27 October, 2020

The Neo-Natal Word

Possibilities lurk in dark alleys. For us, it was in three rooms with rickety tables.

The Neo-Natal Word

The summer of ’95 crackled in the middle of Independent India’s most tumultuous decade. Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated. The Babri Masjid had been demolished.

Finance minister Manmohan Singh was slashing at the tentacles of the licence permit raj as a new economy struggled to be born. The Mandal agitation had petered out, but caste shadowed every citizen. Narasimha Rao was in the PM’s chair, yet, the old Congress system had started collapsing and another force—the war cry of Hindutva—was closing in on the citadel.

That clumsy giant, Doordarshan, was losing its monopoly over the airwaves. Another upstart player, private television, was notching greater TRPs. Old hierarchies were crumbling fast and a nascent urban culture was sputtering to life. Hinglish advertising, the first tubs of Haagen Dazs ice cream, the first treadmills in gyms and the internet at one’s fingertips. The Maruti Gypsy (still hip a decade ago), the first spaghetti straps, sexual confidence, the first cellphones and a new...



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