Cover story: how we've changed | brunch | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
Jan 23, 2017-Monday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

Cover story: how we've changed

brunch Updated: Jan 26, 2013 19:53 IST
Brunch team
Brunch team
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story


We've fought some changes, embraced others; some things still sit uneasily, others changed us without us noticing. Join us to salute 64 ways that separate one today from many yesterdays - in some ways, we haven't changed at all.

Shortcut to smart
Then: Reading the paper, the dictionary, Competition Success Review and the much vaunted World Book and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Now: Just Google it. Or when in doubt, refer to your friend Wiki, at the most.

What I did on my summer vacation
Then: Spent a whole month at the rambling house in our village, climbing trees, skinning knees, running through the fields and learning to use a catapult.
Now: 8 nights-10 days in Switzerland (including Mt Titlis) with guided tours, all-Indian meals and free one day in Paris, but only if you book before Feb 10.

The daily grind

Then: Nescafé was awesome. Instant coffee, can you imagine? And free red mug also!

Now: You don't have a cappuccino machine at home? You still drink chicory sludge instead of getting your own custom roast from Italy? And what about that Turkish coffee you've been pining for since you returned from Turkey? Use that cezve you purchased in excitement now! It's not just a souvenir.

Words on the street

Then: Your period was your "chum", your friend was a "pal". The coolest abbreviation was MYOB (Mind Your Own Business).

Now: OMG! People used to really talk like that? ROFLMFAO! LOL. #Facepalm.

How do you shop for a TV?

Then: Save, save, save. Then pick what fits the budget and has the longest warranty and pay upfront.

Now: Pick the coolest HD flatscreen you can find. Pay through EMIs with 0 per cent interest over 24 months.

Got time for cricket?

Then: Sure, I'll take three days' leave to watch the Test match.

Now: They're streaming T20 in office. It's over before I can finish chai.

What's on TV?

Then: VHS tapes of Baywatch invariably scratched at the crucial Pamela Anderson running scene. It had been replayed too many times, you see.

Now: You downloaded the Downton Abbey Christmas Special ONE WEEK after Christmas? You. Are. So. Yesterday!

The height of humour

Then: Santa Banta jokes.

Now: Rajinikant jokes. Heard the one about how many lightbulbs it takes for Rajinikant to....?

Your first car. The one you named and drove everywhere

Then: Maruti 800. Everything fits in there!

Now: A Swift or Beat or Qualis. Still, nothing fits in there!

The essential India souvenir

Then: Handicrafts, shawls and silks from the state emporia.

Now: Kitschy clocks, fridge magnets, iPad covers and mousepads from Playclan, Chumbak, KyaCheezHai and the like, ordered online of course!

The cheapest way to communicate

Then: STD calls after 8.30pm (when call rates were slashed by a third).

Now: WhatsApp and BBM are free.

Mythology means

Then: Watching Valmiki's Ramayana adapted by Ramanand Sagar.

Now: Reading The Immortals of Meluha written by Amish, who also goes by one name, just like Valmiki.

If you wanted authentic regional food...

Then: You'd haunt the state bhavans or the stalls at Dilli Haat.

Now: Delhi has separate restaurants for Bihari food (Potbelly), South Indian non-vegetarian (Zambar) and North Eastern food (Yeti).

Smile, we're taking a photo. What's that gadget you've got there?

Then: The Kodak KB 10 (so hip!) or the KB 20 (so much hipper!).

Now: The smartphone. Duh! And there's Instagram, so the photos needn't even look new.

What sporting success meant
Then: Olympic medals in hockey and tennis. Go Team India!
Now: Olympic medals in wrestling, badminton, archery and boxing. Go individual contestants!

Papa's pride
Then: Arre, mera beta college debate champion hai.
Now: Arre, mera beta Indian Idol mein select ho gaya! kids would go for hi-jinks

Then: Appu Ghar!

Now: On the Buddh International Circuit - where else can beta show off his new car?

At the cinema

Then: Bottles would clang. Hawkers would go "Popkarrrn!" "Thanda!" "Cola!" and you'd eye the packet of Chipniks.

Now: You'll have it all: gigantic tubs of caramel-salty popcorn, nachos with cheese, hot dogs, and more Pepsi than you can drown in. Delivered right to your seat.

The Colours of India
Then: Saffron, white, green.
Now: Blue cheese, pink champagne, silver cars, gold bonds.

The first steps to world cuisine
Then: Chinese, lekin medium-spicy.
Now: Pasta, lekin medium spicy.

The pedigree degree
Then: Getting into JNU or St. Stephen's.
Now: An IB board for school, an Ivy League univ after.

