Heard the buzz? Free India turns 60 today. Senior citizens at long last. Er, we’re missing the point? That 60 is the new young? Deepak Chopra said so, or was it Sri Sri Ravi Shankar now? Who said it actually doesn’t matter, because what we really want to know is what the buzz is all about. After all, we kind of forgot to bring in this level of excitement and pomp while celebrating the first 50 years of independence. In fact, there was a bit of confusion over whether we had turned 50, or in Indian-style, 51. Neither are we celebrating the platinum jubilee. So one wonders what the enthusiasm of turning 60 is all about. Does it mean the nation now gets hefty travel discounts? And wasn’t the big debate all about doing away with Independence Day and Republic Day functions because, well, they were such expensive bores? Something, somewhere changed. And no, we don’t blame the media this time round. Could it be love, you think?
It would seem that the young among our billion is poised. To dive to new depths or fly to new heights we’re not too sure yet. We’ll know that by 2025 anyway, if not during the 2010 Commonwealth Games. After all, we’re the nation that can take the quote “There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail” and make failure a practised art form. But the point is that the millions of ‘young’ minds feel awfully ‘Indian’. Till a couple of decades ago, ‘being Indian sucks’ was quite fashionable. Now it seems that T-shirts that say ‘I love India’ and faces sprayed with the tricolour are the cool accessories. In other words, patriotism is in with a bang.
As Bollywood turned slick and Tulsi turned Virani (not virago), young India, we are told, found its pulse — somewhere between its ear and the embedded Nokia sets. Even if the young India tends to OD on religiosity and rituals, the bedecked, smoking (sorry Mr Ramadoss), praying, drinking, FTV-watching (sorry, Mr Dasmunsi) and MMSing janta is getting its act together. To do what we’ll find out by and by. Right now they’re happy Bangaloreing the world and yelling from every rooftop, ‘My good self Indian’. Hinglish is the language and English the new script for Hindi. So what if they replay the classics in the name of retro. The point is that they are — we are? — abuzz with a lot of yap, yin and yang. Feng shui wins over Ikea and vaastu over Czech crystalware. So even as older generations really wonder why India@60.co.in is the hottest domain on the Google map, one thing seems to be certain. It’s love. For what else could be so blind?