This post is an entry to the ‘The Great Indian Blogging Contest’, as a part of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2015.
Sitting on the steps of the stage, with hands on his hips, Ayan’s face bore a murderous expression. Finding me, he pulled me down and exhaled a breath, saying, “I vow to never volunteer for any wedding decorations in future. Gosh, I’m so tired!” On seeing me laugh, he gave a wry smile.
People were slowly trickling in. I asked him, “You know about ‘The Great Indian Chamcha’ contest?” Ayan nodded, “Oh yeah, saw it in the papers.” I smiled and said, “So, who is a ‘chamcha’ for you?” He smirked, “A person who sweet talks and nods his head at every damn thing!” I pointed to a girl, pulling at her heavy and gaudy dress, looking visibly distressed and said, “Look at her.” Ayan snorted, “Gah! Why wear something that makes you uncomfortable?” I nodded and said “So, she isn’t a chamcha for you?” Ayan looked at me in disbelief and sputtered, “Kidding, right?”
I laughed and said, “She is wearing a branded dress, that too under her family’s compulsion, most probably.” Ayan challenged, “So?” I replied, “So, we often go by what has been the existing pre definition of ‘chamchas’. We just have to open our eyes and see that alongwith these so-called ‘chamchas’, there are many invisible ‘chamchas’ as well, who are very much present in the society, yet have a facade on, which makes them look oh-so-normal!” He threw up his hands, saying, “What exactly are you trying to say?” I took a breath and said, “Look around yourself, Ayan. Everything, starting with the very basic family to friends, society, education, politics, religion, money, career….Everything has bound our hands. From the formal diktats to informal rules, we all nod to these meekly, don’t we? Look at you and me!”
“Remember the time when we cringed, while shelling out some extra money, just to ensure ‘fame’ in our circle? You left your family business for an IT career. I drove my BMW here as a pointer to my position. Even our families, look at them! I was taught to always talk in English, for it looks posh and chic and your family didn’t even want us to be intimate, the only reason being girls and boys can’t be ‘just best friends’ in the eyes of the society! So, aren’t we all ‘chamchas’, in that sense of the term?” He dropped his head and remained silent for some time. Turning back, Ayan cocked a smile, saying, “So, we all are ‘chamchas’, eh?” I smiled. Keeping my arm around his neck, I mused.
“Yes. We all are chamchas. Knowingly or unknowingly. Visibly or invisibly. Love it or hate it, ‘Tis a necessary Evil. Survival in this world and especially in a place like India, is impossible without having even a little bit of ‘chamchagiri’ in us.“
We drifted off; eyes and mind seemingly lost somewhere while the inevitable truth laughed at us.
And there goes my story of ‘The Great Indian Chamcha’.