Pseudo-intellectualism is not a recent urban foible. The pseudo-intellectual has been there at least since there arose a divide between mainstream and parallel (cinema, in case you didn’t know that already).
Over the last 6-7 years, the breed has just multiplied and how! This is the age of the neo-pseudos. They are ‘aware’, bask in the glory of their ‘elite-ness’ and westernized lifestyles and they are eager to rub it off on you, whether you like it or not. Not in the least, the kurta-jhola-jeans clad crusaders ruing ‘state of affairs’, you will surely find all of them in all shapes, sizes and genders in reel and real.
Here’s a list of this either highly (oh well, at times moderately) sophisticated or deliberately bohemian prototypes I can think of (and at times also embody):
Everybody’s a writer these days. Yes, we are. But this writer writes for pleasure (mostly) but might as well get published (someday).
She doesn’t really care about her clothes as long as they are branded. Flip flops are her preferred footwear. Her hair’s a mess. She smokes 2 packs of Classics a day, but doesn’t want to be compared with Bridget Jones for the most part. Her favourite topic is modern-day relations. Oh no.. not the Bhagat brand of trash and she shudders at the thought of pop fiction (get all copies of Grey out of her sight or she’ll turn into a fire-breathing dragon). Hers is a world of free love, forbidden yet legit love, sensuous (and not sexual) love.
You will surely find Rushdie, Pamuk and Murakami on her bedside table. And she would rather not clutter her brain with too much non-fiction unless it is authored by the irresistible Rana Dasgupta!
She hates Page 3. She doesn’t quite like politics. She’s anything but ‘mainstream’.
And she’s at the Features desk. Malls suffocate her. She’d much rather go to Hauz-Khas or Dilli Haat. Closer home she prefers Flury’s (CCD is so passé) or Some Place Else (the music is just ‘awesome’). Lit Fests and art exhibitions are her life-lines. She doesn’t mind the odd music concert with the Baul and Jalebi Cartel playing together. Woody Allen is her most-favoured American director (QT’s too violent for her taste).
She drools over non-mainstream heartthrobs. Shashi Tharoor, Abhay Deol and also maybe Amitabh Ghosh? She likes to dress up once in a while and put up a quote from the latest book she’s reading as her status. And her profile pic will certainly have an ‘artistic touch’. After all she most certainly owns a DSLR or at least a compact SLR.
This has to be a ‘He’. Please don’t get him started on the Gilmour and Waters debate now!
He has curly locks. He prefers stubble to a clean-shaven face. ‘Meaningful’ tattoos are a must. He wears graphic T-shirt and old jeans. Converse or Kito complete the look. He might also have a few strands of very long hair which he ties into a braid, roughly as thick as a lizard’s tail.
And boy can he play the guitar and distort his voice while he sings. Not to mention the facial contortions and impeccable accent. He’s the rocker who loves his pot, beer (groupies anyone?) and refuses to let go off college stupor. He’s one of those many tortured souls who have been compelled to become an IT professional (or some such thing) and forego a psychedelic trance-life. Oh, what a pity!
Don’t you dare call him a ‘movie buff’. Rest assured, he’ll skin you alive, if you did.
Do not utter the word ‘Bollywood’ in front of him. If you must, you can only talk of Kamal Swaroop, Kundan Shah or at the most Dibakar Banerjee. He adores the Anurag Kashyap school of movie-making though. He digs out the most obscure and/or gruesome of European/Asian cinema. He has already extensively seen Kurosowa, Wai, Ray, Bergman, Fellini, Truffaut, Von Trier, Almodovar, you silly.
His is more of a ‘knowledge image’ than ‘look image’ but then he’ll most certainly have a scraggly beard and an unusual hairstyle. If it’s a she, umm well, she’ll choose her glass frame very carefully and resort to minimal make-up (the Kalki way).
The Food Snob:
Food is, simply put, art. And the biggest art, at that.
So you either go to the crummiest neighbourhood in search of the best biryani in town along with extremely spicy renditions of Chicken Chaap or Keema-do-Pyaza or you go for couture cuisine coupled with the best wine. You only make exceptions, for ‘signature dishes’ (Beef Steak at Oly Pub) and ‘must visits’ (Mocambo for continental). The food snob swears by authenticity and his knowledge of the best cheese and best wine. Dare you question his (it is likely to be ‘he’ for a ‘she’ can’t really afford all that oil and calories) connoisseur status!
And needless to say, none of this is to be taken seriously. All of the above (yes, even the ‘Musician’), have a bit of me in them, not to say I have no other inspirations besides myself! Now, think what you will.