Perhaps its because of The Great Gatsby, or perhaps its because of certain gatherings of people I have been to recently, wearing clothes that are not mine and which make me very uncomfortable… I was at a party, alright? And I did not particularly want to be there, but there are lots of things I do and places I go to that I don’t want to except for friends. I was at a party, and I was with certain people, and I was talking about some things… and I couldn’t stop thinking about The Great Gatsby and wealth.
I think for sheltered, middle-class to upper middle class twenty-somethings such as me, poverty and hunger and destitution is awful but understandable. It’s something we comprehend and perceive and living in India, we can’t really ignore. But most of the times wealth and consumerism is a little beyond what I can make sense of. I really, honestly don’t understand some of the things said or wanted or owned by people with money. Maybe Oscar Wilde had it right (though he was probably being funny. I never really know. I didn’t do English Honors) and I’m deluding myself into not wanting some things simply because I can’t afford it.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that rich people puzzle me.
The fact that you are happy about having bought clothes that almost entirely owe its value to how much it costs and how famous its designer is, puzzles me. I don’t understand why it is a thing to have a conversation about. Don’t get me wrong, I understand pretty clothes. I have myself partaken in the joy derived from buying something pretty that you look good in. The awesomeness you feel when you like the body in the mirror while wearing something that makes you feel like you’re in your skin. I understand that joy. But when people buy only the expensive brands, they don’t talk about how good it feels on their skin. They don’t talk about feeling that you won’t forget the day you wore that dress just because you wore that dress, and eating a slice of bread in that dress feels special. They talk about where they bought it from, how much it costs. They talk about the very specific symbol of that dress; the fact that people in the right places will know where it was bought and how much it cost. Nothing about seeing the dress on the hanger and knowing immediately that it was yours and you will forego next month’s allowance in order to have it. The romance seems lost.
The idea that you will eat at expensive places where the portion size is abysmal at best and shell out a grand for it is puzzling to me. That you would dare to eat pizza with a fork is not puzzling, though; that is infuriating. I understand food. I do. I understand expensive food also, but only when they give me my money’s worth. As an (un)established hipster, I know I should complain about Big Chill and so forth in Delhi. But honestly, I don’t have a big problem with Big Chill. The people who go there regularly and talk about it may be the cast of my worst teenage nightmares, but I have no problems with the place itself. I can eat there for about 300 to 400 bucks and have my stomach filled with good food. I won’t have a problem going there once or twice a year. I don’t understand going to Big Chill every month. The fact that you go to Ruby Tuesday to have your weekly gossip session puzzles me. When you go to a coffee shop and spend more than a hundred bucks more than once a month, that puzzles me.
I had a chat with someone recently who informed me that a big ass expensive camera costs less than a Mont Blanc pen. Don’t get me wrong, I knew of the existence of Mont Blanc pens. I had assumed they were like an adult version of Parker pens and the appeal they held when I was in school. It took half a minute before it hit me to ask, actually expecting a correction, because how could a pen ever cost more than a high end camera; any high end camera? It wasn’t possible. Except it was. I was informed by my friend that I had never had a more disgusted look on my face.
Me: What the fuck, is it made out of gold or something?
Friend: It’s Platinum actually. And I’ll buy it some day.
Me: You do realize I can buy a pen for two rupees and it would perform the same function as the one you would buy for more than sixty thousand bucks?
Friend: It’s not about that… God, you have never looked more disgusted in your life.
Me: Sorry… but I am.
The same goes for cars. Unless you plan on being late everywhere and expect empty roads so you can drive as fast as you want, you will get wherever you want to go in a less expensive car; or a bike which does not scream ‘Classic Freudian Compensation’. I understand if you want to buy an expensive electric car or something out of concern for the environment, but other than that, you’re just pointless. And it’s one thing if your conversation or your arguments or your ideas are pointless, but when you spend money I could travel round the world with in order to buy something pointless… you should try not to procreate because clearly, we have enough of you in the world.
When you forego a perfectly safe, faster public transport like the metro in order to drive a car, just because you want a car, and a second hand one will not do despite the fact that you will no doubt wreck it, it puzzles me. I’m sorry. There is a lady’s compartment, which happens to smell really nice, and it gets you most places in about half the time it would take you by car. You are clearly a snob.
And it’s quite alright if you’re a snob. But then don’t pretend it’s about anything but snobbery. Don’t like facebook posts about stuff you don’t care about. Don’t give shitty excuses like “It’s because the car gives you independence.” If you wanted independence, you would be trying to get a job. I admit, I would like to be independent, but I sure as fuck know that the route thereto is not asphalt and fast cars. I need a job first.
Eh… talking about this makes me dumb. Which is why the completely average analysis I had of the book and the life I have been witnessing for the past week, has not really come together cogently in this ‘discussion’. Let me just say, in what pompousness I can muster up – There is an excess of vapidity in some circles in Delhi that I find hard to live with. I don’t mind talking for eons about people, no matter how insignificant; but I have nothing to think or say when you talk about your cars and your clothes and your trips abroad that you spent shopping. The sad part is that not counting a few people, this is all that consumes conversation. Talking is always about things; literal physical things. For me, it’s another version of Zooey Deschanel’s conversation with models in New Girl – “That is a lamp. This is a table. It is very flat.” Clearly, a career as a rich Delhi housewife is not for me, even if I had the qualifications, which I don’t.
I may not post next week. Christmas is the excuse.
Embarrassing secrets. I pooped in my pants once in college. I was in my room and I had a cold, and things happened that made me question my life and its meaning. I had always thought that once I get to the point where I pooped myself, I would be reaching for the gin bottle and the sleeping pills. But I had assumed I would be old by then. So I soldiered on, after I spent a day locked up in my room because I was afraid it would happen again, this time in public.
I get hit on by people I really don’t like and it is very bad for my self-esteem. On the internet, at parties… always by people I can’t stand. So on the rare occasions where its people I like, I may or may not secretly get really flustered.
I’m trying to stay away from the news because it’s been reported already and we’re now at that stage of news about a tragic incident where a bunch of people give their crazy ass opinions be it on news channels or in Parliament. Then the people who are not crazy retort and thus an hour of television passes by in which no decision is made, and everything is the same. I will say this much – Something is wrong with the world when people affiliated with blaming spicy food or interactions with the opposite sex or blue jeans for rape or any number of insane ideas, actually think and say that castration is their big solution to the problem. There are no words for how far we have fallen and how insane things have become.
I’m watching Before Sunrise again. It’s one of the few movies that make me want to fall for someone. It’s the only movie where it seems logically sound that two people should fall for each other.