Gujarat model and mother Internet’s ugly babies

Santanu Borah

Mother Internet has given birth to many ugly babies. One of them is particularly interesting: the celebration of mediocrity. For instance, the Northeast (NE) of India is known to be a region where musical talent abounds. Every third set of fingers strums the guitar, every tree sings, and there is even a whistle language. While the guitar part is a bit of an exaggeration (most people play air guitar), musicality defines the region. Long story short, the place is knee-deep in talent, especially when there are no floods.

However, with great talent comes great mediocrity. As Yoda says, the force has to be balanced. There is a lot of gutter music from the NE as well – stuff so putrid and viral that it makes real viruses jealous. Just check the anti-genius of Rajkumar, an Assamese ‘singer’ who has the distinction of turning out crow croaks in primary school lyrics, with video aesthetics that will make you want to clobber your culture. He is the master off-key maker, and his posts are widely shared.

This guy would have had no real platform if it were the good ol’ days (yes, the old days are always good for the old). Now, it’s different. We have the Internet. We have absolute freedom to dole out any shit we want. And there you go, shit is what we have. On the fan and in the brain.

Just like Rajkumar, there are a thousand others topping the crap charts, like that talent-anaemic Delhi rapper called Dhinchak Pooja of ‘Swag’ notoriety. The gutter is continually enriched by new waves of mutant garbage, that you are constantly surprised by the amazing power of mediocrity. Just scroll for a few minutes and all the Kolaveri Ds will fall out of the woodwork (excuse me for using ‘D’ instead of ‘di’). I find it appropriate that the viral song wasn’t called Kolaveri A. I have known people who were proud of their bad grades. “You got A? I flunked. Beat that!”

The point is, why do we celebrate mediocrity? Some say it is just our way of nurturing our laughing stocks, since laughter is a medicine pharma companies cannot produce. I find this argument illogical. Why would you like something you don’t like? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind you break. We indulge in the mediocre because we are mostly mediocre. It’s much safer to laugh at our cretin doppelganger and feel superior.

The next time you share some lame content on your wall so you can laugh at it with you friends, ask this question: Am I doing this because this appeals to the dumb me? Am I also a douche bag? Are my friends douche bags like me?

If you have the humility to answer that with a “yes”, you will not be choked by the irony of the ‘smart you’ sharing the stuff that the ‘idiot you’ loves. I, too, am guilty of sharing content best described by that great line: so bad that it’s good. I’m trying to cure myself of this sticky condition. The recovery process is slow because bad puns and fluff rule the internet, besides cats.

I guess, in the end, Mother Internet finds a way to love her ugly babies.

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Why BJP should win Gujarat

I’m jealous of the Gujjus. They are an astute and industrious lot, unlike me – a lazy and, often, gullible Assamese. So, I was highly impressed by the BJP’s talent for palming off headlines and managed events to propagate the mythical Gujarat model.

It’s like your dad putting up a plaster-of-paris facade of a mansion in front of your one-room house and convincing you that you are a millionaire. I find it amazing that the shrewd Gujaratis could be taken for a ride for so long. So, if the BJP wins, I will be convinced it is possible to fool a Gujarati again and again. A little guilty pleasure never hurt anyone, did it?

In my estimation, there are only two real models in the country – the Sikkim and Kerala models. While Kerala does get some air time, the success of the organic Sikkim model languishes in relative obscurity because nobody gives a damn about the environment. I guess, for the environment to make headlines, you need cancerous air like Delhi.

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The wife-beater

I didn’t know that a ‘wife-beater’ was a piece of men’s clothing. It’s just a ribbed sleeveless vest (or baniyan in Hindi). It found its way into popular lexicon after Marlon Brando wore a form fitting vest in the classic film ‘Streetcar named Desire’ while engaging in domestic violence. Post that, many scenes of domestic violence saw actors in such vests, making it popular as the wife-beater.

In the Indian context, the wife-beater could be called the poor-man or hungry-man. Often, a vest is all an Indian can afford.

(Santanu Borah writes, paints and procrastinates at leisure. He can be reached at atmavan@gmail.com )
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