We've come a long way, India... pet that indicated you'd arrived

Then: A Pomeranian. So sweet. So white. You called him Tuffy.

Now: The Vodafone Pug. He's adorable. You call him Toffee.

And what's your son doing?
Then: He failed his first two IAS attempts. But he will be third-time lucky.
Now: He's trying to make it as a sommelier.

The definition of Happily Ever After
Then: Daddy-Mummy set up an arranged match when you were 20. You were just relieved he didn't look like a thug. And you've been stuck ever since.
Now: You fall in love. And out. Rinse. Repeat. Then, at some point, you stay in love long enough to get married.

Lunch time in the office!
Then: Steel tiffins in four compartments for roti-subzi.
Now: Four microwaveable Lock & Lock or Tupperware boxes with roti-subzi.

What are those ghastly things on your feet?
Then: Lakhani or Bata sandals. Get with the programme! Pop culture moment: A Vividh Bharti jingle that went Hero heroine Lakhani mangta.
Now: They're called Crocs. Don't you own a pair?

The greatest show on earth
Then: Where else but at India Habitat Centre? Culture rocks!
Now: Kingdom of Dreams. We're seeing Zangoora. Again.

We've grown up as a republic, as a nation, as people. We've shared common losses, celebrated common victories and laughed at jokes that the rest of the world just couldn't understand. We've stood united for our borders, for Bollywood, for cricket, for justice

Where will the bride get her wedding sharara?

Then: The family darzi at Chandni Chowk. So good with blouses, yaar! And we paid him to hold the fabric for 11 months.

Now: Sabya for the sangeet. Ritu Kumar for the mehendi. And custom couture from Tarun for the reception. Well, one of the

receptions. Papa insisted I have three.

A woman's beauty secret

Then: Hand-mixed ubtans made from recipes handed down by your grandmother.

Now: Creme De La Mer and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream from the trip abroad.

What's for dessert?

Then: Something nice from Wengers or Keventer's.

Now: Whatever you picked up from Dunkin' Donuts, Angels in My Kitchen or Cinnabon.

What plagiarism meant

Then: Bappi Lahiri could and would remake Disco Station and we wouldn't know for decades.

Now: Anurag Basu lifts a few scenes for Barfi! and goes from an instant hit to a sorry miss. Gurgaon

Then: I have a farmhouse

Now: I have my only house.

The rebel without a cause

Then: Shammi Kapoor's adrenaline-pumping Yahoo! in Junglee. Dressing like James Dean, dancing like Elvis. Chaddi buddy: Rajendra Nath.

Now: Ranbir singing Sadda Haq. Dressed like nobody cares, talks like Janardan from Pitam Pura.

I love Indian wine, it's gotta be ...

Then: Vinicola Port No 7. Those Goans make the best stuff.

Now: Sula Sauvignon Blanc. At least it's reliable. And all those awards can't be for nothing.

It's Sunday morning. It must be time for...

Then: Mahabharat on TV. Everyone gets a nice serving of mythology, with parathas or idlis. Who can forget sutradhar Harish Bhimani's baritone going, Main samay hoon?

Now: Buffet brunch with family at the Garden of Five Senses or Hauz Khas Village. Everyone gets a nice serving of mimosas.

Everybody's favourite burger. Where?

Then: Nirula's, of course! After watching a Hollywood blockbuster at Chanakya or Archana starring apna Stallone or Tom Cruise

Now: The Big Chill, of course! After window shopping at Anokhi in Khan Market.

The stuff of cricket legend

Then: Gavaskar's straight drives down the ground.

Now: Dhoni's Helicopter shot.

The dream you were happy to keep chasing

Then: Opening a café in the hills.

Now: Finding a way to live in Goa.

Rs 10 will buy you

Then: The world, really. All that and a bag of chips.

Now: Just the bag of chips. Small size.

In the swing of things

Then: Johnnie Walker whisky at India International Centre with a bunch of buddies.

Now: Boutique Scandinavian beers at a Gurgaon pub.

Cool landmark not built by the British

Then: Lotus Temple.

Now: T3 Terminal.

A man and a wall. It must be....

Then: A loser defacing a historical monument by carving his and her initials within a heart.

Now: A graffiti artist and a can of expensive spray paint in Hauz Khas Village. we borrowed from the West

Then: Valentine's Day. Cheesy Archies' cards, roses by the dozen, soft toys.

Now: Halloween and Thanksgiving. Creepy outfits, horror movies, the works.

The everyday brand everyone was waiting for

Then: McDonald's and anything that came after.

Now: Hurry up, Walmart. Open up already, Starbucks. We still don't have J.Crew!

