Thursday, November 24, 2005

Dressed and Confused(DBCAs)

‘Open 24 hours’. In a fast-moving, never-sleeping,maximum city like Mumbai, one would expect such a thing to be written at a restaurant close to a railway station or more likely at a guest-house. But much to my amusement, I found this written across seemingly firm bosom of a mannequin at a Mega-Mart outlet in the suburban Kandivili. The very next day at my CAT centre I chanced upon this female (ok, a candidate) wearing the same T-shirt. No less than 44 eyes were ogling at her. 18 wore an amused look, 20 were looking at her just like any guy would look at a good-looking girl (maybe the T-shirt was what attracted them towards her, else it’d have been some other girl who’d be the object of their attention). And some 6 wore a seriously menacing look which seemed to say, ‘ok, let’s see what you’ve got madam’. Not that they intended to do anything dangerous, but the ‘bold’ statement the madam wanted to make had had its effect.

Now let’s come to the broader question. Before that let me ask myself one very pertinent question which you as a reader would want to ask me. The question being-‘what problem do I have with people wearing what they want to wear? ‘. At the outset, I’m a liberal and have no problem with people wearing what they are comfortable with. But what never misses out of my mind’s scanner and my watchful eyes is this whole thing of people wearing T-shirts to give out some kind of an attitude or to make a statement. If one is hip, hep, hop and dude/dudette -ish enough to carry him/herself well with the kind of attire he/she is wearing, that’s hardly anybody’s problem. But things tend to get a bit complicated when this segment of confused, wannabe youth wears T-shirts which appears to confuse them even more and with all the attention such T-shirts attract, the feeling of discomfort is quite palpable.

Che Guevera,Jim Morrison must be turning in their graves now. They are the ones seen most on these t-shirts PYTs wear. Yet they remain as foreign as ever. No, I’m not talking of that 8-year old kid who serves us tea near the college gate. He wears a Linkin park T-shirt with LP written in bold letters in fluorescent on a pitch black t-shirt. The shoulders of the T-shirt extend well beyond his elbow. Forget LP, he probably wouldn’t even be aware of Dr.Kalam being the president of India. I’m actually talking about this college-going student with a decent pocket money at his disposal, seven of ten of his ilk have a bike at their disposal too, hanging/chilling out with his friends at the most hip/hop/hep/ happening places in his city/town. You have more probability of finding such a vikas a.k.a viks in a tier 2 town than a city. But I wonder if wearing a black t-shirt with an ‘in your face’ face of Jim Morrison with ‘The Doors’ in glossy bold letters doesn’t exactly make him hip/hep/cool/. Complete the picture with a goatee, long hair, a yo-man with the ‘rock sign’ to boot interspersed with *ucks and screws, you have the DBCA- desi born confused American!

Am I actually saying that the kind of t-shirt one wears is an indication of an identity crisis or something? The point I might want to make is on a shaky ground and the arguments may not be backed by enough convincing arguments. But to me it appears more convincing than having to look and wonder at a female wearing a t-shirt which had –‘ for authorized persons only’ written right across her bosom.

P.S. Did the girl wearing that open 24 hours open t-shirt mean open as a noun or as a verb?


Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Yes, Nikhil, "You have more probability of finding such a vikas a.k.a viks in a tier 2 town than a city." says it all.

The basic problem is of aping something you are not and trying to vicariously live through the hep/hop/cool culture. I remember posting something similar on my blog about friendship bands.

BTW, just saw one T-Shirt which had printed across the bosom, "Ha! Made you read it!"

Vikas Sahu said...

Hey nikhil remind me to continue that truncated conversation we had on the night of PT's charity meal some other time.

Jayanth Madhav Barki said...

make 'em go topless!

Pradyot said...

I think I find it as verb more tasteful ;)

Nikhil said...

did she make you read it or see it?!don't get me wrong,i meant what was written on her shirt!

but wouldn't that take another PT charity dinner to get the same 'crowd'!

does your comment indicate any shift in your sexual preferences!;)

whole-heartedly agree with you(pointing to the 0 region where the heart lies!!)

Komal Mehta said...

hey nikhil;
interesting....but i dint follow the line of your thought....sorry it makes sense but in what sense i dunno.....
btw tell me how u scored in CAT....
and chk out the 2 new articles i did for at my blog..

Jayanth Madhav Barki said...


Balaji said...


The two of us share a fairly common background. You went to Surat and me to Bangalore, the Manhattan of India. More foreign than phoren can ever get. Hated the way people tried to make attitude statements their real attitude could/would never reflect. It was/is more of a gimmick to capture attention when one knows nothing else would work.

The reason for the whole aTTitude thing (T for tee-shirt and T for truly mindless) is a herdish aping of everything that is made out to be the IN thing. You don't wear your attitude on your sleeve, and definitely on your T shirt. This issue goes beyond mere attitude staements and speaks of how we as a people take to the hip, hop and the happening without any sense. Would have been a consolation of ANY of those statements were actually conceived by the owners, but when you see "Nobody's perfect, I am nobody" everywhere, you seriously rue mass-production.

PS. There is a new fad of getting yourself tattoed at all sorts of places, one of which is the butt. Wonder who ever gets to read it...