It’s a sub-species that has grown at an alarming pace, and is now, alas, a common feature in our public spaces. Meet the quintessential ‘half-pant’-clad, hirsute Indian male. An eyesore to unsuspecting folk, they also offer enough reason for chuckles and guffaws in their attempts to portray the idea of coolness. Cool comfort, as the tagline says. Gasp.
For easier understanding of this tribe, let’s classify them into areas/localities where chances of spotting them are high:
The mall rat: The worst specimen, this. Clad in a crumpled tee (even sleeveless ganjee at times) and cargoes, rubber chappals (often the Bata, blue-and-white variety), unkempt facial hair, a tousled mop and a devil-may-care attitude, the out-of-bed look was never this distasteful. Come weekends, and you will spot them hand in hand with their girlfriends, mothers, wives, gang of guys at every nook and corner of this urban haven. And no, we aren’t on a beach holiday, so please go easy on the mini shorts; spare us the neon shades too. Funnily, in total contrast, the other half in this picture is almost always (over)dressed to the hilt: what with the make-up, stilettos and heady perfume to complete the mall tragedy.
The airport lounger: Here too, the basic framework stays – disheveled look, unpalatable appearance, and body odour. Yes, those two words that scream “Watch out” to co-passengers stuck in the same row as this suspect. He might as well get along his hammock or pillow. It’s impossible to escape this familiar sight at most Indian airport waiting lounges.
It’s very easy to spot this sub-species at airports across the globe.
The pseudo: Now, this one carries the serious cool tag with great pride. Usually spotted at bookstores, accompanying their little ones to weekend events, they spell intellect with their bespectacled avatar, flipping through pages of a Steve Jobs biography or the like. And happy to avoid the domesticity that a Sunday might threaten back at home.
Mostly in the beer belly category, these folk seem to revel in their idea of coolth.
And thus, my dear readers we have yet another delightfully unique addition to the Great Indian Urban Diaspora.
Going by the spread, we are sure that an encore to classify more of this ilk will follow. Watch this space.
The write is Features Editor of mid-day