Wednesday, September 08, 2010

An Indiranagar sub-culture

It's Cafe Coffee Day on 12th Main. I'm sitting with my laptop open, typing desultorily and waiting for a friend to join me. At the table next to me three people are doing business. I know this not from their conversation, which I'm not paying attention to, but the tones of their voices. After a while, I look up and see that they're discussing the new logo of their company. I can see the screen clearly and I automatically critique the logo in my mind. It's not much longer before I feel impelled to lean across and present my credentials and opinions. The upshot of this is an offer from the guy to introduce me to publishers for my book, and a freelance project.

Over the next few weeks, at various other caf├ęs, more freelance projects and job referrals come my way from others engaged in trying to turn early mid-life crises into pots of gold. It seems this town is full of people who work better in cafes than in cubicles. There are far more of us than I'd thought. We followed the prescribed path from birth. We got the reasonable education, no hitch, became reasonable adults at eighteen, no question, found the reasonable job, no sweat. We moved smoothly from good company to better one with scarcely a break, climbed steadily with reasonable reward. We stayed firmly on the rails for 15 or 16 years until the Great Pointsman in the Sky (or the evil one below) fell asleep or something and we found ourselves suddenly thrown off, bruised and unreasonable. The early troubles we should have had suddenly come due, we take our belated gap year and give ourselves the career angst we skipped.

Most of us are still walking beside the rails, half ready to leap on should another slow train arrive, but we're getting more unreasonable by the hour. Most of us will return anyway to some cubicle or the other, refreshed by the break. But the 0.1 per cent who don't, will, in between dodging the bouncing cheques, invent the next Mac or Google, found the new Tata or become another AR Rahman or Chetan Bhagat. I don't know yet which category I will belong to, but it's an exciting time here in the recycle bin.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Coffee does recycle us. :)

Poornima said...

Ive always wondered why nobody leans over to MY table in a coffee shop & starts a sensible conversation. Sigh. Very syaad.

& could i request you, dear grotesque-water-spouting-thing, not to ever go belong to the CHETAN BHAGAT category, pretty please??!!

hut said...

I second the above comment. Chetan Bhagat?? please no! I read 'two states' in about half an hour; it was just so connivingly obvious, linear, predictable; simply bad.

Gargoyle said...

Nick, to get the full glory of his books, you need to read "One Night at the Call Centre' :)

@Poornima as well: No, no, I agree completely about Chetan Bhagat, Used here tongue-in-cheek, money-making angle etc.

Poornima said...

Money making angle firmly in mind, your 'oh-wow-why's-she-in-the-closet-when-she-writes-like-this' kinda talent brings to my mind the amazing success of J.K.Rowling.

May sound a bit much to you, I know. Much like a drunk Chittapan of mine who claimed loudly to all in the vicinity that his niece (me, who was trying to climb a coconut tree in the ayyam to get away from it all) is going to be the next Prime Minister because of her *snigger* exceptional Engleesh-ayxsend.

Really, publish.

Gargoyle said...

Thank you Poornima for the encouragement! I've become uncharacteristically modest in my aspirations - it's moved emphatically from win-the-Nobel to just-finish-the-damn-thing.

Gargoyle said...

Forgot to mention this (the reason I picked Chetan Bhagat for the blog): Someone I met at one of the aforementioned cafes wanted to know why it's so hard for me considering Chetan Bhagat can write two books a year. I was almost speechless with outraged vanity and could only say weakly "He's an investment banker, I'm a writer."

the real nick said...

What's your book about, then?

itemno1. said...

what did i tell you about cafes?! either you'll meet the love of your life or a great book will come out of it. either ways you'll end up with great sex! so no,it's not a recycle bin, it's a cafe!

Poornima said...

'just-finish-the-damn-thing'then! All that has to follow, will.

kavita adhikari said...

Mina... can't wait to grab a copy of your book.... "ust-finish-the-damn-thing" please ;)

Anonymous said...

me too! -acchan

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