A lot of meaning to life is given by culture and culture is defined by food, music, sports, movies, community and people. Somehow over the years, we feel that we have not celebrated or elevated our own stories as much. Somehow we need approval from our colonial overlords. Our pop culture sometimes does not feel as original, authentic or celebrated as French snobbery or elite coolness, or Japanese detail and mysticism with Americans doing annual pilgrimages, or streets of NYC where icons like Jay Z have risen.
In a weird way international sneaker brands celebrate our culture much much more than local brands. Every new local brand we see on Instagram is an Indian washed version of something mass produced in a factory in China or South East Asia - just lazy product and brand making - cheap imitations of something that has worked in the west and therefore looks like everything else and has no inspiration basically.
Even International brands find it hard to do justice to something so rich and detailed - our culture. They are like the Naan bread and curry - which is basically what passes of as Indian food in most "international cities" globally.
Maybe it is an identity question but where is the massive, in your face, this is my identity, these are my roots messaging?
Something that screams that this is my story!! and you want to be a part of it? Something relatable and not just a Bollywood actress talking to someone making super average movies every year on a Koffee show.
We sell items like commodity, perhaps because we have not evolved as much in our offerings or perhaps there aren’t enough to afford it. But in this age of social media where everyone is spending a lot of time online, looking and consuming things, where is the Deus of India - paying homage to our renegades celebrating free living? Where is our Austin barbecue, blues and food truck culture? Where is our Harujuku tattoos and bike modification culture? Where is our Louisiana soul food and Jazz culture - that people revere?
Lining up in front of random hype brands copping a pair is a poor substitute. Perhaps with our entrance exam culture and fighting for survival vibes - living a surfer bum life is a rare privilege. Perhaps the Supreme of India - celebrating the skate culture in the streets and really building something with the community on the ground is a hard ask.
India definitely needs to tell an authentic story and mad love for what it does. Sometimes it feels hard to find our OG story beyond cricket - a religion or Bollywood - filled with nepotism.
There are bright spots, did you know Marol is the hotbed of graffiti and rap now? Do we know there is a Gin renaissance happening in Goa? Do we know we have an active cyclist team in India? And we have had a cyclist that actually did a run across Russia? Across America and came first? Do we know we have a really active comedy circuit that really gets these nuances? That they are OG as hell? That Prabh deep came from the streets of Tilak Nagar and hustled for years before becoming something?
That we can grow the pie exponentially?
We want to elevate this feeling.
We want us to be super proud of things that we do because we do it despite so many things holding us back.
We really hustle and struggle and try to make it big and often times end up with disappointment but an Indian story is definitely Indian and we want to celebrate this.
We want a medium to tell this story.