Define cool. C’mon, humor me – define cool (in the context of a person, not temperature!). Do you immediately get this image of a hip girl (or guy) in jeans and t-shirt with a funky hair cut/color (4 Cs – cut, color, curls, combed), nose ring, toe ring, ear ring, orange tinted Oakley, a generous splash of know what I’m talkin’ about, right? So does that define cool? My question in short: Does attire define cool? Even if you say No, I know deep down you know it’s not true. Even I’ve been ingrained like that – jeans is cool, salwar-kameez is not. Saree? Getouttahere!

My rant arises from a conversation I had some time back. X and I were having lunch and at the table nearby there was a girl with jasmine flowers in her hair (gajra in Hindi, malligai poo in Tamil, malli poo in Malayalam and malle poovulu in Telugu). The fragrance was awesome. If you live anywhere in Tamil Nadu, it’s no big deal – agreed. But if you live in Hyderabad, then ‘seeing’ white jasmine flowers is a miracle in itself – what you find will generally be in varying shades of brown (flower wearers would know brown means dried!). So getting back..X and I saw that and I was really missing my college times when I used to keep those flowers every single day. I love them.

X immediately said, ‘Wow what a fragrance! Should tie that on my wrist and walk around!’. Maybe now would be the time to mention that X was a girl (and not a malluveti minor – that’s Tamil for a guy who wears a pink silk kurta, white silk dhoti with a gold chain around his neck that ends in a pendant shaped like two cornucopias stuck at the heads..with gajra tied to his wrist..get the picture? A bit like Shakti Kapoor with gajra in his hand..).

I hid my shock. Instead, I said, ‘Yeah..reminds me of college times. I used to wear that every day’.

X actually doubled over in amazement. She went, ‘What? Eww!’.

Two words are enough actually to understand what she meant. You’re sooo not cool! You wore flowers like that? Were do you live, Keezhakalkandarkovil?! (That’s a cute little railway station on the way from Trichy to Chennai..hee hee) What a pattikaadu! (Tamil for a plain village girl). I didn’t say anything on the topic after that. We went our respective ways to our desks.

But this conversation (if you can call it that) kind of got me thinking as to why people think it’s not the IN thing to be what you always were. It’s no big deal for me to cover up my ‘un-cool’ habit of keeping flowers by saying ‘Yeah, I used to be that dumb!’ – but why should I? Who defined cool like that?

I say it’s not your attire but your attitude that shows if you’re cool or not. I don’t think it’s un-cool to go to a 5-star hotel and order Masala Dosa when everyone around you is ordering Bouillabaisse and Beef Stroganoff. I don’t think it’s un-cool to go to the most happening multiplex or shopping complex wearing your favorite cotton churidhar – with your hair braided instead of left open. Wearing a pair of jeans (torn at the knee caps, mind you) doesn’t make you cool – people would always find that out the moment you open your mouth.

LOOKING cool is easy – any Ann, Mary and Jane can do it. But BEING cool – well, that’s something you gotto work on. That’s something you cannot take from your wardrobe and just wear.

A person who is ‘cool’ will not think it’s un-cool to wear jasmine flowers in your hair. Yeah, that’s the way it works.

X – if you’re reading this (by some freak of nature, ofcourse): Yeah, I used to keep jasmine flowers in my hair when I was in college. And guess what? I would do it even now if only I could get fresh jasmine flowers. If that makes me un-cool, then yeah – I am un-cool. And I’m not going to change.


5 thoughts on “Cool

  1. Why don’t you start growing some plants instead of complaining that you don’t get fresh flowers? Well you can grow a lot of jasmines in just flower pots and little water twice a day. And don’t you tell me you don’t have time to tie those flowers. Ugh. Girls nowadays have gone so lazy. And hey who sez jasmines are uncool? Maybe other flowers are but definitely not jasmine. I luvvvv jasmines (sigh. If only i were a girl). But i do put one or two flowers in my pocket for that sweeeet smell. And i know hell a lot of people who likes jasmine. When i was a kid, my paatti used to have a nice garden fulllll of jasmines. It’s like a drug. When i go inside there, the smell would make me want to stay there. It would just take over all my senses and put me into some deep sensual state. After that it would slowly, lull me into a nice sleep. (Whenever they can’t find me in my paati’s house, they look for me in the garden immediately)


  2. Agree with you, coolness is state of mind and its all about the attitude and confidence rather than wearing some branded designer label


  3. Well…again…who said that what X thinks is cool is reallly cool? So what if someone else does not think u are cool? All that matters is if u are comfy in ur own mind and skin. Others who dont agree can very well take a walk with their judgements! 🙂

    By the way…Manoj…I think u sortof missed the main point in her rant.
    And FYI, Jasmine sometimes is not that easy to grow. I have been trying all sortsof things for about 2 months now…the plant just remains green…no flowers yet 😦


  4. I guess being cool is as being in control:
    I try not to hurt others feelings, but sometimes it happens. That does not make me uncool or cool, try to be

    in control and don’t do it again — that is cool.

    Attitude of not being rude is cool. I don’t know how close you are to X, could that be the liberty that she is

    enjoying, so she was testing your coolness by commenting on how you used to be.

    I wear sun screens, and I am not ashamed of getting it from the cosmetics shop were it is usually flooded with girls. My friends wont accompany me, they may have something to comment. I don’t care and I think looking after myself could be cool.

    I am really sick and tired of the coolness related with wearing Jeans and T-shirts. Recently I could afford a

    cooling glass and I wear it whereever I go because it is convenient. People living in my postcode do give me an odd look as if I don’t belong to their tribe. But I don’t behave the esteemed and I dont think I am being cool.

    I stopped driving motor bikes, it is sensible in many ways to use public transport. That really does not make me uncool amongst those who drive 4 wheelers or stylish looking 2 wheelers.

    You can come with a whole load of thing that are cool. Coming back to the cool topic, my dad is cool

    to have a garden full of jasmines. My mom is cool to drop those 2 jasmines in my desk, when I am working late

    at night. not to mention, jasmine is soo cool to blossom in the dark, glow in the moon light and smell so good. I love jasmines and I like girls who wear jasmine. Unfortunately I am not so cool to wear it myself, my boy mind is finding it hard.

    Good post by the way.


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