the whole nine yards

We are the tropical modern. The sahibs may have translated our texts into English. Hollywood’s celebrities have helped us rediscover yoga and our own godmen. But as the new middle class gets wealthier, as the NRI need for ‘Indian culture’ spurs a return to the root, as the competitive economy sends us scurrying to the Upanishads, we have never been so comforted or so decorated by India. We mix family with fun, God with surround sound and martinis with Mallikarjun Mansoor. Six decades after Independence, we are unapologetic about our freedom to choose.

– Sagarika Ghose

“Lassi on the Rocks” in Marie Claire ( June 2008 )

Amen. There is an India which grows more liberated by the day. incorporating myriad cultures, philosophies, ways of living, characters and characteristics, worlds within itself, it is now a brand in its own right. a brand name which is a harbinger of all that is exotic and the erotic (India is still probably most famous for kama sutra).

the cocktail generation doesn’t need reason to run out partying, rocking to angrezi music, drinking cans of imported beer, sing and head bang under the sun, under the sometimes admonishing gaze of tradition. but we are equally ready to sing the national anthem with our hands on our hearts and our minds in the right place. the choice remains- and the freedom to make those choices we proudly claim as ours today.

it is the flight of the phoenix. which rose from the ashes more than half a century ago. and now, Donna Karan, Louis Vuitton and Walmart all want to be a part of this steep flight alike. Now Bollywood can boast of a truly global audience. Now, the Indian middle class becomes the jet-setter, globe-trotter sort, with the world lying an open book, yearning to be explored, before them.

We’re going places bay-beh!


2 thoughts on “the whole nine yards

  1. “We’re going places bay-beh!”..

    Well not quite. Embodied euphoria, unending hope and tales of blossoming fortunes. So perfect. Yet there is a facet that stands unnoticed in the blinding glitz. For starters let us put things in perspective.

    1.Poverty=35% (by national estimates) (almost50% by $1 a day estimates)

    2.Malnutrition=49% (higher than malnitrition in Africa).

    3.Unemployment on the rise.(about 9%, higher than the 1990s).

    4.One farmer suicide every 45 minutes.

    Are “WE” really going places? India is Shinning???

    Why go places, we still have a lot of catching up to do, bay beh!!!

  2. Anand,

    All of what you say is true. No one can deny it, no one can prove it otherwise. But i’m not even talking of any of that.

    This post is about coming to terms with the notion of being Indian, by Indians. It is about not feeling inferior, to the rest of the West. It is a matter of pride, even boasting, to know that you come from this place called India. It’s about acceptance. About feeling at par.

    All the reasons you mentioned above should be strong enough to make any insolent fool realise that we have a long way to go as far as development is concerned. But that does not mean that we negate all that we have achieved. Namely, coming into a claim of our own. Yes, it is the few rich who can do that, but the middle classes of the nation, which contained elements of i-wanna-run-away-to-beautiful-clean-america have reduced. THAT’s what I’m talking about.

    And, optimism isn’t a crime, y’know.

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