India as on 16th April 2008 April 16, 2008Posted by astralwicks in 21st century India, Blogging, Culture, india, Personal, Politics, POV, Random, Thoughts, Writing.
Tags: aristocracy, bumpkins, City, culture vulture, fool, POV, town, village
I met up with friends as usual after work. We talk small talk. What do friends talk after a long friendship? There are long periods of silences sometimes. And nobody feels awkward. The tv sometimes plays in the background. Other times, we have music for company. There is also wine. Red preferably. Most of us also have quit smoking, which is commendable.
Anyways, this post is not about friends or friendship. It is what one of my friends said in the midst of all the talk. He said that he is increasingly disliking the country; its people. Some years back it would have elicited a vehement reaction from me. My father used to continuously criticize India when I was a child.
He liked Europe and its precision, order and professionalism. My streak of patriotism was largely reactionary – to oppose his constant dislike of India. If he was not so vocal, probably I would have contributed to the brain drain. That notion anyways is old. The world has shrunk. Have money, will get visa. But even in the early 90’s my world was not as open as it is now.
I think we were discussing honking; that perennial problem. How rude, insensitive, foolish and thoughtless. How can the educated, the chic, the literate, the illiterate all be so partial to the horn when all vital signs on a given stretch of road unilaterally mean 1 thing – immobility? Was I as conscious of this fact when I used to travel less? Yes. Will I be as cautious of it when I have my personal car with good insulation and all? Yes, because it hurts.
But horns cannot make us hate one’s country. That’s extreme, we all agreed.
Something was niggling? What?
Everywhere you look, people are spitting. Is spitting the reason?
People bumping against you? Problem of space probably, we argued.
People want to throw us out of Bombay?
Police corruption best exemplified by the Scarlette murder in Goa?
Missing organs from Scarlette’s body?
Bollywood copying films ad – nauseum and justifying it?
Our propensity to dirty first and then destroy public property?
Perpetually stupid Pop music that talks only of love?
Our obsession with castes?
Our obsession with color?
Our suspicion of a person who doesn’t speak the same language?
Who doesn’t wear the same kind of dress?
Police abusing common folk?
Our pride in our languages, regions, customs, traditions but not in common decency?
Our obeisance to dynasties?
Lack of idols?
Do people of 30+ have idols? They have stupid. They have.
Do these things matter? Should we be blind and move on. Happy at double digit growth and T20 matches and Bollywood at Madame Tussauds and burgeoning Television and celebrity gossip?
Has age finally caught up with us? Are we old now, out of sync with the young India? What does the young India want? What did we as youngster’s want? Cricket and more of cricket.
We also wanted The Doors. We wanted a repeat of Woodstock. We wanted the hippy to be back. We wanted Nirvana and grunge.
Now we listen to electronica and minimal. We dance to club numbers (in private though). That’s how things change and we don’t even know. We want perpetual euphoria and no sadness. We want victory at all costs.
Victory at all costs.
Jump the lane, the line, the queue, push, trip but move on.
Yes, this is what the new country wants. The new country doesn’t want the old country. The old country of cows and power-cuts. The new doesn’t want the slow to hamper their rush. The city doesn’t want the town and the town doesn’t want the village. The village hates itself. It moves to the city and the city hates the bumpkin. The slow creature from the dust-bowl. And the slow creature learns to honk, to push, to trip.
Still they will not like each other. Both know what they have lost and can’t reclaim unlike the sea or river. Both can’t go back. And they move on. They have to join the nation in motion. Or they will be lost, forgotten and trampled.
And I will become a hateful poor aristocrat. Full circle. Everybody hates the other.