Witerati: Of ‘Chini Kum’,migrants’ maps& China’s TikTok apps

The ‘Chini Kum’ narrative, riding the #BoycottChina chorus, has triggered a parallel migration – from TikTok and sundry Chinese apps to different digital homes
Seen more as the semi-urbanites’ social media platform, remember how TikTok had overnight made star sensations out of the Kaamwali Bai or Kabadiwala Bhai?(Bloomberg/For representation)
Seen more as the semi-urbanites’ social media platform, remember how TikTok had overnight made star sensations out of the Kaamwali Bai or Kabadiwala Bhai?(Bloomberg/For representation)
Updated on Jul 04, 2020 10:51 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | ByChetna Keer

As it’s been long since the hyped “Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai” slogan suffered a bye-lateral burial by being dumped into diplomatic folklore and history books, like a long-lost Bhojpuri or Bihari sub-dialect, it is the current “Chini Kum” narrative that’s scripting life in India Unlocking.

As with hashtags, so also with households, Covid-19 has overnight been upstaged by another “C” – China – in its role of Villain No 1. Smacks so much of a Prem Chopra-outrivalled-by-a-Shakti Kapoor script.

The “Chini Kum” narrative – driven by hashtags #RIPTiktok, #BoycottChineseApps blah blah – has found resonance not only in the garrulous gabs of tamasha TV or Twitterati. It is also echoing in the living rooms of the Lollitas, Lamba jis and Lala jis.

Of much ado about migration

Incredibly Indian, isn’t it, how India Unlocking’s migration narrative has suddenly got skewed – it now boasts a new metaphor, a substitute symbolism.

Till now, migration was the outflux mapping out between urban and rural India - The Return of the Native. Ah, but (mis)trust the Chinese to trudge in to trigger a parallel migration. Digital natives of Dhulia to Dhanbad migrating from TikTok in the direction of a different digital home.

Blame it on the banning of 59 Chinese apps in the wake of India-China tensions. TikTok’s pain is Instagram and YouTube’s gain. Oh, actually, if one factors in the TikTokers’ small-town scorn for the elitism of Instagram or YouTube, then TikTok’s pain could spell home-grown app Chingari or Mitron’s gain.

What this also translates into is a tectonic shift in the ground reality of India Unlocking’s middle-class households.

The Lollitas are spectators or sufferers of the double migration – seeing not just a majority of maids, Lalitaas and Lajjos, migrating from the metropolises to Malda or Midnapore, but now also migrating from TikTok.

Seen more as the semi-urbanites’ social media platform, remember how TikTok had overnight made star sensations out of the Kaamwali Bai or Kabadiwala Bhai? Remember, how when the Lollitas thought the Lalitaas were bestowing benediction on the stains on the floor by flailing the mop-stick with a vampish vengeance, the latter were actually rehearsing or choreographing the moves for their next TikTok video?

No wonder, now the Lollitas are a bit befuddled about which is a more “burning” concern (that is, if you don’t count the frozen GST-grilled Parottas or Paranthas burning on the tawa bemoaning the Bai’s exodus) – the Lalitaas and Lajjos migrating from metropolises or migrating from TikTok.

Alas, those latkas ‘n’ jhatkas of the Lalitaas with the broomstick or their lip-syncing to “Tu cheez badi hai mast mast” before the bathroom mirrors of the Lollitas face a freeze till TikTok’s Bais and Bhais figure out a different digital home. Lalitaas’ pain is Lollitas’ gain.

But trust those Blabbermouths of Breaking News – Arnab Goswami & Co – to bring their melodrama into this “Chini Kum” narrative. Where was the need for Arnab to babble, “The sheer suddenness of the move, the unexpected nature of the move, the unpredictability of the move ...”? It almost seemed he was egging on the Lalitaas and Lajjos by felicitating their flux from TikTok. No wonder, his Theatre of the Absurd had trolls twaddling that it was Arnab who was the “real TikTok star”.

If you’ve ever watched Poodles or Persian Cats chase after chicken lollipops first, and then suddenly starting to steer their heels in a divergent direction to dash after sausages, you may detect definite resemblance to New Normal’s muddled migration maps.

The curious case of TikTok tasting the Chini Kum narrative and twattling – Who Moved My Cheez!

Of Swiggy & sweet ‘n’ sour

The Chinese app ban and subsequent migration from TikTok are also playing party-poopers for the poor neighbourhood Khanna jis and Khullar jis (K&K).

Remember, how the Lalitaas and Lajjos on neighbouring balconies, aspiring to be anointed TiKTok’s future “Revolver Ranis” etc – would engage the Glad Eye of the K&Ks?

Alas, as the Khanna jis and Khullar jis now stand deprived of those TikTok-driven latkas ‘n’ jhatkas of the Lalitaas – practised and perfected in pochaa-jharoo mode – they have been trying to divert their male gaze to temptations called Reshmi Kebabs or Nargisi Koftas proffered by Swiggy or Zomato. Only to learn that half the apps that are supplying Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chinese or desi gastronomic distractions to their Glad Eye are also in the eye of the storm. The Party-poopers – nuggets of news trickling in that Swiggy, Zomato & Co too thrive thanks to Chinese funding. Thus, they too are inviting a taste of hashtags #boycottchina blah blah.

The curious case of gluttony’s glad eye grunting – Who Moved My Chinese!

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