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The hunt for a breed of people

November 9, 2010

It gets rarer and rarer these days to find someone of my own breed. That elite group of people who grew up in South Bangalore but were citizens of the world.

We did not grow up in a world of Levis and Adidas… indeed, we wore whatever shoes fit our feet but we were conscious of the brand world developing out there. As children, we sat fitfully through conversations about globalization, hindutva and our own backyards.

It took me a long while to realize that this was not the normal way of things. Most parents talked about perhaps the soap on Doordarshan, or the arrival of cable TV in India. While they might glance upon what this meant for the wider country, they mostly harped about what someone thought about this development.

You see, I was with the crowd of people who wrote the thoughts the others were talking about. And perhaps this was these conversations embedded in my subconscious that set me apart from the rest. And started a lifelong journey for those who were nostalgic about Bangalore’s empty roads, the cup of tea at a local canteen (café) – a point where the world that was just waking up and the world that was already running converged.

It heartens me to know that there are other people who are on a similar search for our identity. I came across a blog by someone… similar. Someone whose existence I had barely acknowledged till my serious entry into photography.

It is perhaps the way we were raised that gives us these glimpses into the convergence of the old and the new.

The way there is a gleaming new building beside the old “SLV Canteen” – the place of numerous early morning coffees. The photos of Old Bangalore that even I cannot recognize. Koshys – the place to be for the intellectuals, simply because it was central, closest to all the newspaper offices (which then was real journalism) and more importantly, cheap.

Now, I find families there for breakfast. And yes, still an intellectual crowd but a little pseudo.

Koshy’s, as one of my non-intellectual friends said, is for the Fab India wearing, jhola lugging crowd. I had to partially agree. Even if I do not wear the kurtas or carry such bags anymore, a part of me will always recognize that breed.

***

On a separate note, my note “Why Photography” got Freshly Pressed.

I was quite delighted (and thank you all for reading and commenting). I guess it was a piece that came straight out of the heart, after a long while. As a writer, I can freely accept that I do want to be read and commented. Any writer who says he/she doesn’t is pretty much lying through the teeth.

Yes, there are certain times we write for ourselves. But then there are times when you definitely want a reader.

Strangely though, there was a small voice in the back of my head that went ‘o shit’ because what would more readers and thereby a slightly lesser brand of privacy mean? Or would it make a difference at all?

 

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