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Contemporary Friends

26th Oct 2010
At sea, from Japan to Chile, (Voyage’s 24th Day, in Pacific Ocean.

Gaurav, my cheeky little insolent friend-cum- younger brother-like—cum- shipmate, tells me of how his real brother’s, who is a marine Chief Engineer, marital alliance had turned away after they learnt about Gaurav own reputation.(That’s what Gaurav feels was the reason behind their rejection). They never told his family directly the why of it, but before leaving they spoke of their knowledge of their own son being Gaurav’s classmate.
Ha, that happens!
--I said, as I thought of some such similar events in my own case. My own friend and his family had worked away one for me. It took long to come to terms with this, and indeed I could not and I do not intend to continue on that path anytime again.
In Sholay, Jai goes to Maami to seek alliance for his friend Veeru and does the same. Maybe, Jai does this because Veeru was his very close friend and a ‘partner in crime’, and as much a bachelor as Jai himself was. But in my case, my friend was married man, and surely as much a partner in crime as all contemporary clique are.
That brought me think of what are modern friends and their ethos are like.
Yesterday I was reading about the history of Exploration done by mankind. In my own thought I see myself too as some kind of an explorer sailing at sea. And, though, there is now hardly any place left where human beings have not put their mark, yet the eternity and continuity of ignorance over every new generation continues to produce explorer who still need to re-discover, at least for their own self and for their community, what the rest of the mankind may already have known. So what would we call these modern explorers as, who have otherwise nothing new to explore? Well, i thought that the olden explorers discovered facts of history, geography, science but Social Sciences are still the world of unknowns. That’s where the modern explorers may do their discoveries, and, in my case, by attempting to view my own family, culture, country and society – from an outside angle. To see what it looks and what it feels like.
Over here, i thought about having a look at these modern cliques as they settle down their old confusions and give birth to new confusions, marred by effects of today’s times – of technology, or increased scientific awareness, of cinemas and of the internet.
India has changed, we know that. Moved from villages to town to a very huge extent. And then that unthought-of the rate of change which surprised all the soothsayers. What did it make of our ethos and of our culture. As i viewed things in my case of friend’s treachery, I thought about how different was he from my own self? We were friends, but how much? Birds of same feather—in what sense? To what extent? We both shared some common ethos in the beginning that brought us together. That extreme parental control when we both had our backgrounds still hanging on the evolutionary past of the today’s India. The villages. The ethos of clique in the generation of our fathers was about moving to towns, but still not forgetting their own parents. That is what was the theme of Cinemas in those years,- of Upkaar, of how the educated lad Prem Chopra, in town was revelling in life forgetting his poor hardworking parents back in his village. The cinema ended on the note giving a message of how this prodigal lad had now found his right path of serving his family as well. The generation of our fathers perhaps then followed the same and gave good pressure/lessons on us not to be misguided away.
But then there were other cinemas as well that talked about friends. Golmaal, showed the new clique of Dev Barman and Amol Palekar helping out each other to win over the old, high-educated of his times, and of a rich class, the father--- played by Utappal Dutt. In Namakharam, Amitabh and Rajesh are actually some spoiled brats, trying to seek revenge from poor labour class workmen. The two are all into all so-called misdeeds.
In the most recent of life-theme cinema Udaan, the young boy is about all ‘misdeeds’ and still right in his ways to have snatched away his freedom from his father’s tyranny.
Admire how times have changed and so have the ethos of societies of different era.
How much ‘spoiled’ then is the spoiled guy of today, the sex-MMS-crazy generation?
How bad is Gaurav and how bad am I?
Truely bad, I say because, to have gone for an arranged marriage in the contemporary ethos is all about being living in-between, half in the ethos of our father’s times, and half to have enjoyed the pleasures of the modern metropolitan city’s times.
In today’s clique, there are friends- none so leading, and none so following to live under somebody’s fold. They are all so much competing even in their close friendship. They each represent and standout for what their ethos are. Ethos in these days of un-predictable economy recession is not at all about the economic well-being, about their hometown, about their school, about their college-degree, etc.
People of all background are often seen mingling with each other. The outspoken-ness is the more appreciated value. To speak it right there and promptly. These are the days of gender mixing. The adulthood of the second or third generation of co-ed school goers. The parents are thus very ‘understanding’ at times. They (incidently that includes myself too) are financially safe, most of them. And then, the money don’t matter as much. The girls don’t matter in the way of friendship.
These are the times of how many girlfriends or how many boyfriends did you have. Or you had atleast one at all or not? The generation seeks pleasure most of the times. In alcohols, in having premarital affairs, and then in getting over the love affairs through finding the next one, in pleasure-trips, in the “weekends”(which is about having office party, or a date, or a lovemaking session, or a multiplex movie, ). The ethos of the recent past are nearly gone which were perhaps like, the rich and the poor, the urban or the rural, the virtuous and the depraved druggist. What has emerged is the resultant of the conflicting ethos of the recent past, as a new evolutionary product. Thus, now everyone drinks, likes to go party, likes to have a love partner, and the economic status is not so much accounted for. There are only the financially-independents who can afford their own multiplex tickets, or the pleasure trips. There are no high achievers and the low achievers. Only the qualified ones, because the “markets” ( that includes, the share markets, the job market, the Opportunity’s loco-position) can its own game any day any time to swing fortunes. There are no urbans and rurals—everybody speaks English, likes English-cum-Hindi music and cinema. Everybody swear foul words. Everybody reads English newspaper, and the Sunday reviews and the sarcasm-filled articles in them. Humour is the new mode- the more fresh and new, the more trendy. Everybody has all that forwarded joke mails, and the inspirational mail, and the informative email, and all those SMSes.
But that doesn’t mean that this new culture is villain free.

Who are its bad boys, then?

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