Are you ‘Hip’?

Have you ever noticed, that you’re NOT hip… No, not at all… Or rather surprised that you ARE, very much so.

If yours truly demands to know, how you arrived at the conclusion, would you have an answer? Or you start looking sideways, as if stumped by a question from your grandmother, asking you, who gave you the greatest pleasure while making out. It’s not that you can’t remember, but that the question makes you jump, just by virtue of where it is originating from or why was it asked in the first place. The sequence of answer gets lost and you’re gaping, with enough space between your jaws to let a whizzing Malinga yorker get inside your throat (Now don’t blink as if Malinga is a restaurant in Kathmandu’s King’s way – which happens to be true – and if Yorker means resident of New York).

Isn’t it difficult to know whether you’re hip or not? Realizing this great difficulty, yours truly would like to offer some benchmarks or yardsticks by which you can compare your hip-ness (stop looking at your waist and trying to measure it and don’t take out the picture of Shakira you’ve kept in your wallent).

Disclaimer: This X-ray picture is intentionally kept to confuse the readers

It shall stand as good as a universal declaration (as these are new Ten Commandments), and unless some smart cookie comes up with a better tool – which would need endorsement by yours truly, of course – this shall prevail.­

  1. Age group: Ideally, you got to be in mid-20s to mid-30s. But that’s ideal case, reality may differ. You could be a man of 50, with at least 200 plus under-20 girls as your facebook friends (needless to say 80 percent of these under-20 girls – who post pictures that men dream – are men like you, who are playing imposters to get other girls). And yes, you have to be posting only the pictures taken in the decade of 80s and 90s – of course scanned and photoshopped – to make you look cool. While photoshopping, make sure those chest hair are removed, for they are only good for mosquitoes to get tangled in and commit suicide. Sleek is chic.
  2. Drink (Coffee): If you are hip, you have to like coffee. Well, you may or may not like the taste of coffee to start with, but have it daily and you’d develop a taste anyways. (You could also try to have Iced Tea or some other fancy stuff, given people don’t notice). Please note that the place you have your coffee is as important as coffee itself. To remain hip, you have to scoff at the international coffee chains like starbucks, saying they’ve sold the soul of coffee, and keep singing praises of brewed coffee of your neighborhood. But, the moment you’re abroad and see a Starbucks sign, your first reaction has to be to rush there and have a cuppa.
  3. Religion: Religion is an important part of being hip. Gone are the days when hip people – mostly from flower generation under the influence of a flower called poppy – would debate on Religion Vs Science. Not anymore. Now, religion is the thing. And you got to think that the religion your parents have been practicing is not cool anymore. If they’re Hindu, you’d love to have cross all over your room, or even Buddhism is cool (you don’t have to know what middle path is or the noble truth or what is Bodhisatva). If it was not for 9-11, even Islam would be hip (you can still keep beard recommended by Islamists or talk about Islam not telling anyone to commit crime). Religions that have artifacts or furniture that fit into your living room is even better. You don’t need to know the details; you just need to know how to boast.
  4. Movies: This is a biggest mistake, if you want to be hip. Don’t call ’em movies. They’re films now. And you should be keen on film festivals, like Sundance, Toronto, Cannes, Film South Asia etc. The films better not be mainstream. Don’t watch his movies, but appreciate Rajesh Hamal. Generally, comment on the standard of Nepali movies and occasionally on Hindi movies. You have to feel smart without doing work, and watching movies is no work. You can choose to sleep in the theater during the screening though, and use your sleep time at night chatting on facebook or tweeting. Acquaint yourself with directors or producers (whom you’d find in any coffee shop in Kathmandu). Frequently tell others that you dream of becoming filmmaker or screenwriter or director at some point. Tell people you enjoy cinema from exotic countries. Tell them they’re good. Serbian, Iranian, films from Burkina Faso, anything you can dream of.
  5. Sport: Are you into any sport? No? Hmm… Be careful, you might be thrown out of the league. The good part is, you don’t have to play a sport. Being hip is not troubling yourself. For instance, take EPL (English Premier League) – it’s football league in England. You just have to pick a team and support it. Don’t understand football? Take cricket. Oh! Forget it, that’s way too complicated. Take Golf (A good walk spoilt!). Take playing cards, it’s easy. This is the only place where you can play ‘marriage’. In real world, you’re being played upon (strictly for men!). The whole idea is, you should be able to speak on the subject for 15 minutes non-stop (the good part is, you don’t have to be correct, just loud).
  6. Diversity:  Remember this – Hip people love diversity. And diversity does not mean that you get a girlfriend from every ethnic group you have come across. You even don’t need to have friends from each community conceivable. You should be able say ‘the beauty of our culture is its diversity’. Does not matter if you are a Brahmin and refuse to shake hands with a dalit. You can show your taste of diversity in terms of food. Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Newari, Thakali et al. You can love diversity in terms of clothing. All the branded names are welcome. But the point is, you have to talk of diversity in terms of ethnic and cultural diversity (Note that food and clothing are part of culture).
  7. Organic Food: You don’t like Organic Food? And you’ve told others? Then you’ve already been thrown out of ‘hip’ circle (No, I’m not yet talking about the area below your waist). Organic food it supposed to be your weakness, assuming you’re hip. Ignore the fact that most organic food is made by big agro firms, and use the term just to keep high prices. You’re supposed to melt in the name of anything organic. Conveniently forget, if we (the whole world) were switch to 100 percent organic food, there would be mass starvation and famine. Forget that and pretend that you’d live forever, if pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not getting in your system.
  8. Non-profit organizations: Does being called hip make you feel important? If yes, you’ve got to add it up by joining, or rather opening Non-Profit Organizations. The self-importance comes from the fact that you are ‘helping’ the society, and working to make money (forget the fat paychecks the top NGOs or I-NGOs provide). If you don’t have a company, gather your friends’ group, organize rafting on some rivulet outside the valley. For fun, collect some female models through friends’ contacts (this will bring in guys who pay anyways). Charge everyone Rs 2,500 each. Out of that, donate Rs 100 per person to some school or some other organization as charity. Non-profit organization, it is. Sounds perfectly easy, doesn’t it?
  9. Yoga: If you look at the young and successful people in the West (who, of course, lead the hip category), you might find either of three things in them. They’ve turned vegetarian (some even vegan); They’re homosexual (or gay); They’re into Yoga (big time). Now yoga would be the best option to chose, unless you want to stop killing animals (at the risk of killing your appetite!), or you want to turn your sexual life upside down (literally!). A word of caution – don’t get into the Yoga program preached by Ramdev or his likes. It’s not cool. Rather, try the western version of yoga gurus (in fact make-over of some ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ disciples). They’re elegant, talk slow and are white (in some ways repenting for the almost 200 years of colonization of India). They’re hip.
  10. Awareness: You cannot be hip, unless you are informed. You’ve got to believe that almost all the problems of human race can be solved by one word – Awareness. It’s a universal feeling that awareness is the magic potion, which cures all. That’s one of the reasons why millions of dollars are thrown in for awareness program of some sort or the other almost every day, every hour, every minute. Making slogans, getting them printed on T-shirts, like ‘Welcoming the Constitution’, ‘End of Poverty’, ‘US for Africa’, ‘Guess’ (oops that means something else…) and displaying them affectionately, on your bosom, is likely to begin a series of cataclysmic events that will self-correct whatever is wrong with the universe. Yes, it’s magic. I know it is difficult to believe in such magic. But tell me, unless there’s some magic, how can a person like YOU be called ‘hip’?

PS: Inspired by the song ‘Hips don’t Lie’… still trying to find its real meaning…

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