Thursday, April 14, 2011

A simple Tweet, and her life is complete

I was rolling my new foam roller on my IT band, practically screaming in pain at every juncture. It was 10:30 in the morning, and I had already rehearsed for 1.5 hrs, and done a 1 hour pilates class, and now was stretching my poor, broken body. I have another 2 hrs of dancing ahead of me in the evening, and I'm already feeling the dawn of plantars fascitis in my left heel -- it's not looking good. As I took a break from the torturous stretching, I looked at the News Feed on my FB, and saw this status update: 
Ohhh my god..! After much time, energy and devotion...Abhishek Bachchan finally tweeted me back directly on Twitter!!! I wished him a "have a great day today AB!" and he said "thank you and the very same to you too"...AHHH!!! My life is complete. ♥ (followed by 27 likes and 15 comments of how amazing this girl is, how lucky she is, congrats, etc. Who knows how much this number will grow to by the end) 

Now, had this been a teenager who had posted this, I would have laughed it off. I would even extend it to an undergrad student -- I remember being pretty ecstatic when Jackie Shroff randomly phoned me one morning in my Berkeley apartment because I had written an email on his website -- though there was no Facebook back then, I doubt I would have publicized that to the world, but that's just me. 

But this is a young woman in her mid-20's. Those who are responding to her are also in their 20's and even 30's. This is our next generation of  professionals who will run the world in various industries -- doctors, lawyers, businessmen/women, scientists, politicians -- the creme de la creme of the Indian community that makes us the most affluent immigrant group in the United States. This generation will be defining the values upheld by the future generation of Indian Americans to come. The fact that getting a TWEET from Abhishek Bachchan -- validated this girl's self-worth and made not only her feel like this was the happiest moment of her life ... but also made her friends envious of her 'star status,' is completely beyond comprehension to me. 
What is it with people's obsession with Bollywood stars? I understand being a fan of the movies, the actors, the music, etc -- but where does one cross the line from simply appreciating something, to starting to define their own sense of self around these stars? What really do these people achieve by taking a day off work, to stand all night in the cold, outdoor shoot in Healdsburg to see Shah Rukh and Kajol shoot for MNIK? Ok, they saw them in real life ... even got a picture with them ... now? खेल ख़तम पैसा हज़म. 
Firstly, what kind of values are we upholding if we are basing our self worth (and deeming other people's worthiness) on who they know, or who they mingle with? As if getting a tweet from Abhishek Bachchan is really knowing him, but the idea that's making everyone salivate is the fact that this girl could possibly, someday, know Abhishek Bachchan. Oh my f---ing God!!!!! (followed by squeals of giddiness)
Secondly, what kind of values are we propagating if we are idolizing a mediocre actor whose only claim to fame is his last name -- Bachchan? Even Abhishek Bachchan said at one point in an interview that his last name was the only reason he was getting any movies, he'd be an idiot to remove that from his name (as his numerologist advised). I guarantee you that none of these girls drooling over Abhishek right now would turn twice to look at him if he was named Abhishek Banerjee and offered to buy them a drink at V Bar in Santana Row (then we'd see standard bitch Indian girl behavior, but that's completely off the topic!) Perhaps this idolizing of the 'son of a famous person' is just an extension of the first issue, where we base our self worth on who we know. Actually, it would be the other way around: because we value others only on who they know (in this case, valuing Beta Bachchan based on Papa Bachchan), we, in turn, do the same in our lives with ourselves and our friends. 
Where is these people's self-esteem? Do they really validate their superiority or luck in life on chance encounters from celebrity stalking? And what do they achieve by that brief encounter? What if I'm the one who is in the wrong, by not finding a meaningful happiness in a 38 character typed message sent from 10,000 miles away from a person who has never met you, and could never be bothered to meet you in their life? 
Anyway, I was feeling really upset about this, and felt the need to vent. I read a few articles about celebrity worship, and found a quote from a Blogger named Jennifer Gibson that I liked on the subject: 'Idolizing or admiring someone for their accomplishments, and then pushing yourself to excel in the same way are positive elements. But, are we worshiping celebrities for the sake of being famous, or are we worshiping true heroes? ... If we confuse heroes and celebrities, we are depriving ourselves of real role models. We should admire those who are famous because they are great, not those who seem great because they are famous.' 
That, in the bold, is the crux of my issue with all this.