This really is not the Delhi I knew 10 years ago. Back then, all the men had style-less haircuts, shaggy moustaches and wore a uniform of cotton pants and basic white shirts. Today, the men are as fashionable as their New York counterparts and the women are not far behind. I am contnuousl embarrassed by my style-less presentation.
What has changed? Globalisation, obviously. Today’s India is driven by what is shown on TV, specifically the music channels. Today I watched an hour of music videos so risque they’d qualify as soft-core porn in some countries. The ideal woman is getting progressively thinner and more scantily clad, while the ideal man is hairless (on his body), overly muscled and seemingly endlessly angry. This is what I’ve learned from the music videos, and this is apparently the archetype today’s Indian youth aspire to.
And youth is what this is all about. Over 70% of Indians are under 25. Youth issues are the national diktat. The global view presented by India is one of youthful vigour, aggressiveness, competitiveness and optimism. My 30 year old hosts are already old by Indian standards; I’m a grandpa.
Speaking of my hosts, they are an example of the tension between old and new India. He is a Muslim man from a traditional, religious family, but he is also a model who enjoys the night life. She is French Canadian and has moved to India to be with him. It’s recipe for either a sitcom or a drama. Its a bit of both, with each of them struggling to find a cultural middle ground with minimal compromise.
As for my activities, today I bought an electric sitar and met a peace activist in a blues bar: a fellow who has more degrees than me! That appears to be the norm around here.
I have a headache and must go to bed. While I cannot yet respond to your comments, I can read them. So keep writing!