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 Gap..you 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.