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The Young & The Pretentious

By Nishant Boorla 
“I don’t want to be a product of my environment.”
                                               - Frank Costello, The Departed
Fortunately, he isn’t the only one who feels that way. We all do what we do to satisfy our giant EGOS. It’s true. You may occasionally spot the one selfless man who seems to have no ego whatsoever. One who gets along with everyone around him. One who doesn’t take anything to heart. It’s possible but that only means he makes a conscious effort to keep his ego to himself. Did I burst a bubble there?

I was once told making a sacrifice for a friend is the highest honour you can bestow upon him. I was told a sacrifice is an act of great selflessness. But it’s hard to take that seriously. It has never been about the other person. It has always and will always be - about us. It’s human nature to take every situation around us and see what we gain from it. Which is why I find it particularly difficult to take the word “selfless” seriously.

Here’s an example. I walk in to an ice cream parlour. I want Belgian Dark Chocolate and I want it badly. I walk over to the counter and say - “ Belgian Dark Chocolate. One scoop please”. Almost miraculously a six year old boy standing next to me says - “Uncle, Belgian Dark Chocolate” - at the exact same time. I look over the counter to check and realize there’s only enough Belgian Dark Chocolate for one of us. In case you’re wondering, this isn’t a Hugh Grant movie. I could of course talk the ice cream guy in to giving it to me but I choose to step aside. He’s a kid after all, it would mean a lot to him.
Now, this never really happened. If it did, I would probably run away with the Dark Chocolate, but that’s not the point. Such a sacrifice may be misconstrued as selflessness. But I being the Grinch, am here to prove to you that you would be wrong to assume so. I merely traded the pleasure of devouring quality ice cream with the pleasure of the knowledge that all those around me perceive me as a selfless being. In all probability I did it because there was a cute girl in the background. I did it because people thinking I’m selfless gives my ego a boost.
We all have an idea of the person we would like to be. We also have an ever-changing idea of who we want people to see when they look at us. Those two identities are never identical.

We take cues from several sources. But I’d like to believe nothing influences us more than the performance arts. Movies, TV shows, music are all major factors that contribute to our everyday hypocrisy. We try ever so hard to take after our matinee idols. From hairstyles to mannerisms, entertainment icons define the people that follow them. Consider the following.
[This being exam season, I’m going to present my views in bullet-point format.]
The Impact of entertainment on the youth of our nation.
How the ladies have lost their minds
    * The wedding planner: I have lost count of the number of movies and TV shows featuring a crazy female “Bridezilla” who since she was six years old has been dreaming of having a fairy tale wedding. The wedding is all about her. She has to morph in to a walking talking house of crazy in the days leading to the wedding. Maybe that is how woman grow up in some countries. But is that the norm in India? I see pretentious girls all over the place. Fake accents and what not. I’m sorry but if an Indian girl talks to me about how she has always dreamed of a perfect wedding where she reads her own vows I will smack her over the head and hold a cup of coffee under her nostrils. Exchange vows? When have you ever seen that happening? If you’re a Christian then that’s perfectly acceptable. But otherwise it makes you a douche. And no, in our country it’s never about the bride. Every wedding in India is about the bride’s parents. The spotlight is on the parents. How much they’ve spent and so on.
    * I could talk about how girls scream “Jesus” or Jesus Christ” out loud instead of the usual “Oh My God” but that may be offensive to those who truly believe he’s listening. I could also insert a smiley here but that would be insensitive.
    * Twilight: Avanti, a friend of mine admitted she finds Twilight lame and only watches the film and squeals with her friends so she’s not an outcast! She’ll regret ever letting me in on that secret and how?! Twilight is ridiculous. But effective marketing has ensured every girl claims she “OMG! loves Twilight” on account of her being a girl. Boys are no different but more on that later.
 
    * First kiss tells you everything: First of all, no it doesn’t. Believe me. Secondly - How do you know? Is it because Will Smith said so in Hitch, or did you get that from “F.R.I.E.N.D.S”? What happened to following your instinct?

How the men have lost their minds
    * The “Bro” Conundrum: Also known as “the babe anomaly” in some cases. Just stop it I say!! Saying “bhai” and “maamu” were fly in the not so distant past. But now everyone refers to the next guy as his “bro”. It’s just not right. Come on!
    * Gangsta signs: To be honest, most people all around the world abuse the sacred gangsta signs. 9 out of 10 people at every party decide it’s time for them to get their “ghetto on” and start flashing random gangsta signs. Word of advice: Splitting your fingers in to any ratio you please does not constitute a gangsta sign! And no, you don’t have to do this - \m/ - for every photograph you’re in.
    * Action movies: OK, so some of them are actually good. But then you come across embarrassing ones like the fourth “Fast and the Furious” movie, The Revenge of the Fallen. It’s pathetic that you’re almost compelled to watch it on account of you being a guy! Any person with even a semblance of human intelligence will find the aforementioned movies senseless and quite frankly an insult to his intelligence. In “Fast and Furious”, good  guys and bad guys (way sophisticated, I know) chase each other across open plains in plain sight for 20 minutes. Those open plains just so happen to be a part of the L.O.C between USA and Mexico! No border security forces though. Don’t you worry! And “Revenge of the Fallen” - ghetto transformers? Really? Skids and Mudflap talk with ghetto accents and what’s more - they can’t read! Come on Michael Bay, you disgraceful loser of a James Cameron wannabe.
    * Yo: Just don’t use that word or any of its many forms. I beg of you. Worst of all, don’t fake an accent and say “yao”. Last time I checked, “yao” only meant a reference to an insanely tall Chinese man who could beat the living daylights out of all of us!
    * Married men taking home flowers: If you belong to an older generation and got married before the 90’s do yourself a favour and stop taking home roses for your wife. That’s not how it works. Sure she might find them pretty but most women from those generations have an old saying the live by - “Jasmine in hair better than rose in hand”.   

I could list out several points in addition with respect to both genders but I think I’ve made my point. If you’re conscience tells you you’re being pretentious, listen to it! Give your ego some time to breathe. Come on now, you owe it to society. Ego is important. Sure. It pushes the boundaries. Makes you do things you wouldn’t dare to. But you’re wasting precious ego points by aping cultures you know very little about. No matter how hard you try you will always remain a true Indian at heart.
"Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken" - Tyler Durden in Fight Club
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Name: Nishant Boorla
Age: 20
Hobbies: Poetry, Insect Photography (true story), watching movies like my life depended on it.

 

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