We were at the Phoenix Market City mall. Being a weekend, this most “hyped” and newest addition to the Chennai Mall list, was like the inside of a packed bus. Just as I was just trying to make my way through one of the entrances ,a pretty young woman in a white dress breezed past. She was followed by a throng of people, many of whom had their phones high up in the air, trying to work their cameras and take a picture. I wondered who it was? Obviously some celebrity..!
The crowd surged making it necessary for us to take refuge inside one of the shops. The shopkeeper, a kindly fellow, looked at my puzzled face and said by way of explanation “ Adhu Andrea Madam”. When I continued looking puzzled he said “ Vishwaroopam- haven’t you seen that movie?” !!! Enlightenment finally dawned! I nodded as he beamed happily that he had finally succeeded with this moron!
This is not the first time. It has happened to me on a number of other occasions when I have been with people who are celebrities but who I have failed to recognize- the last one being about twelve years ago when my daughter was taking ballet classes. She had made friends with a child called Subbalakshmi whose mother seemed vaguely familiar. It was not until much later when Kamalahasan in his complete mustached “Virumandi” self came to pick up mother and daughter that I realized that the mother was some sort of a celebrity. Another mother educated me saying “ That is Gauthami and she is living with Kamal now”.
I have often cursed myself on my dysfunctional celebrity meter. It is quite embarrassing when an entire crowd is gawking at someone who means nothing to you at all! You wonder what is the matter with you?
But thinking back, I feel it is not so much my inability to recognize a celebrity that bothers me but the fact that I am probably very isolated from what or who matters to the general public! It worries me that I am losing touch with the immediate reality of my surroundings. I do not watch much of television and when I do it is only movies – English and off beat Hindi movies! I watch some of the news channels and some cookery shows too! When it comes to music, I listen mainly to Hindi songs yet I know none of the new songs.
I would like to believe that I am not some sort of an intellectual snob. So what am I ? I wonder if it is a generational thing? Have I outgrown what passes for entertainment in mainstream media today? I find myself limiting my friendship to people who are like me – other inhabitants of this ivory tower. The fact that I work out of home keeps me further imprisoned here! I do go out -far out into what may be termed as “wilderness” but that is a different sort of interaction- we don’t exactly discuss movies ,politics or fashion with the people in the villages I work with!
It was therefore like a breath of fresh air to attend a bloggers meet a couple of weeks back at Chennai. I met so many people from such different walks of life! What was most refreshing was that most of them were so young! Let me confess- this was the first time I was meeting the contemporary youth of this town.
I felt that I was finally descending from that tower. I saw youngsters as they are today! Girls who are not bashful about talking to strange young men and young men confidently speaking to the fairer sex ! Strangely, as someone who was probably among the older minority in that crowd, I did not feel excluded. I realized what was different. We were here wearing that common cloak of the blogging identity!
It is probably one of the biggest and most silent revolutions that is sweeping our world today. It is connecting residents of the ivory tower like me with the people who are more “in” with the times. One of the young men from that meeting called me a week ago and asked if I would be interested in joining him and a couple of others for an informal get together. The idea was to discuss the formation of a bloggers community in this town. Well, we still have not got down to having that meeting but I like the idea and I must congratulate the young man who has taken the initiative.
Before I sign off, I want to make it clear that I am not attempting to change myself. I am proud of who I am despite all my quirks. But what I think is that ,as someone who is into communication, I need to be in touch with the popular culture. It is important because it helps you understand what the pulse of the people is.
Times change. We may not like what we see now ,reveling in the glory of the “good old days” but considering that nothing is as real as the present, I have realized the need to expand my definition of this reality. I may not be ready to give up residence in that tower but I am willing to come down for frequent outings.
Simply put – I am trying to bridge that generation gap. The blog world is one medium through which it can be done successfully but unfortunately my experiences are probably limited to that tower and what I see from up there. (The blogs I visit are also those of people who are probably as old as me and who think similarly) I hope to be able to expand the scope of my writing and reach out to more people- after all isn’t that what effective communication is all about?