I was walking towards my office in the morning when I saw a tiny kid in school uniform on the road. It was terribly hot for a early February day and the kid started removing his pants. I smiled and thought “what a cute little rebel, he does not want to wear those damn pants in the heat.”
And soon, I found myself mistaken, the kid squatted on the pavement, ready to pee or take a dump. I looked away.
“Oh, so he just wanted to do his business on the road.”
I had to watch my next step as a bike with four people sitting on it zoomed past me. Off-course.
And that is when I started laughing and the next but obvious thought that came to my mind was Coldplay’s new song shot in India – Hymn for the weekend. Only two days back a few people in office were furiously discussing how Chris Martin and his team made such a cliched video of the country and that it was filled with stereotypes, shot from a foreigner’s point of view.
And its hard for people to not notice the new song, what with youtube constantly promoting the video in the home page.
There had been lots of articles in the media talking about pretty much the same thing – how people in India were pissed off with the video, because the band showed Sadhus and slum kids and blah blah blah.
And here I was, walking in one of the ‘nicer’ colonies of Mumbai, walking past ramshackle huts and kids shitting on the roads. What the fuck were these guys so outraged about. It’s not even like Coldplay showed anything negative as such. There are happy kids in the video, jumping about, swimming. There is Beyonce in outlandish make-up doing god knows what.
The song, even by Coldplay’s standard pretty ordinary, nothing I would go listen to again. The video was just about fine. In fact, some of the shots were pretty beautiful. If anybody should have complained about anything, then it should have been the music. I mean, c’mon, most music videos don’t even make sense, even the ones with great music! People need to go watch videos by Tool, Flying Lotus or Bjork and the likes, crazy stuff.
Coming back to Coldplay, it’s funny how people are in so much denial. If I decided to make a music video on my walk from the office, even a two minute one at that, it would include a kid taking a crap and then me stepping on cow dung and swearing out loud in between the lyrics (and hopefully not falling).
We have a long way to go as far as sanitation, poverty and other issues are concerned, it is nothing to be proud of, but nothing to be ashamed of either.
And sure, the Sadhus (the old holy men in orange robes) are not that common a sight in bigger cities these days, but if one were to go to a culturally rich city like Varanasi, they are there at every turn. Only yesterday, I walked past a bunch of happy Buddhist monks.
Poverty and extravagance co-exists in India side-by-side in a strange way. Apparently some are just blind to the other side. And even if Coldplay did exaggerate, artists have the right to exaggerate reality, otherwise, where is the fun huh?