Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The "Nowheres"

This came up in a discussion I was having with a friend a few days back. He was trying to define people like him and me amongst the people of our kind, the upper-middle class, well educated young urban crowd. There were two extremes, and we lay in between.

There were the 'pseuds' who were distinctly different from the others in their propensity to talk in English (unconsciously, for some reason that seemed to be their first tongue), who had already had multiple trips abroad, who wouldn't be able to tell you the Chief Minister of their state, and for whom it had probably been years since they watched a Bollywood movie. No, these guys (for the most part) aren't snobs; they just hadn't grown up like us. They probably slept through Mahabharat when we sat glued to our TVs as kids, they probably ended up watching the English version of Duck Tales rather than the DD one.

On the other extreme were the 'desis', people who had typically come from the hinterland, who had seen English movies only in the passing, who still sing Hindi songs, whose first trip abroad was/is going to be really important for them, who can discuss Hindu mythology with passion, and who are only able to abuse in Hindi! These guys were the best from whichever part of the country they came from, and now into the city, are finding their roots again. Many of these will be the parents of the people like us, the third kind, the "nowheres".

We are a curious mix of the above two kinds. We know Beethoven and Bach and know Altaf Raja but prefer listening to someone like A R Rahman. We have seen the Westerns and Sholay and can laugh at Jim Carrey as well as Johnny Lever. We can talk of Greek mythology as well as whether Karan was the greater hero than Arjun. As conversationists, we are in demand everywhere, we can blend in any crowd. So, what you might ask is the problem?

The problem is when you start thinking about which place you should call home. Where and who do you belong to/with? It is difficult to find people who we can really bond with, who would understand us both ways, carry out a full-blooded conversation encompassing everything. The biggest problem in this obviously is in finding a person of the opposite sex who would be like this. I mean, the "nowheres" are never seen as the "nowheres", people take them either to be the first extreme or the second, and they aren't even able to identify each other. So, it is difficult finding another "nowhere" and then getting them to like you is a completely different and difficult proposition. And any relationship with a person of either extreme is never completely fulfilling.

It is a lonely world, my friend!


The Eternal Misfit said...

We are the nobodies
Wanna be Somebodies
We're dead,
We know just who we are


cathatfished said...

i completely agree with the "nowhere ppl" concept.. but i think there are a lot of ppl like that around.. see i grew up in small towns across india.. moved to delhi to study and work.. and i find so many ppl like me here.. thats one of the special things about our generation, so many of us are exploring newer ways to live, so many of us are exposed to so much more.. i for one am completely hybrid, what with kishore kumar and dire straits.. when i first moved to delhi i thought "oh my gawd there is cartier here!!" before that i had only read abt cartier in gayatri devi's memoirs!! but after so mnay yrs here now.. i think im a very pleasant hybrid.. a "nowhere" person for sure, but a more "whole" person nonetheless..

cathatfished said...

oh and i forgot to add.. when u do find another "nowhere-everywhere" person.. the sense of identification.. its worth the wait :)

Atish Dipankar said...

totally agree with u and cathatfished...i m a nowhere-everwhere person too and i wud like to think our tribe is increasing... i see them everywhere :)
"We know Beethoven and Bach and know Altaf Raja but prefer listening to someone like A R Rahman.." beautifully put :)

anonymous coward said...

Great post ... I could relate to it as if I had written it!

My childhood was pretty much desi (although I have spent all my life in Delhi) but now I am hitting the nowhere zone.

Still a desi at heart!!

Wanderer said...

[misfit] as true as it can get :)

[cathatfished] i somehow have not been able to find people like us; guess, haven't been looking hard enough :)

[atish] thanks! i don't think himesh would appeal to our tastes though :D

[a c] the point to ponder over is; how are our kids going to be? will they be able to retain the earthy touch or will they morph into the 'pseuds'?

Atish Dipankar said...

Himmesh or rather Hemu Bhai rocks man ...what say Anon Coward...I am a total fan !!

cathatfished said...

well u found four ppl right here, for one :D

anonymous coward said...

yo!! hemu bhaiyya all the way.

[wanderer] i think that the responsibility is entirely ours to see how our kids turn out. and it also depends to a great deal on how we as a society are able to make the younger generation appreciate our culture.