The fish that has to be on every menu

Then: Fry it. Grill it. Put it in a curry. You can't go wrong with Indian pomfret.

Now: Fry it. Grill it. Put it in a curry. You can't go wrong with Vietnamese basa.

Where's the party tonight?

Then: It's a rain dance. Yay!

Now: Another pool party. Got to buy more bikinis.

The fanboy's biggest tribute
Then: A poster of his idol, team or brand pasted inside his clothes' cupboard. Carrying a picture in your wallet. Writing fan mail and hoping for a reply.
Now: Downloading the wallpaper, setting the official ringtone, flaming critics on message boards, following them on Twitter, buying the perfume, buying the official merchandise, getting the logo tattooed on your arm.

In the swing of things
Then: Johnnie Walker whisky at India International Centre with a bunch of buddies.
Now: Boutique Scandinavian beers at a Gurgaon pub.

The only place to be seen after-hours on a weekend
Then: Dancing to Abba and Bob Marley at Ghungroo, the nightclub at the Maurya Sheraton.
Now: Grooving to electronica and hip hop at SHRoom, the happening night spot in Mehrauli

If you liked music
Then: Bhimsen Joshi, Zakir Hussain and Ravi Shankar were your idols. You believed that Hari Prasad Chaurasia learnt the flute from Lord Krishna himself!
Now: Guitar lessons from YouTube. You better know who recorded Comfortably Numb and Stairway to Heaven. Cobain and Metallica are your messiahs. And if you ain't shaking your head, you ain't going nowhere!

The photograph that had the power to make it or break it
Then: The Marriage Profile Picture. Smile beta! Look shy. No, no! Not that shy...
Now: The Facebook Profile Picture. Softly out of focus. Informal. Relaxed. Cropped. You.

A taxi to the airport
Then: Visit the friendly neighbourhood Sardarji at his taxi stand with his broken down kaali peeli Ambassador.
Now: Book a radio cab on the Net. Get a receipt and find a way to bill it to your company.

Finding Bharat in Bollywood
Then: Daaku films set in the Chambal ravines, villains with
bullet-belts, bad moustaches and good dance moves.
Now: Gritty hinterland hits like Gangs of Wasseypur. Womaniyas.

The fanboy's biggest tribute
Then: A poster of his idol, team or brand pasted inside his clothes' cupboard. Carrying a picture in your wallet. Writing fan mail and hoping for a reply.
Now: Downloading the wallpaper, setting the official ringtone, flaming critics on message boards, following them on Twitter, buying the perfume, buying the official merchandise, getting the logo tattooed on your arm.

Family outing
Then: Dinner at National Dhaba, movie at Odeon and kulfi-faluda at Bengali Market.
Now: Shopping, dinner and movie at your neighbourhood mall and donuts for dessert.

Love is...
Then: Sharing a chuski at India Gate.
Now: Sharing headphones in the Metro.

Ticket to Bollywood
Then: Watching Ek Duje Ke Liye first day first show at Shakuntlam Theatre at a princely Rs 10 ticket.
Now: Watching Ek Tha Tiger first day first show in a silver class multiplex seat at Rs 500 a pop.

Cool way to protest
Then: Sitdowns at Jantar Mantar.
Now: Candlelight protests at India Gate.

Of course, you have a fridge...
Then: It was a mid-sized appliance right in the middle of the living room, where no one could miss it.
Now: Your four-door giant makes ice and gelato, is big enough to hide two Eskimos, and hums quietly in the kitchen.

The VIP hospital
Then: AIIMS. Of course, your uncle had to know the medical superintendent's aunt to get an appointment for OPD.
Now: Medanta or Artemis. Everybody gets a suite! Get the food off the menu, pay by credit card.

Just Cruisin'
Then: Round and round India Gate, so everyone can see we have a car.
Now: Down the Delhi-Agra Expressway. Step on it.

Top-level security for your home
Then: One chowkidar whose name you knew and family you'd met.
Now: Biometric security gate, infrared lasers and 25 uniformed men who are complete strangers.

Toy Story
Then: GI Joe, He-Man, Noddy, Hot Wheels, and Tobu cycles.
Now: PS 4, Temple Run on dad's iPad and tennis on the WiiFit.

Pop anthem
Then: Mile Sur Mera Tumhara. The greatest Indian icons remind us of India's diversity courtesy Piyush Pandey and Louis Banks. Kahan gaye woh icons?
Now: Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai. Amitabh Bhattacharya and Ram Sampath's tribute to BBM, social networking and the young zeitgeist, circa 2012.

I see you like apples...
Then: Kashmiri only. Nice and red.
Now: Granny Smith only. Nice and green. And don't remove the sticker...

Illustrations by Abhijeet Kini