homework on one - Delhi

Ooooh fancy with a flower design - roadside dabba near Karnala

Ganesha Chaturthi celebration at The Pandits

You can cram a plastic chair into the smallest of pavement shops

I found this stack of chairs near our apartment - going somewhere I assume

Comfortable enough to fall asleep in......

Above & Below: Setting up for an impromptu pop concert on Carter Road

I found this mini-stack outside the catering truck on a Bollywood shoot in Horniman Circle

On the top deck of a houseboat in Kerala - these ones are built for extra comfort!

Being used by the police on a roundabout during New Year's Eve traffic management
I was disappointed to observe that instead of having plush leather seating in the
lobby to our own building - we have plastic chairs!


  1. This is funny, and I have just realized it!...I was in India last week for my wedding (I am Italian, married to an Indian and living in the US); it wasn't my first time there but I had never noticed this "plastic chairs obsession" reading this post makes me smile...thank you and congrats for your blog

    1. Thank you! Now you know that it is impossible to go a day without seeing one...!

  2. Did not realise how handy these chairs are. Some are much more decorative than any seen here in the US. Suspect you have them in your lobby to keep anything posher from making their way to Chor Bazaar!

  3. Thanks for making me see my MumbaI with new perception :)

  4. I'm really enjoying this series. Thanks a lot for sharing, and I'm looking forward to seeing the other ones!

    1. Thanks Neil and thanks for visiting BombayJules!



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