August 16, 2009
August 16, 2009
This past long weekend, I decided to conduct a sociological experiment. I decided to hang out with all sorts of people, in all sorts of unlikely places. I wasnt proactive about picking a diverse set, I just went along with all the invitations that I got.
The result of the experiment is that I've had an overdose of people, and I realized that I enjoy my alone time more than anything else.
There were 2 reasons for me to conduct this experiment. 1 goal is part of an ongoing quest to know many many people in the world, and have them know me as well.Build my network which will come in handy when i'm building my empire in whatever field 2. was to find out how different people think, and be myself with them, my bare basics, and see how they respond to that.
There were 4 distinct groups that I spent time with. In chronological order, the first being my distant relatives in howrah, a remote district in kolkata, who are very typical simple domesticated families, calculating the cost of bus fares vs tram fares and buying sugar in bulk from Big Bazaar to avoid paying extra in off season months. Whats interesting is that these people are not poor, nor miserly, for them saving a penny is just a way of life. They are not extravanagant, its not in their blood.
I thought I would get bored with this lot, as the women are domesticated and would not have much exposure and enough content to talk about. I was pleasantly surprised when I thoroughly enjoyed their company, and laughed the entire time that I spent with them , at their simple and loud jokes about themselves and their growing up years. These are women who were made to leave school to do housework, but can still joke about it and talk about their oddities and weaknesses as simply as talking about the weather.
The second set was a bunch of old school boys (29 odd years old) who did nothing but laugh at each other, making jokes about anything stupid that the other person might have said or done their entire lives. This did not affect me positively or negatively. It was neutral time spent.
The third set was a bunch of 20 - 21 somethings who took me with them to a faraway resort. These kids have travelled around, and having been in this city a few years, lacking a sense of belonging anywhere. This city, which is dominated by multiple layers of "cool" people, these kids were trying to network to fit in a category which seems interesting on the outside. I sensed that they were definitely uncomfortable around me ,and did not have much content to talk about, so they kept quiet most of the time, blaring loud music in the car, trying to fill up spaces in their heads. They enjoyed things like dark narrow alleys and speeding cars, an extremely form of adventure in my opinion. But then again, i'm not the worlds greatest daredevil when there is risk of physical injury.
The fourth set was a diverse set on its own, each with a history but desperately trying to fit in amongst each other. 1 cross dresser gay boy who was the nicest in my opinion, unemployed, fairly rich folks to support him and his antics, he was tactful as he could easily switch from talking about la de dah things with the others, and talking about silly basic things with me. 2nd person : an aspiring model who was mediocre looking, probably the girl in school who always wanted to look beautiful and took to modelling to get some attention to prove a point to herself. 3rd person: rich daddy's boy who was probably dating the model.
This bunch drained me off all my energy. The conversation was redundant, centered around places to party in different cities, talking about extremely expensive things as if they were ragular day to day commodities, and what cool people in the city were upto and where they partied the previous week. I tried many a time to change directions towards lighter things and silly jokes about ourselves, but i was drowned out by the rich daddys boy who insisted only to talk about branded watches and expensive diners. I must mention here that I have nothing against this gentleman in particular, I dont even remember his name.I'm just averse to what he represents.
There was a point at the dinner table, where I could have gagged.
As part of my experiment I had decided to be nice to everybody, and be non judgemental. I could only do the former.I wanted to establish where this kind of nonsensical behaviour sprouted from, and my conclusion was that this rich daddys boy was probably a loser as a teenager, a pampered kid who was a nobody in school. He now hangs out with models and buys them meals/drinks (he got the tab for the whole table this time too) so that they like him, just so he can be seen with the cool people and feel part of them. It made me realize that people who wear brands and flash them around, like our boy here, are people who are insecure, and use these established brands, and the goodness associated with it to make up for what they lack.
He spoke about how he travels to europe very often. People who travel should have exposure, but with the limited scope of conversation that he was capable of, centered around a small set of cool people in the city, I wondered if he had ever really opened his eyes and seen those countries. Spoken to those people and wanted to ever know them. I was tempted to ask him whether his life ever feels empty, or whether he ever gets sleepless nights because of non use of grey cells, whether he knowingly gets used, using his company in return for self gratification and image in the eyes of other morons like him. I refrained from doing so, as it would not have been considered polite dinner conversation.
I realize that there are plenty of people in cities who follow this pattern. It saddens me and I wish that we could go back to our roots, talk about plants and animals, instead of riches and brands, revelling in other peoples' glory.
So now my longing for nature grows stronger. To be away from city folk and explore fish and birds and plants and animals. Understand their sociological patterns and see if their lives are as disgustingly staid as our common rich city folk.
It made me realize that the most worthwhile and educational time during this whole weekend was the few minutes which I spent everyday chatting with my father, as he spoke about the struggle that our countrymen went through, to fight for independence, and how to breed beer eels to feed fish in his ponds, and the non complexity of the taxation system in thailand.
It saddens me to think of the braindead society that our youth makes, in a city which was once known for its intellectualism. I'm left deeply troubled and with a need to escape these crowds to a land full of animals who have no need for show, or with people like my parents who could intellectually stimulate me.