Thursday, November 30, 2006

Life in a hidden city

Allahabad is one of the best places to grow up ,if you want to see and understand India's middle and lower middle class society wihout the glasses provided by bullish management gurus betting big on these millions of people for their ability to act as 'consumers', and from a viewpoint that is unmatched for clarity. After all you will be one of those millions, whom you want to understand.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I have been a part of this middle class madness. This city hosts thousands of boys aged 15-35 coming from districts of eastern UP and Bihar (Many others go to Varanasi), who study in various government colleges/University/Coaching centers preparing for medical/engineering/administrative services/clerical services and whatever else you have! Most of these boys come from villages and their family's occupation is farming. The money is scarce and watching a movie, sitting on the front benches, on a ticket of 10 Rs. is sort of a luxury. The usual mode of recreation is a walk with friends on the banks of Gangaji and a cup of tea at the local 'hotel' in the evenings. The single room is shared by two or three (even four at times!) guys and it acts as living room, kitchen, bedroom and most importantly study room!

But there is something else as well. The discussion on any topic, be it India's stance in the World Economic Forum or any physics numerical question from Irodov raises an intensity of discussion that is as captivating as it is motivating. An electric emergency light or an inverter is an unaffordable luxury and hence candles or kerosene lamps are the sole support for late night studies that are mandatory to offset the time spent in cooking, cleaning and other daily chores.

The life is tough and it is this tough life that gives you a tough mindset. The viewpoints that you take here during these discussions are almost guaranteed to last a lifetime. The values, principles and ideals (how muchsoever outdated and laughed-at these words may be in urban lingo) are imprinted firmly in your mind. The scarcities force you to live a simple life and resist the temptations. Every success has got an idol and a sense of giving back to the society from where it has emerged and every failure is comforted with a precedent.

This is an India, so vibrant, so visible and yet so hidden from the world. After all this India does not play any role in the game of billions for the management Gurus.


Neha Bhardwaj said...

nice......really nice...what you described is not just Allahabad but other cities such as Delhi...Kota...Bathinda and many more.....

Nice Blog...when are you starting professional writing?

Abhishek said...

Thanks Neha
but I am not yet good enough to turn pro!

Vaibhav said...

I am commentless on this becasue i can feel this !

Nice blog !

Abhishek said...

Here is what Aparna wrote:


I dont know if u r talking abt the 'Life in a hidden city' blog or not, but here are my comments on it.
as I'm unable to write the comments directly in the link...i'm sending thru the mail...if u like them do copy in the link.

Though I dont have such kind of experience, while reading the blog I did understand the feelings of the guys or gals in those situations.
Indeed I was thinking about my engineering days and the present days.Present days in the sense, after i started earning.
My thinking and mentality of spending money has changed a lot.Its not only money but also my every thing.
Now, I doubt if I can go and stay back in those situations.
Those situations are part of most of the people's lives.Every one will pass that phase of life in a more or less similar manner.

But Abhishek, I jst want 2 ask u sum thing.In the starting and in the ending of the blog, u were talking abt Management Gurus.
I actually dont know what Management Gurus mean exactly.I dont know if I am right or wrong but I jst want to know.
Do you think that Management Gurus havent passed such situations?
No, they must have surely passed such phases in their life.Right?
As u specified, tough life gives u a tough mindset.
As these people have faced such situations in their life, they dont find them any more difficult.May be thats the reason, they are not given much importance.

I dont know, if i 've understood the blog in a different angle.....but this is what i felt after reading the blog.
But finally i wud say....Cocept is good.

Aparna Devi Kollepara
Tata Consultancy Services