The other day I happened to be shopping at this mall in the city, when I happened to notice two girls sifting through clothes at the neighbouring FCUK section (... and for the last time, it’s not the fabled four- letter word written jumbled up... it’s French Connection UK). Anyhoo... one of the two was your quintessential “ modern city- girl”, skinny denims, racer backs and so much make- up that the bright store lights made her face shine (...which, weirdly reminded me of a certain shimmery Mr. Cullen... sheesh!). The other was her much more conservative, nerdy counterpart. Most likely relatives... poles apart to be friends (or maybe friends, what do I care?). I happened to chance upon this conversation they were having (because obviously Beauty Queen was so loud the people in the next store probably heard her...)
Beauty Queen (holding up what looked like a shred of cloth) : I think I’m going to buy this, my boyfriend thinks I look good in blue.
Plain Jane : Isn’t it a bit too... open?
Beauty Queen: Hmm yeah, but I think it brings out my features . *I. Wanted. To. Barf*
Plain Jane: It’s nice that Aunty let’s you wear such things. My mother would kill me.
Beauty Queen: I just need matching chappals . You not taking anything?
Plain Jane: No. Mom said I have all the stuff that I need. Besides I’m not supposed to be distracted from my studies. In fact, Mom’s thinking of finding out about IIT coaching centres
And they blabbered some more. Beauty Queen, about her chappals... and Plain Jane, about her recent, supposedly poor, grades. And the point is? These girls were no older than 13, give or take a few years .
This whole episode got me thinking (silent look of wonder... oh, shut up!) about how much different the kids (... or teens) these days are from what we used to be. When I was thirteen, I’m sure I never gave a rat’s arse to what I would be wearing at which time of the day, nor did I care (or know... for that matter) about IITs or MITs or whatever.
The above incident is a good example because it more or less describes kids these days... Team Plain Jane and Team Beauty Queen (for the boys, let’s make it Team Dexter and Team Wannabe Jocks ).
I don’t know about all you people out there, but childhood for me meant kiddy games, Cartoon Network, scraping my knees, Enid Blytons and decent grades in school.
But kids these days are a completely different scenario. I’ve not even turned twenty, and yet I see kids these days and feel like a 40-year old. Girls no older than 12 or 13 roaming around in noodle- straps and hot pants, with poker straight hair and eye- shadow. Dress. Your. Age.
The daughter of a close family friend once insisted that she wanted to see a movie. So she, in all of her seventh grade glory, sat there smacking her over- glossed lips and carefully putting on eye- liner, while eighteen year old me just stood grimacing besides her urging her to get over with it else we’ll miss the goddamn movie. (And honestly... feeling absurdly inferior as I’m still quiet incapable of putting on eye- liner... I’m sure I’d blind myself in the process).
My five- year old cousin wears Reeboks to kindergarten... which cost around 1500 bucks and are smaller than my palms (of course, because Bata and Liberty are so passé...) and says ‘Yo!” instead of “Hi”. My other cousin has dated more females up till 10th standard than all my guy friends combined and puts so much gel in his hair, it stands up like a freaking porcupine’s needles.
And then of course there’s the great tussle for GPAs and Percentages (i.e. Team Plain Jane and Team Dexter). I once overheard one of my mom’s friends tell her how worried she is with her son’s recent grades. He got only 90% in 9th... which was two percent less than his previous results. Of course owing to this grave situation, he came fourth in his batch that year. Catastrophic.
In my school back in Bombay, a kid once told me she went for tuitions straight from school for almost four hours each day, because she had her 4.5 GPA to maintain (out of 5 that is...). Humph! How about an hour of running around and games to ensure you are not obese at 15?
Down here in the South, coaching classes for IIT starts as early as 8th standard... honestly, what the hell do you teach?...
I mean, I don’t know about everybody, but my parents never cared much for my grades (my Dad, at one point of time, did not even know which year I was in... but that of course, is a totally different story)... and I’d like to think I turned out pretty well (OK now, don’t snort...)
Maybe I’m just way too old school to grasp the ‘young adults’ of today... *sigh*
But for once, I might actually be glad that my childhood’s done... if I was a part of this kiddy crowd, I’d probably burn out from excessive competition... or, like I said... blind myself in the process of a beautification experiment.