sMALL tOWNESS oF bEING

Six years in Delhi introduced me to three types of people; Big towners and small towners. And Prashant introduced me to the really small towners. Go***d is a big towner. I am a small towner and Prashant, in his own words is a really small towner.
So that should be Delhi, Lucknow and Faisabad .
This distinction is not really as bad as the caste system, but almost nearly. While the big towner is curious, whether Lucknow has internet, the small towner and poor cousin, the even smaller Towner, are wondering, “how’d we make it to your terrain?”
But the big towner insists and “I say, of course!”
“Do you have Mac Donald’s?”
“No.”
“You have Cable TV.”
“Listen, I don’t know what impression you have of small towns, but I think you should really go and have a look yourself.”
“So if everything is so cool there, why do you have to come to Delhi?”
No answer to that.

One year in the film industry has taught me the “other kind of small towness.” This one is a residue of the “struggler, Andheri-surburban culture.”
The one that’s filmy enough to find its roots in Naach and branch into Bunty aur Babli. Bunty aur Babli, the “chote chote sheroan ke crooks.
So the small towners, the over ambitious complexed individuals, are going about reminding half the industry that some very successful industry wala’s are small towners too. Meaning, our potential is not really new to you.
But till the “jhola utha kar chale” tune lingers we have little to contribute to the 1500 shoes-collectors or the “my wife bought me a Rs.80, 000 watch, and I’ve already lost it” type conversations.
Meanwhile, Prashant, the even small towner nudges me fervently, and says loud enough for both my ears to hear.
“I don’t ever want to be a part of that group. I just want to do good work.”
“I know that.” I say.

It was interesting to notice that some big towners, (those not from SPV) really respect the small towners; “the sweet and simple people.”
Now SPV is actually another kind of people, and I won’t get into that yet.
I’m still learning the language, and what is condescending and what is not.
My teacher at La Martiniere, could have said, “My dear ignoramus,” and meant, “My dear small towner,” at SPV, Delhi.

At a recent page three types Delhi party, I was introduced to something new.
“So are you also a Dilliwaali?”
“No I just did my higher education from here, I’m from Lucknow.”
“Oh, you”er Lucknowvi, how nice!”
Lucknowvi! I know, just like the kebabs, right? I said to myself.
And I was right; the conversation lingered on to Kebabs, Urdu, and of course Mujra’s.
“Hey, you must have been to Mujra’s so many times.”
“No just once, and that was in Delhi, at a private party like this.”
“How disappointing, I would have gone many times, if I was that close to them.” She said.
“I don’t think there’s Mujra happening in Lucknow, any more, unless you are confusing it with Kathak.” I said under my breath. Anyway she was fairly gone under the influence of a certain steel hash pipe my friend was humoring women with.

I haven’t met Go***d in such a long time. But I have met many like him since. Sweet people, all of them. I like him. I like Prashant too.

And honestly, if my mindless writing has hurt anyone’s sentiments, especially SPV’s, I apologize a trillion times. We usually get away with the small towness of being.

Comments

Gunjan said…
Very true article ...much appreciated.. although we are seeing Mujras now a days in Delhi only these SPV can't make a difference between Mujras and Kathak..very frankly they are Hippocrates..
Good work keep it up.
Dhruv Mookerji said…
Hello...
This is more of a link up than a comment to your post. Though I really liked the pics. Lemme know when you're coming with big boss to srfti...
and tell gogo roy to get himself a blog!!!!
Nizam said…
I identify !

~ek kanpuriya

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