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Keep it cool

By Sir Caustic On August - 26 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS
Keep it cool 01

“Yo man, your rents outta town?”, “Man, am stoned!”, “This game is imba”, “You noob!” – Do any of these sentences seem familiar? If one isn’t hanging out with today’s college kids, they might look gibberish. Just one look at today’s college students is enough to know there is a new species evolving; a species with almost no conscience at one extreme and the nerds at the others. In this ever-changing world of the youth, one of the only things that consistently stayed constant over the past few generations is the existence ‘coolness factor’ in colleges and the feeling to somehow or the other be tagged ‘uber kewl’ (as today’s kids call it).

What is this coolness or hip factor? What is its gauge? Do people really care about it? It means different things to different people. Every now and then, new trends emerge and youngsters go out of their way to be tagged ‘cool’. The things the youngsters do might seem unreasonable or insane to many people. Having a girlfriend/boyfriend makes one cooler. Having a sexy partner makes one cooler. Coming to college on boyfriend’s 225cc makes the both the girl and the guy cooler! The list goes on.

We found out what the youngsters today are up to in this heated up race. Thanks to the increase in the spending capacity of their parents; the influx of many international brands and their availability in exclusive stores and malls, students have loads of things to try and flaunt about their ‘objects of desire’. These objects don’t necessarily have to be handy. They can be as long as 4500 mm! Rishi from VNR says the hot wheels get him all the attention he needs. He just can’t get enough of his new Audi and loves zooming into college with ostentation. Automobiles aren’t only for the adrenaline filled boys. Amrutha from Vasavi can’t stop gushing about her car. “I love my new BMW; it is a ferocious animal on road”, she says.

Few others believe it’s the brand of clothes and accessories that make them cooler or hotter. Ashrita from MVSR says, “I just have to follow the IN trends and the most fashionable clothes”.  These days, even the not-so-rich students have started to splurge on some of the higher-end international fashion brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Swatch, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Abercrombie &  Fitch and so on. Ajay, a proud owner of a Swatch watch says, “Fast track is no more the coolest watch. Nearly everyone has one. I wanted to be different, so I spent about 10k on my new (s)watch, against my dad’s wish”. While in college, the most conspicuous accessory of a student is the bag. “I remember those school days when we had Tommy Hilfiger written on some of the bags. It’s so funny when I think of it now. These days the kids get real Tommy Hilfiger bags!” quips Vinay, a student of CBIT.

Some popular fashion brands. Credit: Sir Caustic

Some popular fashion brands. Credit: Sir Caustic

Cell phones have become such an important object of a youngster’s life that they cannot do without them. But not any model of a phone will do. They convince their parents to any extent to buy them a fancy phone, whose features they may not even utilize. “I bought an iPhone just because all my friends had it. But I don’t use half of the features. It has just become an embellishment rather than an item of utility”, says Srujana.  What is surprising is that while youngsters covet high end phones, their parents are more than willing to buy them these phones as even they feel that their children should be popular kids. Some students have a thing for a fancy cell numbers and they don’t mind spending two months of their pocket money for the same. Says Akhtar from MJCET, “I love to have a very fancy phone number and I want a very unique one because it’s the only thing that sets me apart from others and I can pay to acquire one”.

While on the topic of being hip, how can we forget the gang of the ‘coolest’ people in college?! This is THE gang, which defines what is cool, imba and ‘in’ every season. This is the gang that everyone wants to be a part of and hangout with. In the process of which, they end up aping them as much as possible. An admission into such gangs is generally not easy. One usually needs to either be famous in college, sexy or filthy rich to be a part of them. “In our college there are many (such) groups. It’s so ridiculous that people are desperate to befriend them, just so that they become cool. But unless they are cool, they won’t be accepted. It’s a vicious circle”, says a student of CBIT, who does not wish to be named. A lot of people, either due to peer pressure or innocence or pure stupidity, try to fit in and act cool. These people end up being just ‘wannabes’ but NOT ‘cool’.

There are addas in nearly every college and some of them are even exclusive to some people. Surprisingly, there are induction programs by seniors into some of these hangouts/clubs and places, which should be earned. Abhinav from VNR says, “There are about five addas in and around our college. Each of them has its own speciality and its own set of loyal customers (read students)”.  People, who frequent these addas are seen in a different light by others. Some see them as the coolest people in college while others see them as no-good guys. As an unspoken rule, girls are generally not allowed. But as with every rule, there are exceptions. Shruti from VNR says, “There are a few girls in my batch, who go the adda but it has had a negative effect on them as after they have gone to this adda, guys look them as cheap girls”.

As with every trend, there are people, who are oblivious to it and even accept it with a sense of pride . “I am what I am. I don’t care what people think of me. I don’t like to form an opaque bubble of coolness around me which might burst any time. People should accept me the way I am”, says Bhim, a student of JBIET. These people are not necessarily the ones, who don’t enjoy any popularity in the campus and not the ones who have no friends. They are not ‘abnormal’ but ‘unconventional’. Ironically, this makes them cool in a different way and such people always get attention, that too, just by being themselves!

A swatch watch. Credit: Sir Caustic

A swatch watch. Credit: Sir Caustic

This section of people believe it’s foolish to splurge their parents’ money. Kadhambari, a 4th year student in Biochemistry from Stony Brook University, New York, seconds the notion. “I recently raised my budget for a pair of jeans to $60 (about Rs. 2700), which my mom clearly disapproves of! But as long as it does not pinch the pocket of my parents and I am able to earn what I spend, I feel it is worth it. That does not mean you have to earn what you spend, but my perspective in life has always been that I should deserve something only after I have worked for it, be it an expensive pair of jeans or getting an A in a course”, she says.

Adolescence can be a very trying time for most people and this is the time when almost everyone is at a crossroads. But this generation doesn’t just give a ‘fuck’. They live life on their own terms, which means having the best of everything and being second to one. Even in the hip-o-meter. Going by the number of movies made on this subject like yesteryears’ ‘Grease’, ‘Saturday Night Fever’ apart from TV shows like ‘The OC’, ‘The skulls’, ‘Gossip girls’ etc., we can only realize that this is definitely one stage of life that no one wants to remember but something that they cannot forget either. The existence of this ‘coolness quotient’, in a way, this makes the life of a college-goer more exciting with more things to think of apart from the routine classes and studies. But one needs to be cautious and draw a line somewhere in order to NOT get victimized by this trend.

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