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CULTURE SHOCK By ……Vandana (Minni ) Mahendru


By ……Vandana (Minni) Mahendru

Prof Sham Lal Banti, broke into a sweat in the middle of the night. “Oh Parmatma! What am I going to face this year?” he shuddered. Agonizing efforts, hundreds of toss and turns with incantation of ‘Ram! Ram!’ brought him some shut-eye.

The next morning dread set again, looking at the overcast sky, the clouds ready to burst into a thunder. He thought what an ominous start to the ‘new session’. Nevertheless, polished shoes et al, he bravely stepped into the college premises albeit haltingly.

He looked around, saw boys and girls thronged the corridors and cringed at the sight of -‘Tattered bits hung here and there on their ‘frail’ bodies,’ ‘They could be blown away by whiff of the wind’…he thought. He had heard it being called –“Zero figure Syndrome! .

Girls with weird painted fingertips, earrings pierced through their eyebrows and belly buttons! “Heavens!”- He yelped inwardly, Even their ‘tongues’! …. “Save mankind, Lord Ram!”-he prayed silently.

What was on their feet—‘Shapeless contraption like shoes creeping up their thighs, sandals with straps so long around the legs, that they looked like creeping reptiles !’

Humor caught up with him and a chuckle escaped his lips-“A gregarious crowd no doubt”. Teen of today throttled the beauty parlours to get their way!, came another rhyme to his mind.

He smiled, accepted it as signs of equality — no more gender bias as even boys had their arms cleaned of hair and eyebrows shaped.

No sooner another sight and “Hey Ram! Hamari Bhartiya Sanskriti ka kya hoga”, slipped out loud. A passing boy heard his remark and told him “Dude! Take a chill pill.” Now what is a chill pill one would ask? But not him –After all he was Mr. Know all -the Professor.

As he walked down the corridor he saw more- boys with the weirdest of hairstyles.

Some with ponytails, few with colored strands, a group with literally ‘hair on edge’ like the head suffered an attack of ‘goose pimples’. However his eyes blinked at the sight of the” Katori cut” . He had the imagination to understand how a small inverted katori was kept on the head and the rest of the head was shaven off.

Next came the “ Mushroom cut”-A lot of hair was left on the crown and the rest shaved off –the end result was like that of a ‘toadstool’.

Professor Saab’s thoughts raced back to yesteryears when he was dragged to the barber U.M.T (Under the Mango Tree) and instructions were loud, clear and specific-“Chote, chote kar dena, ‘choti’ ko haath na lagana”. “Hai pitaji, acha hai apne yeh sab nahi dekha” he mused.

Shuddering, he opened the classroom door and was hit by a bolt of lightening; his eyes almost popped out to see his younger son dancing on a desk supporting a ‘bald pate’…..He was the fashion icon of the day ! Meekly gulping, Professor Saab decided it was time to actually take “The Chill Pill”… eom
Vandana (Minni) Mahendru is a popular content writer