SPM and STPM results are out and it is time for many of our young Indian boys and girls leave their rustic neighbourhoods and come to metropolitan Kuala Lumpur to pursue higher education.
This article will focus on girls because culture shock is more hard hitting for girls than boys.
After a tearful departure from parents, amma appa saying,”Nalla padi ma, udambe paathuko, adikadi phone pannu, poitu va ma..” Kambethu Mohana heads for KL, unprepared for the cosmopolitan city KL is.
After successfully setting foot in college/university and paying witness to a totally alien atmosphere, Kambethu Mohana is caught in a warp. Confusion sets in and Mohana feels like fish out of water. She couldn’t come to terms with the different culture and succumbs to culture shock. Ragging takes place and the more shocked she gets.
In first year, besides studying, Kambethu Mohana tries to take in all the city slickers’ that are her classmates, college mates and seniors’objectionably new ways and behaviour. Newfangled as they seem, Mohana yearns to fit in, albeit silently, the village in her, still intact.
In second year, our Kambethu Mohana’s friends began to mock her unpretentious looks and the way she dresses. Humiliated and desperate to look good by her so called friends’ standards, Kambethu Mohana took the decision to have a complete makeover to change her looks. She traded her coconut oiled, curly thick hair she wore in a single plait for rebonding with highlights, got her eyebrows threaded, switched from spectacles to coloured contact lens and traded her drab, blanketing clothes for slinky, skimpy outfits. She got the money from her poor parents who thought she needed the money to buy books.
Now, Kambethu Mohana is not so pattikadu; she looks just like a city girl. But, that is not enough requirement as Mohana is about to discover.
Friends began to suggest for Mohana to have a macha in her life. Mohana gets aghast – she never dared to even look at boys in her secondary school life, she was the epitome of ‘nalla ponnu.’ When Mohana appeared reluctant to have a boyfriend, ridicule and coax from friends beset her, resulting in her being torn. In her heart, she sang the song from the movie Poda Podi:
Naa correct aanava, rombe nallava, love panlama, venama, love panlama, venama, panlama, venama, panlama…..
Under intense peer pressure, our Mohana pandered and accepted a macha who threw a love line at her. Dating began and Mohana became bold as days passed, as she toed the party of her girl friends – she dumps guys who don’t meet her expectations and hooks up with random guys at will.
By the end of final year in college, our Kambethu Mohana transformed into Modern Maddona, not to mention Raw ah adikere Rangeela. She has no qualms now to drink, dance half naked in clubs and flirt with guys. Studies took a backseat as lifestyle of KLites seems to be more a priority to Mohana.
Mohana got embarrassed to say that she originates from a rural area. She tries her best to portray herself as a true blue KLite, free from the shackles of orthodox realms. Mohana’s parents becomes an embarrassment to her, so much so, she forbade them from visiting her as she gets carried away by this newfound lifestyle, being glad that now she is officially modern, lapping up all the attention from the opposite sex in the same age group.
One night, while partying in a night club, Mohana’s drink got roofied and she got helpless as the guys with bad intentions ‘helped’ themselves on her. By the time Mohana realized what had happened to her, it was too late.
Who is at fault here? Mohana? Her friends? Her boyfriend? The guys who put date rape drug in her drinks? I’d say none of them are at fault as normal human beings. It is by instincts – humans are social, attention and recognition seeking beings, even the most introverts among us like to be identified.
The fault lies in the skewed perception on modernity – impressionable boys and girls believing that they are being modern by indulging in what I wrote above when they are just blindly aping the West. I am not judging here – naanum anthe vayaseh thaandi vantheve than. Naanum nereya sothepiruken. I am not moral policing anyone here. I am merely pointing out that we can still be cool while being true to our salts.
Modernity is not having your navel pierced and wearing pants so low, half your butt is visible. Being modern while still having our core values and convictions unflinching is possible. Being modern surpasses dressing sense and conduct (in this context, having boyfriend/girlfriend, going clubbing and bending over to permissive culture) Being modern means being confident and headstrong. Cultivate intellect, amass knowledge and believe in yourself. Never be ashamed of your humble beginnings; be proud on the fact that even when you come from a deprived background, you made it to university. Just few more years before you become a useful social unit. Do what it takes to come up in life. Of course you can enjoy yourself but don’t let enjoyment get in the way of your studies.
This is dedicated to all the Indian SPM and STPM leavers who will become the leaders and professionals of tomorrow.